Sizewell C ‘may cost double government estimates and take five years longer to build’

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The projected Sizewell C atomic powerfulness presumption could outgo UK taxpayers much than treble authorities estimates and instrumentality an other 5 years to build, according to research.

Ministers volition determine successful July whether to o.k. the improvement of the Suffolk powerfulness presumption projected by the French developer EDF. The concern section has estimated the government-backed strategy volition adhd an other £1 a period to household bills to assistance operation costs.

But probe by the University of Greenwich Business School seen by the Guardian shows the mean monthly outgo could scope £2.12, oregon £25.40 a year. At its costliest point, the physique could outgo taxpayers astir £4 a month.

That represents the study’s gloomiest forecast, which predicts operation would instrumentality 17 years and outgo £43.8bn.

The task had been expected to outgo £20bn and instrumentality 10-12 years to build. Stephen Thomas, a prof astatine Greenwich Business School, said the mean forecast enactment the outgo astatine £35bn implicit 15 years, oregon £2.3bn a year.

The figures could further inflame the statement implicit the outgo and clip of gathering powerfulness stations aft Boris Johnson past period acceptable a people of gathering a caller atomic presumption each year.

EDF past week admitted that Hinkley Point C, the powerfulness presumption it is processing successful Somerset, would outgo an other £3bn taking it to up to £26bn. The already-delayed task volition instrumentality an other year, and is expected to statesman generating energy successful June 2027. EDF had primitively planned for it beryllium operational by Christmas 2017.

The French steadfast said consumers would not beryllium deed by the other costs astatine Hinkley Point C, which volition beryllium taken connected by EDF and China’s CGN, its inferior spouse successful the project.

However, astatine Sizewell C the authorities has already committed £100m to the task and plans to usage a regulated plus basal (RAB) backing model.

RAB backing gives investors a acceptable instrumentality during the operation signifier of a project, reducing their hazard and making an plus much charismatic to extracurricular investors. However, it shifts the hazard of delays and other costs connected to taxpayers.

The authorities argues that the RAB exemplary could trim the task outgo of a atomic powerfulness presumption by much than £30bn implicit its 60-year lifespan. The exemplary was utilized successful the operation of Heathrow Terminal 5 and the Thames Tideway super-sewer.

A last determination connected plans for Sizewell C was precocious pushed backmost from 25 May to 8 July. The tract is located northbound of EDF’s existing Sizewell B plant.

Campaigners reason that the improvement would beryllium costly and threatens the section environment.

The imaginable of other costs comes arsenic consumers look soaring bills amid the vigor crisis. The authorities has been urged to intervene with yearly bills forecast to balloon to astir £3,000 from October.

Johnson has thrown his value down atomic powerfulness arsenic a greenish enactment to boost Britain’s vigor information successful the aftermath of Russia’s penetration of Ukraine and arsenic helium targets nett zero emissions by 2050.

Thomas said: “It whitethorn not look a immense magnitude other connected bills but respective of these projects volition overlap, meaning consumers paying adjacent much for a agelong time. If costs are adjacent higher than expected it could go a existent burden.”

A spokesperson for Sizewell C said: “The RAB exemplary is simply a tried and trial financing arrangement, which has already been utilized to rise funds for much than £160bn of UK infrastructure. Applied to Sizewell C, it volition bring the outgo of concern down and present important savings to consumers.”

A authorities spokesperson said: “We firmly basal by our appraisal that a large-scale task funded nether our Nuclear Act would adhd astatine astir a fewer pounds a twelvemonth to emblematic household vigor bills during the aboriginal stages of construction, and connected mean astir £1 a period during the afloat operation signifier of the project.”