Sizewell C decision gives green light for nuclear future

The most anticipated decision for the UK’s nuclear industry demonstrates the commitment to building new nuclear power stations as a greener energy alternative.

We take a deep dive into Sizewell C, after being recently granted development consent by the UK Government, and what it means for the continued growth of British nuclear expertise.

Sizing up Sizewell C

Construction of the new power station in Suffolk is expected to take 10-12 years to complete, and takes its design from the Hinkley Point C station currently being built in Somerset.

The project will see the construction of a 3,200 MW plant, powered by two 1,600 MW European Pressurised Reactors (EPR) – developed on land adjacent to the existing Sizewell B station. It’s suggested it will cost around £20bn to build and would generate power to 6 million homes over its 60 years of output. The cleaner energy production, compared with 3.2 GW gas-fired energy generation, will save in the region of 9 million tonnes of CO2 each year.

The challenges

It’s taken a long time to get to the point of development consent, with initial plans created in 2010 followed by a public consultation in 2012. The length of the decision process, with various stages and adjustments needing to be made over the years, highlights the continued concern that for nuclear new build projects to play their part in a net zero future a more progressive decision-making process is needed. This was recently highlighted in the British Energy Security Strategy published by the Government in April this year.

With nuclear power already supplying 15% of the country’s electricity, to meet net zero targets the Government plans to increase their reliance on nuclear power to 25% by 2050 – so projects like Sizewell C will play a crucial role.

Transferring knowledge

With EDF operating both Hinkley Point C (HPC) and Sizewell C (SZC), this second new build project provides a great opportunity to transfer knowledge. Initiatives that have already been identified on HPC will also be implemented on SZC, helping to save time and money. From Non-Destructive Testing (NDT) to civils, the construction of a new nuclear power station is a complex undertaking.

With the HPC construction site now having been operational for over 5 years though. there’s a vast number of skilled workers ready and waiting to train the next workforce for Sizewell C.

A consortium of expertise

Along with over 200 other leading organisations, NRL are proud to be a member of the Sizewell C Consortium, who have been instrumental in advocating for planning permission to be granted. Representing the width and breadth of the nuclear supply chain, consortium members have the skills and expertise to help bring Sizewell C to life.

NRL’s nuclear legacy

We’re proud to have supported British nuclear projects since we first opened our doors in 1983 – working from a modest location on the Sellafield power station to provide Non-Destructive Testing, before launching specialist nuclear recruitment and compliance services a few short years later. We’re still actively involved in nuclear projects on a daily basis, whether that’s working on decommissioning or support nuclear new build during the crucial design and construction stage.

All facts were checked and verified at the time of publication.

The NRL Group