EDF has applied for a development consent order (DCO) for a new reactor at Sizewell C on the Suffolk coast. National Infrastructure Planning now has 28 days to decide whether to accept the project for examination.
The company said the application had been deferred for two months in recognition of the extraordinary circumstances created by the Coronavirus. It has promised extra measures will be put in place to make it easier for local communities to scrutinise the proposals once they are published. These include extending the pre-examination period to allow more time for interested parties to register with the Planning Inspectorate.
Speaking in late 2019, EDF Energy managing director Humphrey Cadoux-Hudson claimed construction costs for a follow-on plant at Sizewell C would be 20% lower than at Hinkley Point, by using existing supply chains put in place for for Hinkley Point C. He said that to meet UK regulations “just about every one” of the 2,500 ‘rooms’ within the structure at Hinkley Point C had undergone design changes from previous plant (in Finland, France and China) and that had raised costs for design and licensing. The so-called Reference Configuration 2 (ie detailed design) for Hinkley Point Cwas frozen in late 2018, when the regulator said significant new modifications were now unlikely. Sizewell C will be a “near replica” of Hinkley Point C in Somerset, EDF said.
EDF says the key to lower costs is reducing financing costs during construction – which represent 45% of total costs. It has argued that legislation shoud be changed to allow Sizewell C to be funded under a Regulated Asset Base (RAB) model. A long-awaited White Paper on energy is expected to be the kick-off for that option.
The application for a Development Consent Order follows four rounds of public consultation which began in 2012.