Sizewell C: Boris Johnson urges UK to ‘go nuclear, go large’ as he approves £700m funding for nuclear plant
The outgoing Prime Minister has said the nuclear project in Suffolk could power the equivalent of six million homes.
In his final major policy speech, the outgoing prime minister said he was “absolutely confident” that the nuclear power station in Suffolk “will get over the line” in the coming weeks - adding it would be “madness” to not go ahead with the project.
Speaking on the benefits of nuclear investment in reducing energy bills, the Uxbridge and South Ruislip MP compared the situation to buying a new kettle: “If you have an old kettle that takes ages to boil, it may cost you £20 to replace it.
“But if you get a new one you will save £10 a year every year on your electricity bill.”
He added that Sizewell C, which will be built in partnership with energy firm EDF and could power the equivalent of six million homes, would have cut fuel bills by £3 billion if it had been operational this year.
The Prime Minister’s comments come following the spike in energy prices driven by Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, which Mr Johnson said highlighted why nuclear energy capacity was needed in the UK.
He also took aim at those reluctant to invest in new reactors, claiming “it is a chronic case of politicians not being able to see beyond the political cycle.”
“Yes, nuclear always looks - when you begin - relatively expensive to build and run,” he explained. “But look at what’s happening today, look at the results of Vladimir Putin’s war.
“It is certainly cheap by comparison with hydrocarbons today.”
Mr Johnson also highlighted the importance of offshore wind, claiming the UK is “racing” towards its target of 50 gigawatts of offshore wind by 2030.
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.”
It appeared to be a criticism of Tory leadership candidate Ms Truss, who has spoken of her support for fracking.
In the speech, the ousted prime minister also said he expects his successor - either Rishi Sunak or Ms Truss - to provide “substantial sums” to help with the cost of living crisis.
He reiterated the support the Government has already provided but insisted a “further package” will be delivered ahead of winter by the next administration.
Measures already announced by the Government include a universal £400 discount on energy bills, and a total of £1,200 extra support for vulnerable households.
Mr Johnson’s remarks come as the Resolution Foundation warned the next prime minister’s time in office looks set to be dominated by the “terrifying” prospect of the biggest squeeze in living standards for a century, as energy bills soar and inflation worsens.
Regulator Ofgem also confirmed an 80% rise in the energy price cap, which will mean the average household’s yearly bill will go from £1,971 to £3,549 from October.
The Resolution Foundation’s report also predicted there would be a “sharp rise” in the number of people in absolute poverty - projected at more than three million between 2021-22 and 2023-24 - which would be the worst two-year change on record.