As part of the United Kingdom’s new energy strategy, the British government and French power company EDF are planning to take stakes of up to 20% in the Sizewell C, the latest addition to the Wylfa Nuclear Power Station in Wales.
Sizewell C and other nuclear facilities currently rising throughout the country are seen as integral to the country’s drive to reduce its reliance on fossil fuels by the next decade. Indeed, officials expressed hope that this development would encourage infrastructural investors and independent funds to cover the remaining 60% of the initiative’s funding.
One of Several Initiatives
The construction of the nearly US$24.98 billion (£20 billion) large-scale nuclear plant in Wales is just one of a number of initiatives that the government is working to bring to fruition.
Also in the pipeline are plans for building infrastructure for solar facilities and wind farms, as well as stimulus funding for oil and gas mining in British territorial waters.
However, no mention was made of additional nuclear facilities such as smaller reactors powered by nuclear submarine technology and plants on a larger scale.
An Interesting Funding Plan
According to British legislators, it is possible that the cost of building and financing Sizewell C and similar initiatives under the energy plan may be passed on to consumers over the next decade.
The proposal was approved sans challenges in the House of Lords and is currently up for a second reading in the House of Commons. If all goes well, the proposal may be ratified into law within the next two weeks.
Representatives speaking for EDF say that the cost passed on to consumers is virtually negligible at just US$2.50 (£2) annually during the first phase, but may go as high as US$15.00 (£12.)
A Potential Danger to the Environment
But not everyone is looking forward to the construction and operation of the Sizewell C Nuclear Plant.
While a number of business groups in neighboring Suffolk see the plant’s construction as a boon in terms of local employment and skills development, environmentalists are sounding the alarm as to whether or not it’s a sustainable energy solution, and also because the presence of a nuclear facility poses a threat to both humans and nature.
Some activists declare that nuclear plants on such a large scale are inefficient, expensive, and pose serious health risks. The group Stop Sizewell C, on the other hand, wants the government to think twice before investing its money in the facility, citing the impracticality of imposing a nuclear tax on the populace where more renewable, cost-effective, and environmentally-sound options are available.