Stop Sizewell C Press Statement, 8 September
Stop Sizewell C noticed a few points relevant to Sizewell C and nuclear in Liz Truss’s speech on energy.
She said green levies would be temporarily suspended but gave no indication of how long such a suspension would last – potentially the two years that the energy bill price cap would be frozen for. Sizewell C can only be financed by adding a nuclear levy to struggling households, because the markets won’t touch it without being guaranteed money back during construction. (Nuclear is not green, but a Treasury led public consultation on the “taxonomy” of nuclear energy is expected this autumn.) Does this mean Sizewell C could not start during such a freeze?
She said “Great British Nuclear” would be launched later this month, but Sizewell C is not British. It has been developed by two state-owned entities, EDF and CGN, and EDF will have to manage construction. It’s also likely that overseas funders will be necessary. The UK’s nuclear industry is reliant on overseas uranium. Sizewell B is currently fuelled by enriched uranium from Russia and the fuel for its next outage (ordered before the invasion of Ukraine) is from the same source.
Ms Truss announced a Net Zero review and said the Business Secretary is to set out a plan in the next two months on how to make the UK a net energy exporter by 2040. The UK has been regularly exporting energy to France in recent months given that such a high proportion of French nuclear reactors have been offline.
Ms Truss also said that renewable and nuclear generators would move onto Contracts for Difference which would break the price link with gas, but it is unclear what this might mean for Sizewell C, which is expected to be financed via a Regulated Asset Base
Stop Sizewell C says: “By suspending green levies Liz Truss has backed herself into a corner. Slow, damaging, £30 billion Sizewell C can only be financed by adding a nuclear levy to struggling households, because the markets won’t touch it without being guaranteed money back during construction. Her government’s review of Net Zero should conclude that Sizewell C must be cancelled.”
A Survation poll for the Mail on Sunday shows overwhelming support for renewable energy, with 74% backing investment in solar, 69% in offshore wind, 64% wave and 63% onshore wind and tidal, compared to just 38% for nuclear. A further 69% backed energy efficiency.
Calculations by Professor Steve Thomas of the University of Greenwich Business School for Stop Sizewell C, suggest even optimistic assumptions about inflation and the overall cost of Sizewell C will increase the burden on households well above the government’s estimate of “£1 a month”.