Suffolk’s present and future position as a major energy producer was cemented today as construction work on Sizewell C officially began.
Although it won’t be until about April that the first big diggers arrive on site, today marked a significant milestone in the project.
Nuclear minister Andrew Bowie joined local MP Thérèse Coffey, local council and community representatives and nuclear bosses to mark the official start of works.
Mr Bowie hailed it as a “hugely significant day”. Even though a general election looms in which polls suggest the Tory party could well be ousted, he insisted that a change in government would make no difference to the project.
The two main parties were “in lockstep” in supporting the next generation of nuclear plants – meaning the plans won’t be derailed no matter which of them is in charge, he said.
Government has pledged £1.2bn to the plant and is talking to other investors and he was “confident” that the funding package – or Final Investment Decision – will be in place before the end of this parliament, he said.
A current site workforce of around 500 is engaged with groundwork preparations as well as ecology and archaeology work.
Over the next year, the number of workers is expected to rise by around another 1,000. At the peak of construction, there will be 7,900 workers on site.
Sizewell C joint managing director Nigel Cann – who is in overall charge of construction – said one of his first jobs would be moving around 2 million cubic metres of earth.