Framatome signs 'multi-billion euros' contracts with Sizewell C

16 April 2024

Framatome says it "has signed contracts worth multi-billion euros" with Sizewell C Ltd for key equipment for the two reactors from the design phase up to commissioning. It has also signed a long-term fuel supply agreement.

(Image: EDF)

Framatome, which is 80.5% owned by France's EDF and 19.5% by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, said it would be responsible for the delivery of the two nuclear heat production systems and also the plant's safety instrumentation and control systems.

Longer term agreements cover fabrication of the fuel for the two reactors and for services and maintenance to support the operation of the plant.

The EDF-led plan is for Sizewell C to feature two EPRs producing 3.2 GW of electricity, enough to power the equivalent of around six million homes. It would be a similar design to the two unit plant being built at Hinkley Point C in Somerset.

Bernard Fontana, CEO of Framatome, said the company was "proud to continue supporting the UK’s Net Zero target by 2050", adding that the project "will benefit from the valuable experience garnered from Hinkley Point C and our teams are determined to make it a success".

EDF agreed in October 2016 with China General Nuclear (CGN) to develop the Sizewell C project to the point where a final investment decision could be made. EDF had an 80% stake and CGN a 20% stake. However, the so-called "golden era" of UK-China relations has ended in recent years with the UK government citing security concerns as it reviewed and blocked Chinese investments in UK infrastructure. In November 2022, the UK said it would invest GBP679 million (USD845 million) and become a 50% partner with EDF in the Sizewell C project. A further GBP511 million of funding was made available to the project in summer 2023, with the government funding designed to get the project to the final investment decision.

EDF said in November 2022 that it planned to "retain only a minority stake in the final investment decision - a maximum of 20%".

The UK government has been seeking investment in the Sizewell C project, launching a pre-qualification for potential investors as the first stage of an equity raise process last September. It has also taken legislation through Parliament allowing a new way of funding new large infrastructure projects - a Regulated Asset Base (RAB) funding model, which can see consumers contributing towards the cost of new nuclear power plants during the construction phase. Under the previous Contracts for Difference system developers finance the construction of a nuclear project and only begin receiving revenue when the station starts generating electricity.

In January, a further GBP1.3 billion of government funding was approved allowing for necessary infrastructure work such as roads and rail lines to continue pending a final investment decision being taken. Last month Sizewell C Ltd, a standalone company majority-owned by the UK government, signed a deal with EDF Energy to purchase the freehold of the land which will be used for the new power plant.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News