EDF Energy’s departing UK chief executive has finally forecast a date for the activation of first power from the Sizewell C nuclear power plant in Somerset, England.

Vincent de Rivaz said that the company aims to produce the first power from a new nuclear power plant in Suffolk by 2031, and forecast that by 2033 the Sizewell C plant, a sister project to Hinkley Point C in Somerset, “will have been in operation for a couple of years”.
Vincent De Rivaz
There had been reluctance on the part of management to name a date for the project, after the negative experience associated with Hinkley Point C, which has suffered repeated delays.

That plant is now due to start producing electricity by the end of 2025, although EDF has warned that the £20bn project could be delayed until early 2027. It had originally been meant for a 2017 commencement, when discussions started about the plant in the mid noughties.

In a leaving speech, Mr de Rivaz, who steps down this week, set out his “thoughts, hopes and expectations” for EDF Energy 16 years from now according to the Times.

“By 2033, Hinkley Point C will have been operational for eight years,” he said. “Sizewell C will have been in operation for a couple of years.”

Meanwhile  Mr de Rivaz “strongly hopes” Bradwell nuclear power plant in Essex will also be generating by 2033.

The government agreed last summer that Hinkley Point would receive a guaranteed price of £92.50 per megawatt-hour of power it produces for 35 years. Critics have complained that the sum is far too expensive. However, if EDF builds Sizewell, the price for Hinkley Point would drop to £89.50. Financial support for Sizewell itself would be subject to a separate negotiation. EDF has said that it knows the project has to be significantly cheaper than Hinkley Point.

EDF has carried out two stages of public consultation in Suffolk over the Sizewell project. A spokesman said that it would look at the feedback it had received and would revise plans for further public consultation before submitting a planning application.