A new round of public consultations over a planned British nuclear power station will begin in January, the facility’s French owners say.
EDF Energy’s CEO, Simone Rossi also said a planning application for Sizewell C could be submitted in 2020 and that the ideal time for construction to begin would be at the end of 2021.
EDF Energy is planning to build Sizewell C as a follow-on project to Hinkley Point C in Somerset where more than 3,300 people are working on the construction site. Hinkley Point C is making good progress towards its next milestone in 2019 – the completion of the 4,500 tonne concrete platform on which the reactor buildings sit.
EDF acquired Sizewell owner British Energy in 2009. Sizewell A is being decommissioned while Sizewell B, commissed in 1995, has a capacity of nearly 1,200 MW, according to EDF’s website.
In a keynote speech at the annual Energy UK conference, Rossi said that Hinkley Point C is on track and learning lessons from other new nuclear projects. By being a close copy of Hinkley Point, he said, Sizewell C could be built at significantly lower cost.
“We have a great opportunity at Sizewell C to build a replica which would allow us to reduce the design costs. It would also reduce the development costs and we would profit from a skilled and experienced supply chain as well as lower qualification costs and paper work. All of that means a reduction in construction costs of about 20 percent which will eventually flow through to consumers,” Rossi said.
Skeptics have wondered aloud about the economic feasibility of building either Sizewell C or Hinkley Point C, but EDF has continued through with the projects. The 3.2-GW Hinkley Point C is going to cost $25 billion or more when it’s completed, according to reports.
Rossi explained that reducing the cost of finance of the project could provide further savings. He said this could be achieved by using a Regulated Asset Base funding model (RAB) which is a ‘tried and tested’ way of delivering public infrastructure.
Outlining EDF Energy’s vision for the future energy mix, Mr Rossi said nuclear should continue to provide around 20 to 25 percent of Britain’s low carbon electricity needs. In order to meet our climate commitments, he said, the amount of renewables should double to 60% as gas is reduced and coal closes.
Mr Rossi told the conference that to achieve the biggest savings in construction costs, Sizewell C needed to be built soon after Hinkley Point C.
“There is an optimal distance between the two projects which is about five years. Hinkley Point construction started at the end of 2016 and so the best moment to start construction at Sizewell C is at the end of 2021. The further we wait, the lower the construction benefits will be because the supply chain may not be the same and skills could be forgotten.”
If Sizewell C gets the go-ahead, it will provide 6 million homes with electricity. Rossi said Sizewell C would become an engine for economic growth in the East of England and could generate around 25,000 job opportunities during construction.
EDF Energy has already completed two stages of public consultation for Sizewell C. The third period of consultation will run until March after which an application will be submitted for a development consent order (DCO).