Boris Johnson confirms £700m investment in Sizewell C nuclear power station


‘Go nuclear, go large’: Boris confirms £700m investment in Sizewell C as PM uses final major speech to insist it would be ‘madness’ not to push ahead with nuclear power after Putin’s invasion of Ukraine

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Boris Johnson today urged his successor to ‘go nuclear, go large’ as he promised a £700million investment in the proposed Sizewell C power station in Suffolk.

In what is likely to have been his final major policy speech as Prime Minister, the outgoing premier said he was ‘absolutely confident it will get over the line’ in the next few weeks.

Mr Johnson warned it would be ‘absolute madness’ not to push ahead with the nuclear project as Russian President Vladimir Putin wreaks havoc with global oil and gas markets.

He also expressed his confidence that his successor – whether Liz Truss or Rishi Sunak – would abandon the ‘short-termism’ that has hampered previous Government thinking on Britain’s energy security.

The Sizewell C project is being pursued in the face of stiff local opposition.

The RSPB have warned it could be ‘catastrophic’ for wildlife at the nearby Minsmere nature reserve, where some of Britain’s rarest birds have only avoided extinction by surviving in the reedbeds.

Both Labour and the Liberal Democrats hit out at Mr Johnson’s ‘hollow words’ on investment in energy projects.

They blamed the Tories’ ‘appalling legacy’ on renewable energy during their 12 years in power for the current cost-of-living crisis.

Boris Johnson today delivered what is likely have been his final major policy speech as Prime Minister before he departs Downing Street next week

Boris Johnson today delivered what is likely have been his final major policy speech as Prime Minister before he departs Downing Street next week

The new nuclear power station is planned for the same site as the existing Sizewell C on the Suffolk coast. The PM today promised a £700million investment in the project

The new nuclear power station is planned for the same site as the existing Sizewell C on the Suffolk coast. The PM today promised a £700million investment in the project

The PM warned it would be 'absolute madness' not to push ahead with the Sizewell C nuclear project as Russian President Vladimir Putin wreaks havoc with global oil and gas markets

The PM warned it would be ‘absolute madness’ not to push ahead with the Sizewell C nuclear project as Russian President Vladimir Putin wreaks havoc with global oil and gas markets

In a defence of his three years in power, Mr Johnson said: ‘This Government has not shirked the big decisions, we’ve raised our eyes, we’ve looked to the horizon.

‘Whoever follows me next week I know that they will do the same.

‘No more national myopia, no more short-termism, let’s think about the future, let’s think about our kids and our grandchildren, about the next generation.

‘I say to you with the prophetic candour and clarity with one who is about to hand over the torch of office, I say: Go nuclear, go large and go with Sizewell C.’

With Britons facing soaring energy prices this winter – in a crisis made worse by Russia’s assault on Ukraine – Mr Johnson bemoaned how other nuclear projects had not already been delivered.

He insisted that if the much-delayed Hinkley Point C, currently being constructed in Somerset, had been ‘already running’ this year the it would be ‘cutting fuel bills by £3billion’.

‘That’s why we need to pull our national finger out and get on with Sizewell C,’ he added.

‘That’s why we’re putting £700 million into the deal, just part of the £1.7 billion of Government funding available for developing a large-scale nuclear project to final investment stage… in this Parliament.

‘And in the course of the next few weeks, I am absolutely confident that it will get over the line, and we will get it over the line because it would be absolute madness not to.’

The Sizewell C project is being pursued in the face of stiff local opposition with the RSPB warning it could be 'catastrophic' for wildlife at the nearby Minsmere nature reserve

The Sizewell C project is being pursued in the face of stiff local opposition with the RSPB warning it could be ‘catastrophic’ for wildlife at the nearby Minsmere nature reserve

Some of Britain's rarest birds have only avoided extinction by surviving in the reedbeds at the RSPB's Minsmere nature reserve

Some of Britain’s rarest birds have only avoided extinction by surviving in the reedbeds at the RSPB’s Minsmere nature reserve

The PM warned that a pledge by Liz Truss, who is widely expected to be his successor, to overturn his ban on fracking would not 'prove to be a panacea' to the energy crisis

The PM warned that a pledge by Liz Truss, who is widely expected to be his successor, to overturn his ban on fracking would not ‘prove to be a panacea’ to the energy crisis

Mr Johnson also appeared to take a swipe at Ms Truss, who is widely expected to replace him as PM next week, after the Foreign Secretary recently vowed to overturn his ban on fracking if she takes office.

He said: ‘I tell everybody who thinks hydrocarbons are the only answer, we should get fracking and all that, offshore wind is now the cheapest form of electricity in this country.

‘Offshore wind is nine times cheaper than gas.’

The PM later insisted he was not ‘morally’ opposed to fracking but added he was ‘slightly dubious it will prove to be a panacea’.

‘I would much rather that we focused on the things where we are brilliant and where the environmental damage is really minimal, like offshore wind,’ he said.

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