Boris Johnson has approved funding for the construction of Sizewell C.
Mr Johnson, who is set to leave office in September, has taken the decision to part-fund the £20 billion nuclear power station in Suffolk.
“The decision has been taken in principle. The PM is very keen on it,” an official confirmed to The Times newspaper.
The decision was made alongside chancellor Nadhim Zahawi, with Johnson keeping other top ministers in the dark.
The move enables the government to buy a 20 per cent stake in the project, equating to approximately £6 billion, which will be funded by taxpayers.
Private funding will also be sought for the project, which is expected to cost between £20bn and £30bn.
A government spokesperson said funding talks were not finalised: “Negotiations are still ongoing on Sizewell C, and as these are active and commercially-sensitive discussions we cannot comment further.”
“Nuclear power has a key role to play as we work to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels and exposure to volatile global gas prices.”
Johnson’s plans to spend funds on Sizewell have, however, been criticised by opponents, who say the move could tie the hands of the future government – making it more challenging to deal with the cost-of-living crisis.
Planning approval for the nuclear plant, to be delivered by French state-owned EDF Energy, was granted in July, with final details around funding still to be decided.
The government has already pumped an initial £100m into the project to encourage other private investors.
A Regulated Asset Base model approach has been suggested by the government and is thought to be preferred by EDF. As per this funding model, consumers fund the initial construction costs through energy bills, which helps to fund future construction.
Earlier this month, a campaign group claimed the planning consent for Sizewell C was “unlawful” and launched a legal appeal against the project.
If Sizewell C is delivered, it is estimated that it could power up to six million homes.
Image source: EDF
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