Boris Johnson commits to £700m funding of Sizewell C nuclear plant to improve UK energy security

In his final speech as PM, Boris Johnson said "we need to pull our national finger out" and increase Britain's nuclear generation capacity

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Boris Johnson promised £700million of funding for the Sizewell C nuclear power project as part of a drive to improve the UK’s energy security.

The Prime Minister said the spike in gas prices driven by Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine showed why new nuclear generation capacity was needed in the UK.

The new reactor at the Sizewell site in Suffolk is expected to be built in partnership with energy firm EDF and could power the equivalent of about six million homes.

“We need to pull our national finger out and get on with Sizewell C,” Mr Johnson said in his final major policy speech as Prime Minister.

Sizewell A and B nuclear power plants.
Sizewell A and B nuclear power plants.
Boris Johnson has announced £700m funding for Sizewell C.
Boris Johnson has announced £700m funding for Sizewell C.

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

“In the course of the next few weeks I am absolutely confident that it will get over the line.”

Mr Johnson has said he is not “morally” opposed to fracking, but claimed to be “dubious” it will prove to be a “panacea”.

Taking questions from the media after his speech at Sizewell, the Prime Minister was asked about his position on fracking.

He said: “On fracking, you know, I am not intellectually, morally opposed to this at all. I think that if we could, you know, frack effectively and cheaply in this country, that would be a positive and beneficial thing.

“I have to say, I am just 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. Did you pick up just now, can I ask you if you can remember how much cheaper is offshore wind than gas? Nine times cheaper.

“So, you know, I cannot rest my case. We are brilliant at offshore wind, we need to put in sustainable baseload in the form of nuclear.

“Of course, we need a diversified policy where local communities want different solutions, they should be allowed to go for different solutions.But I don’t think that particular solution is going to be the panacea that some people suggest.”

He added: “We shouldn’t put all our eggs in that particular basket.”