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UK opens talks with EDF over £20bn nuclear power station

Sizewell C nuclear power station (File photo)

The United Kingdom plans to restart talks with EDF to construct a nuclear power plant on the east coast, a project that is reportedly worth £20 billion ($26.4 billion).

This comes after EDF - a French multinational electric utility company largely owned by the French state - submitted plans this year.

"The government has... confirmed that it is to enter negotiations with EDF in relation to the Sizewell C project in Suffolk as it considers options to enable investment in at least one nuclear power station by the end of this parliament" in 2024, said a statement on the project.

“We’re starting negotiations with EDF, which would be the developer at Sizewell C,” Business Secretary Alok Sharma told BBC radio.

“What this is not is a green light on the construction, so what we will be doing is looking to see whether we can reach an investment decision in this parliament.”

The company is already working on another nuclear plant, Hinkley Point C, in the south of England, which is expected to begin generating power by the end of 2025 and will be capable of generating around 7% of Britain’s electricity demand.

Hinkley, the first nuclear power station being built in the UK in a generation, was labelled “expensive and risky” by the government’s spending watchdog last year.

However, Simone Rossi, EDF’s new chief executive, has said Sizewell C could be much cheaper than Hinkley Point C and competitive with alternatives.

The plan to reignite the UK’s new nuclear ambitions was announced alongside plans to reduce carbon emissions from the energy system while controlling energy bills and helping to create 220,000 new jobs over the next 10 years.

The plans will transform the government’s “climate ambition into climate action” through a “decisive and permanent shift away from our dependence on fossil fuels,” said Sharma.

The government said Monday the new talks would be subject to reaching a value for money deal and all other relevant approvals after which a final decision is taken on whether to proceed.

The government also said it would “consider options to enable investment in at least one nuclear power station by the end of this parliament”.

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