Sizewell C is a project to build a 3,200 MWe power station consisting of two EPR units on the site that currently hosts a single large pressurized water reactor (Sizewell B). With the exception of site-specific foundations and structures, the new power station will be a copy of the station currently under construction at Hinkley Point C.
Like Hinkley Point C, Sizewell C will be capable of supplying approximately 7% of the UK’s annual electricity requirement. It will be able to run at full power for 90% (or more) of the hours in the year.
By following Hinkley Point, Sizewell will be a much less risky project. Trades have been trained, construction kinks have been worked out, supply chains have been created, managers have gained experience, and designs have been completed and tested. As a result of this “derisking” (using the lingo of project managers) Sizewell C will be a more affordable endeavor that should begin saving customers money from the time it first begins operating.
But that expectation is unlikely to be fulfilled if the project has to be financed in the same way as Hinkley Point C, where the long construction duration and the inability to recover financing costs during construction has resulted in a situation where 70% or more of the total project cost is paid out in interest and return on investor risk capital.
On this episode of the Atomic Show, Julia Pyke, the Director of Finance for the Sizewell C project, explains how the regulated asset base (RAB) model will enable Sizewell C to be economically financed and built.
In the weeks since we recorded this episode of the Atomic Show, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has increased the importance of making it possible for Sizewell C participants to reach a final investment decision. Approval of the RAB model will be a major step forward in moving this project towards completion.
It is a shovel-ready project that will help fill growing vulnerabilities in the UK’s energy supply. It’s not a quick fix, but it will be a durable one.
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