Britain opens talks with EDF on funding Sizewell C nuclear project

LONDON (Reuters) -Britain on Monday confirmed it would enter negotiations with France’s EDF to try to strike a funding deal on the 20 billion pound ($27 billion) Sizewell C nuclear energy project in Suffolk, Eastern England.

“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.”

EDF is already building Britain’s first new nuclear plant in more than two decades, Hinkley Point C, with backing from China’s CGN.

CGN also owns a 20% development phase stake in Sizewell C but recent media reports have suggested it could pull out.

Britain said in September it was looking at funding options for the project.

It said on Monday the talks would be subject to reaching a value for money deal and all other relevant approvals before any final decision was taken on whether to proceed.

Britain’s nuclear power plants can supply around 20% of the country’s electricity demand, but around half the plants are set to close in the next four years.

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

The announcement on Sizewell C was made alongside the government’s white paper on cleaning up Britain’s energy system.

($1 = 0.7470 pounds)

Reporting by Paul Sandle; Editing by Kate Holton