The Government has asked big infrastructure companies with deep pockets to come forward to invest in the Sizewell C nuclear power plant in Suffolk.
Ministers are seeking companies “with substantial experience” in delivering major infrastructure projects, preferably ones who have experience of big nuclear projects.
The Government and French energy giant EDF are jointly investing in the Sizewell plant, which is expected to cost around £20 billion. But now they need more backers to raise the cash to build the site.
There will be a very small number of companies worldwide who fit the criteria of having relevant experience and being able to “take a meaningful stake in the company.”
The Government will also bar companies that fail “strict national security checks” from investing, cutting the potential investor pool even further.
National security fears have already hit the Sizewell C project. In 2015 when Chinese President Xi Jinping was visiting David Cameron in London, state-owned China General Nuclear Power Corporation (CGN) agreed with EDF to take a 20% stake in the Sizewell project.
But as the years passed and relations with China declined, the Government became worried about the Chinese government’s involvement in what could be such a key part of the UK’s energy system.
In November last year, therefore, ministers approved a £679 million investment to buy out CGN and become a 50% partner on the project with EDF.
“Investing in Sizewell C is an exciting opportunity to be a part of the UK’s nuclear revival – delivering clean, reliable and affordable power for generations to come,” Energy Security and Net Zero Secretary Claire Coutinho said on Monday.
“This project will create thousands of jobs, power six million homes and will boost our energy security.
“We are focused on securing good value for taxpayers and look forward to seeing strong and competitive bids to be a part of this exciting project.”
Interested investors need to complete a questionnaire by October 9.