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Greenlit Sizewell C Project Promises Energy Jobs for Eastern Region

Posted on: 21/07/2022

View of Sizewell B taken from the sea

On Wednesday the government finally gave the green light for the development of a new nuclear reactor at Sizewell in Suffolk.

The hotly contested project has been in the pipeline for more than a decade and has led to passionate campaigns on both sides of the debate. The plant is expected to cost in the region of £20bn, would be operational for around 60 years and would produce enough energy to power 6 million homes.

What Is Sizewell ‘C’?

French energy company, EDF, has operated the Sizewell B nuclear plant in Suffolk since 1995. The company has been seeking permission to build Sizewell C, a 3.2GW, two-reactor plant, just next door.

How Have We Got To This Point?

It is the Government’s aim for all electricity in the UK to be produced from renewables and low-carbon sources by the year 2035. Beyond that, it is targeting 24GW of nuclear-generated electricity by 2050. This would equate to around 25% of the expected electricity demand and would see the UK producing three times the amount of nuclear-generated electricity that it currently does.

In 2008, the Government took the decision that new nuclear sites would be constructed upon existing sites, replacing ageing reactors. The site at Sizewell was one of eight locations selected in 2010 and off the back of that decision, EDF Energy put forward proposals for redevelopment in 2012.

Fast forward 10 years and, following years of planning, fierce debate and many delays, businesses secretary, Kwasi Kwarteng, announced on Wednesday that he was giving a green light to the project - but only by overruling the advice of the independent Planning Inspectorate. Upon announcing the approval, he argued that the “very substantial and urgent need for the proposal outweighs the harms”.

What Do Those In Favour Say?

Those overseeing the delivery of the project are obviously thrilled with the news. Chief Planning Officer said in The Guardian newspaper that:

“Sizewell C will be good for the region, creating thousands of opportunities for local people and businesses. It will boost local biodiversity and leave a legacy Suffolk can be proud of.”

The Director of Financing for Sizewell C, Julia Pyke, also added “Energy costs will be lower with nuclear in the mix, so today’s decision is good news for bill payers. The tried and tested funding arrangement we are proposing means that, by paying a small amount during construction, consumers will benefit in the long-term.”

What Do Campaigners Argue?

Those who have long argued the case against the development of Sizewell C have insisted that they will continue their campaign. Alison Downes from the campaign group Stop Sizewell C, was quoted by BBC News as saying:

“We are going to continue challenging this project because of technical concerns, impacts on the environment, the investors, the fact that households are going to have to pay, the huge expense and potential for massive delays.”

The Chief Scientist of campaign group, Greenpeace, also suggested that “rather than wasting time and money on this red herring energy solution, the government should throw everything at making cheaper, cleaner and more reliable renewables the backbone of our energy system.”

What Does It Mean For People with Energy?

Assuming that the project goes ahead and is not overturned on appeal, it will be great news for jobs and training opportunities in East Anglia.

It is anticipated that the development of Sizewell C will commence before 2024 and could take between 10 and 12 years to complete, with as many as 15,000 jobs being created in the process.

Our location, less than 25 miles from Sizewell, means that People with Energy are ideally situated to support the recruitment of the skilled workers required for such a complex project. We already have a large database of highly qualified candidates and will certainly be seeking to be part of the supply chain.

If you think you have the skills needed to be involved in a projecto of this kind and are on the lookout for opportunities, we would love to hear from you. Please send your CV and cover letter to stuartsmith@peoplewithenergy.co.uk and we’ll be in touch with news of opportunities as they become available.