London — The British government has confirmed the go-ahead for the new Sizewell C nuclear power plant in Suffolk, backing the scheme with a 700-million-pound ($841-million) stake.
The move, which ministers said would create 10,000 highly skilled jobs and provide reliable low-carbon power to the equivalent of six million homes for more than 50 years, is part of efforts to secure British energy security.
The government also said it would set up an arms-length body, Great British Nuclear, which would develop a pipeline of nuclear projects beyond Sizewell C.
The plant in Suffolk, developed by French energy giant EDF, will be the second of a new generation of nuclear power reactors, after the delayed Hinkley Point C scheme in Somerset which is under construction, but has seen costs climb since it was first given the go-ahead.
EDF's chief executive, Simone Rossi, said replicating Hinkley Point C's design at Sizewell would provide more certainty over schedule and costs, adding: "It will deliver another big boost to jobs and skills in the nuclear industry and provide huge new opportunities for communities in Suffolk."
Downing Street on Tuesday declined to get into specific details about the exit of China General Nuclear from the project or the size of the buy-out costs.
Asked if the government could rule out Chinese involvement in future nuclear energy projects, the Prime Minister's official spokesman said: "I think we would need to make a judgement on what is right for the UK.
He said that the government "certainly wouldn't do anything that put UK security at risk and indeed our focus is on enhancing our energy independence."
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