London, Nov. 29. The British Conservative government confirmed Tuesday that it will invest 700 million pounds (about 810 million euros) in the development of a project led by the French state-owned company EDF to build a new nuclear plant near the fishing village of Sizewell, in the east of England.
The support of Rishi Sunak's Executive for the "Sizewell C" plant, which would replace a nearby outdated one (Sizewell B), represents a step forward towards the materialization of this infrastructure, announced in 2010 and delayed on numerous occasions mainly due to financing problems that still persist.
The entry of the government, which will have a 50% stake in the development phase, is intended to partially mitigate the exit of the Chinese state-owned China General Nuclear Power Group, which had a 20% stake in an initial consortium forged in 2012 with EDF, with 80%.
Construction of Sizewell C, which has an estimated cost of between £20 billion and £30 billion (E23.2 billion to E35 billion), is targeted to start before 2024, if the project can be finalized with more investors, and last between nine and 12 years.
This will depend on the progress of the construction, also slowed down and with rising costs, of the Hinkley Point C nuclear power plant in Somerset (southwest England), also in charge of EDF and the Chinese group, which is expected to come into operation in 2027.
Energy Minister Grant Shapps said in a statement that support for Sizewell C moves the UK closer to "greater energy independence and away from the supply risks of relying on volatile world markets."
As part of this self-generation strategy, Shapps announced the creation of a body called Great British Nuclear to develop multiple atomic power projects, which will complement other energy diversification measures.
EDF Energy CEO Simone Rossi said that the government's involvement "is a great vote of confidence" in the Sizewell C project and welcomed the fact that they will work together to attract more investors to bring it to fruition. EFE