LONDON (AP) — Britain’s government on Wednesday gave the green light to a new nuclear power station that’s expected to generate enough low-carbon electricity to power 6 million homes.
Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said development consent was granted for the building of the plant, called Sizewell C, on eastern England’s Suffolk coast.
French energy company EDF, which will partly fund the project, has said the plant will generate electricity for at least 60 years and will employ 900 people. The plant will reportedly cost 20 billion pounds ($24 billion).
Authorities say the plant will make a substantial contribution toward Britain’s target of making up to a quarter of the power consumed in the country come from nuclear by 2050.
The U.K. wants to reduce its dependence on imported oil and gas and generate cheaper, cleaner power domestically. The government has said it wants 95% of British electricity to come from low-carbon sources by 2030.
Five of the country’s six existing nuclear plants will be decommissioned within the decade. Sizewell C will be among two new nuclear plants in construction — the other plant, Hinkley C, is expected to open mid-2026 after a series of delays.
Sizewell C has faced opposition from locals and environmental groups, which argue it will damage local nature reserves. Critics have also said nuclear plants are far more expensive and slow to build compared with other renewable energy options.
The campaign group Stop Sizewell C said it will appeal the government’s decision to approve the plant.
“Whether it is the impact on consumers, the massive costs and delays, the outstanding technical questions or the environmental impacts, it remains a bad project and a very bad risk,” the group said.