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Big step forward for Sizewell C with new nuclear license in UK

Big step forward for Sizewell C with new nuclear license in UK

The British Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) has granted a nuclear power license for the Sizewell C facility in eastern England. Although the license does not allow nuclear-related construction to begin, it is an important step in the development of the project.

However, ONR formally accepts responsibility for monitoring and regulation, helping the project company, Sizewell C Ltd, to apply for permission to start nuclear-related construction.

The new license for Sizewell C marks a milestone

The application for the license was originally submitted in 2020. Although the application had already met “almost all” regulatory requirements last year, the license was hampered by two specific issues related to shareholder agreements and land ownership. These issues have now been resolved to ONR's satisfaction and therefore a license can be issued.

What is a license?

This is the license issued by the ONR since Hinkley Point C received its license in 2012, and Sizewell C has a legal responsibility to comply with health and safety regulations and nuclear safety regulations. 36 conditions must be met which include planning, design, construction, operation and decommissioning of the facility.

The future and potential of Sizewell C

Sizewell C's plan is for the facility to include two EPR reactors capable of generating 3.2 GW of electricity, enough to power about six million homes for at least 60 years. The plant is to be built on the same design as Hinkley Point C in Somerset, with the aim of making construction faster and cheaper thanks to lessons learned from the UK's first new nuclear project in three decades.

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Funding and securing the future

Initially, the project was launched in partnership with China General Nuclear (CGN), but with changes in UK-China relations and UK security considerations, the UK government gradually increased its involvement. In November 2022, the government invested £679m with EDF as a 50% partner in the project, with a further £511m added in summer 2023.

Investment search and financial models

The government is actively seeking investors and has introduced a new financing model, the Regulated Asset Base (RAB), which allows consumers to contribute to the cost of new nuclear projects during the construction phase. This model differs from previous systems in which developers financed construction and began receiving income only when the facility began generating electricity.

The way forward for Sizewell C

With the recently awarded license and continued investment, Sizewell C is now in a position to begin large-scale construction and continues to work towards a final investment decision, which is expected to be made in the coming months. The project is seen as a cornerstone of the UK's clean energy transition, and the license reinforces investor confidence in the future of the project.

Source: Nuclear World News