Sizewell C will now welcome outside investors to register interest, despite Together Against Sizewell C (TASC) being granted permission to re-challenge the build.
Housing two of the world’s “most powerful” reactors, nuclear power plant project Sizewell C, which was approved in July last year, is expected to introduce 10,000 jobs across the UK and power nearly 6m homes.
This new private investment reach follows reports of previous struggles to find investors, this time seeking investors with tailored industry experience and engagement who must pass “strict national security checks”.
Secretary of state for energy security and net zero Claire Coutinho said: “Investing in Sizewell C is an exciting opportunity to be a part of the UK’s nuclear revival – delivering clean, reliable, and affordable power for generations to come.
The news comes, however, the same day TASC was granted permission to re-challenge the build, emphasising concerns of it affecting the local water supply.
Campaigners hope the challenge will be successful, as Allison Downes of Stop Sizewell C said: “A legal challenge to Sizewell C with a real prospect of success should ring major alarm bells with any investor considering responding to the government’s capital raise.”
Andy Mayer, chief executive officer of the Institute of Economic Affairs, said: “There is a sensible objection to Sizewell C, that the underlying EPR technology is junk, resulting in projects that run over-time and over-budget, and when built are riddled with corrosion.
“Then there are campaigner objections, broadly Nimbyism on steroids, taking advantage of the UK’s hopelessly over-complicated planning and environmental permitting regimes to block building anything anywhere.
“Either way, outside investors would be mad to back Sizewell. If built, it will be late and obsolete. Even if there is regulatory reform, limiting the legal power of objectors, rival solutions will be advantaged. Both issues pressuring any claim EDF might make to Government to support Sizewell, limiting future returns.”
A TASC spokesperson said they are “extremely surprised” the cash raise has been launched given that the court case could increase investor risk, as the possibility of a build without operation could occur.
“Sizewell C is not just cash strapped, after 15 years of consultation and planning it still has no guaranteed supply for the 2.2m litres of potable water a day required for its slated 60 years of operation,” they added.
In response to the ruling, Tom Greatex, chief executive of the Nuclear Industry Association, said: “The Sizewell C project has been through extensive consultation, legal challenges and parliamentary scrutiny. The reality, as the Judge laid out in his High Court ruling, is that several parts of the legal challenge are ‘completely without merit’ and it has failed twice to stop the project in the courts.”