Sizewell C and Great British Nuclear will pave the way for a pipeline of new nuclear projects, to cut fossil fuels, provide clean, reliable, power and secure UK energy independence
The government’s decision to invest in the Sizewell C nuclear power plant and back Great British Nuclear is a defining moment for Britain’s energy security and marks a big step forward for one of the UK’s most important green infrastructure projects, according to the Nuclear Industry Association.
Sizewell C will generate enough zero-carbon electricity to power six million homes for at least 60 years and displace around 5.4 billion cubic metres of gas use each year. This would substantially reduce the UK’s dependence on volatile fossil fuel markets, which have pushed up daily electricity prices to an average of £225/MWh over the last four months.
The announcement comes as Britain faces the prospect of power cuts this winter, with the National Grid Electricity System Operator issuing repeated warnings that electricity supplies are tight. Additional nuclear capacity will make the UK energy system cheaper and more resilient by providing clean, reliable power to the grid.
The cost of balancing the UK grid is currently running at record levels of more than £245 million per month. Sizewell C, along with other new nuclear projects, supported by the launch of Great British Nuclear in the new year, would cut the UK’s need for expensive fossil fuels to cover gaps in generation, and provide a backbone of firm, clean power.
In response to the announcement, the Nuclear Industry Association’s Chief Executive, Tom Greatrex, said,
“This is a defining moment for UK energy security and for the future of nuclear in Britain. Sizewell C will be one of the UK’s most important green energy projects ever, cutting fossil fuels, providing clean, affordable power for a very long time, and creating thousands of highly skilled jobs.
“This investment, alongside the support for Great British Nuclear and the Energy Security Bill shows the government is serious about building new nuclear capacity alongside renewables and paves the way for the development of a pipeline of new nuclear projects, including small modular reactors, to strengthen energy independence.
“It’s now vital that nuclear is given the green label it deserves in the sustainable investment taxonomy and that a Final Investment Decision on Sizewell C is reached swiftly so construction can begin.”
Notes to editors:
- The UK has five generating nuclear power stations, providing around 16% of the country’s electricity from 5.9 GW of capacity.
- Two stations will retire by March 2024, and all but one will retire by March 2028.
- Nuclear has saved the UK 2.3 billion tonnes of carbon emissions, far more than any other source. The saving is equivalent to all UK emissions from 2015 through 2020.
- The United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) found that nuclear has the lowest lifecycle carbon of all technologies, the lowest land use of all low-carbon technologies and the lowest lifecycle impact on ecosystems of any electricity technology. Read the full report here.
- National Grid ESO monthly balancing costs can be found here: https://data.nationalgrideso.com/balancing/mbss
About the Nuclear Industry Association
As the trade association for the civil nuclear industry in the UK, the Nuclear Industry Association represents more than 250 companies across the UK’s nuclear supply chain.
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