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December 15, 2020

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Britain, French firm in N-plant talks

Britain said yesterday it will hold talks with French energy giant EDF concerning the construction of a nuclear power plant on England’s east coast, in a project reportedly worth 20 billion pounds (US$26.4 billion).

EDF had submitted an application in May to build the 3.2-gigawatt Sizewell C nuclear plant, which is situated in Suffolk, but it ran into criticism from environmental campaigners, while plans were delayed by the pandemic.

“The government has... confirmed that it is to enter negotiations with EDF in relation to the Sizewell C project in Suffolk as it considers options to enable investment in at least one nuclear power station by the end of this parliament” in 2024, it said in a statement.

“If the project proceeds, it could create thousands of new jobs during construction and operation.”

The statement said the negotiations will strive to reach conditions that would ensure value for any money invested and that all relevant approvals would be secured before any final decision is taken on whether to proceed.

“The successful conclusion of these negotiations will be subject to thorough scrutiny and needs to satisfy the government’s robust legal, regulatory and national security requirements,” said the statement.

EDF is working alongside long-standing partner China General Nuclear Power Corporation to build nuclear power plants in Britain.

The French group said in May that Sizewell C will generate low-carbon electricity to power six million homes, but Greenpeace had argued that there were more cheaper and safer alternatives than nuclear.

Construction of the plant would create 25,000 jobs and 1,000 apprenticeships, while the operational power plant would employ 900 staff.

Britain, which will host the UN’s next major climate summit COP26 in the Scottish city of Glasgow next year, announced the EDF talks in its Energy White Paper.


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