Backers of the Sizewell C nuclear project have initiated its Development Consent Order (DCO), clearing the way for construction to begin at the new 3.2GW plant on the Suffolk coast.
Preparatory works began after the project was granted permission to build in July 2022, but certain obligations had to be fulfilled before construction could commence under the DCO.
Those obligations, set out in a Deed of Obligation document signed with East Suffolk Council and Suffolk County Council are now fulfilled and the formal construction phase of the project can begin.
Nuclear minister Andrew Bowie MP today visited the construction site to meet the project team, local business leaders, and representatives from local authorities. Protesters announced a counter-demonstration.
Bowie announced: “This is a major milestone for Sizewell C and our ambition to deliver up to 24GW of low-carbon nuclear power by 2050. It comes after we announced the biggest expansion of nuclear power for 70 years which will help to bring down bills and bolster our energy security. East Anglia will benefit from thousands of new jobs and apprenticeships as a result, demonstrating the local rewards of backing new nuclear.”
In September 2023, the government, Sizewell C and EDF launched an equity raise process to attract private investors into the project. While triggering the DCO and entering the construction phase is not dependent on a final investment decision, discussions with potential investors are ongoing and a final investment decision is expected later in 2024.
By commencing formal construction, a £250m package of funding for the local community will become available during the construction phase of the project, including £23m for community projects, £100m for the environment, £12m to support local tourism, and a £12m housing fund.
Sizewell C is expected to deliver 1,500 apprenticeships and support thousands of jobs across the country, with at least one third of the peak construction workforce of 7,900 coming from the local area. Sizewell C said the project will invest in local skills to ensure there is a pipeline of talent to build and operate the power station.
Commenting on today’s announcement, Tom Greatrex, chief executive of the Nuclear Industry Association, said:
“Commencement of formal construction is good news for Britain. Construction at Sizewell C means tens of thousands of jobs on site and across the country and billions in investment for the region. The project will drive much needed work into British industry and sustain the skills we need for a new nuclear programme. Sizewell lays that foundation for jobs, clean power and energy security for the rest of this century.”