The UK Government has opened the process for investors to express interest in financing the proposed Sizewell C nuclear power plant.
The initial process invites companies to complete a pre-qualification assessment, during which they should prove that they meet the key criteria for taking “a potential equity stake in Sizewell C”.
The Sizewell C Company and EDF, the lead developer of the project, are “looking for companies with substantial experience in the delivery of major infrastructure projects”.
“Investing in Sizewell C is an exciting opportunity to be a part of the UK’s nuclear revival – delivering clean, reliable and affordable power for generations to come,” said UK Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero Claire Coutinho. “We are focused on securing good value for taxpayers and look forward to seeing strong and competitive bids to be a part of this exciting project.”
Once finished, the proposed nuclear plant will consist of two pressurised water reactors, which could power as many as six million homes for more than 60 years and offset nine million tonnes of carbon emissions each year.
As part of the investment, the UK Government has allocated £700m ($866.67m) to Sizewell C, with an extra £511m made available to develop the project and prepare the Suffolk site for construction. Andrew Bowie, UK Minister for Nuclear and Networks, said he expects the would-be investors to “bring new expertise and experience” into the company and labelled Sizewell C a “critical piece of national security”.
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“This will provide reliable and abundant energy, boost economic growth and jobs across the country and underpin the UK’s path to net zero,” Bowie added.
The last nuclear reactor opened in the UK was Sizewell B (1995), but the country has since struggled to attract investment and pass the current benchmark of eight nuclear power stations.
In September 2020, nuclear technology provider GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy backed down on its plans to build the Wylfa Newydd project in Anglesey, Wales, and the Oldbury project in Gloucestershire. With half of the country’s nuclear plants expected to be decommissioned by 2024, Hinkley Point C remains the UK’s only nuclear power plant under construction, which – once opened – will cover much of the loss in power capacity.
Hinkley Point C will consist of two nuclear reactors and is set to open in 2027.
The UK plans to have one-quarter of its electricity, or 24GW, generated by nuclear power plants by 2050.