EDF Energy believes it could make a new nuclear power station at Sizewell around 20% cheaper than Hinkley C, according to Simone Rossi.
Speaking at Aurora’s Spring Forum, the chief executive of EDF’s UK business said the firm “hopes to bring to fruition a new nuclear project at Sizewell, on the premise it will be competitive to equivalent alternatives, which is a convoluted way to say cheaper than Hinkley.”
Rossi however, clarified that even taking out ‘first-of-a-kind’ costs, nuclear would not be “cheap”.
“Forget cheap, we mean expensive to build, that is for sure,” he said.
Noting significant cost reductions within offshore wind, Rossi said nuclear developers must find efficiencies beyond bigger turbines.
“The blades [of turbines within nuclear power plants] are already very big. But we have been learning from these new type of projects and eliminating the risks for a ‘next-of-a-kind’ power station,” he said. “EDF has done this in France, successfully, and we think it can be done at Sizewell.”
However, Rossi indicated that Sizewell could be a “test case” for a new type of framework, “so that the asset can be seen more like a regulated asset” from an investor perspective.
Such a framework, he suggested, “can reduce the construction cost, which we think we can do by 20%, and reduce the cost of capital, which can make it really competitive”.
Rossi said EDF would “will spend about £200m a month” on Hinkley C in 2018, with “around two thirds” of that spend within the UK economy. He claimed there are now some 3,500 people working “on site” on the project.