Nuclear decision will help Norfolk with Sizewell C
PUBLISHED: 13:24 21 March 2013 | UPDATED: 13:24 21 March 2013
The decision to give the green light to the first of a new generation of nuclear power plants will restore confidence to the Norfolk and Suffolk supply chain, according to chamber of commerce chief executive Caroline Williams.
The move by the government to grant planning consent to Hinkley Point C in Somerset brings plans to build a new nuclear reactor at Sizewell one step closer, said Mrs Williams, who is urging local businesses to seize the opportunities presented by a new age of nuclear energy.
It comes after the future of nuclear new-builds was rocked last month when British Gas owner Centrica pulled out of the UK’s new nuclear build programme, leaving a financial hole in EDF Energy’s ambition to build a third nuclear facility in Suffolk.
But Mrs Williams said yesterday’s announcement by energy secretary Ed Davey would provide certainty to the region’s businesses looking to capitalise on opportunities presented by Hinkley Point C – although a strike price from the government has still yet to be agreed.
She said: “Yesterday’s news makes Sizewell C a step closer because if Hinkley Point C had been refused then Sizewell C would have been much more difficult.
“It means that businesses that are looking to take advantage of the opportunities at Sizewell C can now take advantage of the opportunities at Hinkley Point C.
“EDF will be mindful of using the local supply chain in Somerset, but if there’s an alternative solution then they will look at Norfolk and Suffolk companies.
“We would recommend that they register on the Hinkley website.
“Business don’t do well when things are uncertain and the fact that the uncertainty surrounding Hinkley Point C has been taken away is important.
“Energy minister John Hays will be visiting the Norfolk Chamber during our Sustainability conference in May. We will stress to him then the importance of making a timely decision on the future of Sizewell C, ensuring that it has a positive outcome.”
The news is a boost to the nuclear industry following a series of setbacks in plans to construct a new fleet of reactors in the UK, which ministers say are needed to cut carbon and keep the lights on.
Mr Davey told the Commons that affordable new nuclear would play a “crucial role” in ensuring secure, diverse supplies of energy and decarbonising the electricity sector.