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UK / Boris Johnson Says International Investors Are Lining Up To Help Finance Sizewell C

By David Dalton
4 May 2022

‘They want to make investments in things that will have a long-term return’
Boris Johnson Says International Investors Are Lining Up To Help Finance Sizewell C
EDF is planning to build two EPR plants at Sizewell C in eastern England. Courtesy EDF.
UK prime minister Boris Johnson, whose government recently announced plans to build up to eight new nuclear power plants, has underlined his commitment to reactors, saying in an interview that Sizewell C is “certainly on the agenda” and will be partly paid for by international investors.

Mr Johnson told Radio Suffolk: “We want Sizewell C and we’ll be bringing forward plans as fast as possible”.

Sizewell C, EDF’s £20bn proposed nuclear power station in eastern England, is part of a fleet of new nuclear power plants at the heart of the government’s energy strategy, in which Mr Johnson last month set out aims to boost new nuclear power, offshore wind and hydrogen.

Asked whether Sizewell C will be built amid criticism that the process is too slow, Mr Johnson said: “Sizewell C is certainly on the agenda.

“We’re going to build a nuclear reactor every year rather than once every decade. We will have to pay for it partly out of public funds, but we’re also going to find investors.

“I’ve been talking to people in the Gulf, in India, around the world, they see the UK as a massive long-term bet and a brilliant bet”.

He added: “They want to make investments in things that will have a long-term return and where they know the government is solidly behind it”.

Press reports in the UK said this week that South Korea is in talks to build a new generation of nuclear power stations in the UK as ministers scramble to improve the country’s energy supply.

British business minister Kwasi Kwarteng is said to have met state-owned Korea Electric Power Corporation to discuss investment in the British nuclear industry and the talks with officials are ongoing, the report added.

Mr Johnson said after a visit to the Hartlepool nuclear power station on Monday that nuclear is “absolutely crucial to weaning us off fossil fuels”, including Russian oil and gas. He said: “Instead of a new one every decade, we’re going to build one every year, powering homes with clean, safe and reliable energy.”

France’s state-owned EDF is currently the only developer planning new nuclear projects in the UK, apart from its Chinese minority state partner, China General Nuclear, whose involvement in the sector ministers are believed to want to block. CGN has been preparing to use its Hualong pressurised water reactor, or UK HPR1000, for Bradwell B in Essex, southeast England.

Reports have said the government is set to take a 20% stake in Sizewell C as it moves increase the country’s energy security against a backdrop of global instability.

In January, the government invested £100m in Sizewell C, with the aim of boosting investor confidence. This second push would take its investment up to £4bn, based on the estimated final project cost.

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