Last-minute delays had accumulated for two months across the Channel, and the political instability prevailing in the country did not help. However, it appears that an agreement has been reached between the British government and EDF to develop the project into a new nuclear power plant.
On the occasion of the presentation of the national budget, on Thursday 17 November, Chancellor of the Exchequer Jeremy Hunt announced the official decision to raise the capital of Sizewell C, an EPR project in the East of England, which will be built and managed by the French electrician.
“The Government will go ahead with Sizewell C, said Mr. Hunt. Subject to the latest approvals, contracts for the first investment will be signed with the various parties, including EDF, in the coming weeks. » The French electrician says to himself “happy” of this notice.
Gigantic construction site
This agreement is not yet a green light to build a new EHR. One essential element is missing: funding – almost 25 billion euros. For now, it concerns the establishment of the plant development project, in which EDF and the British state will enter into a partnership with 50% each.
This will allow them to fire the Chinese from CGN, who had been involved in Sizewell C for several years, and to bring in new money to finance the cost of the development: the UK government will contribute up to 700 million pounds sterling (800 million euros).
EDF is already the operator of the eight British nuclear power plants in operation. It is also building in the west of England, Hinkley Point C, two new EPRs with a total capacity of 3.2 gigawatts, the first part of which is due to open in 2026. This gigantic project, on which more than 7,500 workers work per today, was launched in 2016, sparking a huge controversy.
At the time, the British government had refused to pay a penny, and the French electrician had decided to finance the project with his own funds. However, the costs were prohibitive: In January 2021, it was revised upwards to “£22 billion-£23 billion” (this is a price calculated in 2015 currencies; adjusted for inflation it is now close to £28bn-£29bn). This decision led to the resignation of EDF’s CFO, who believed that the risk was too great.
To limit the breach, the tricolor company had rested on two pillars. On the one hand, it had signed an extraordinary contract with the British government which guaranteed it the selling price of electricity at £92.50 per megawatt hour (then twice the market price) for thirty-five years. On the other hand, it had increased the capital of CGN, a large Chinese nuclear company, which financed a third of Hinkley Point C. At the same time, CGN had taken over 20% of the Sizewell C development project and had received the promise of being able to build a plant of its own technology in Bradwell in the north of England.
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