Atkins: Sizewell C planning permission addresses skills challenge

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The UK’s plan to renew its nuclear energy capacity is given a boost as Business Secretary grants permission for development of two new reactors. 

After more than two years since plans were submitted, the UK government has granted permission for Sizewell C to go ahead.

Business Secretary Kwarsi Kwarteng has formally granted permission for the new nuclear power station, which has been targeted for construction to begin in 2024. This is seen as a significant step for the UK’s decarbonisation plans, providing important baseload power for decades to come.

“We know that a fleet approach to building new nuclear plants is the best way to reduce costs and maximise efficiencies”. Christophe Junillon, Atkins

Nuclear energy has faced challenges in the UK, where the gradual wind-down of the sector is being gradually reversed, leading to a need for new skills development to ensure projects can take place at scale. With construction set to begin in 2024, this will follow the completion of Hinkley Point C, being built in the country of Somerset in the west of the country.

Christophe Junillon, head of power new build at Atkins, a member of the SNC-Lavalin Group, welcomed the decision for this fleet approach to development. Atkins are involved with both Hinkley Point C and Sizewell C.

Junillon said: “Clean, reliable nuclear energy is vital to deliver security of supply and a resilient net zero energy system: Sizewell C is well positioned to play a major part in decarbonising the UK and today’s Development Consent Order decision reaffirms its potential.”

“We know that a fleet approach to building new nuclear plants is the best way to reduce costs and maximise efficiencies. Today’s decision will help to ensure that the learnings and supply chains established at Hinkley Point C can transfer seamlessly to Sizewell C.” 

The new power station in the eastern county of Suffolk will have a capacity of 3,200 MWe produced by two EPR reactors. When it enters service, this will amount to around 7% of the UK’s total energy demand, which is transitioning towards greater renewable capacity, primarily through extensive offshore wind capacity, much of which is off the east coast of the country.