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Clifford Chance advises Sizewell C on the UK Government's investment in the Sizewell C New Nuclear Build Project

29 November 2022

Clifford Chance advises Sizewell C on the UK Government's investment in the Sizewell C New Nuclear Build Project

International law firm Clifford Chance has advised the Sizewell C project company in connection with the acquisition by the UK Government of a 50 percent equity stake in the Sizewell C new nuclear build project located in Suffolk and its proposal to invest £679 million in the project to facilitate its development and progress to financial close.

Following this investment, the UK Government will work with the Sizewell C project company and EDF S.A. to attract new investment to help finance the project’s construction and operation. The move is the first direct government investment in a new nuclear power project since Sizewell B was approved for construction in 1987, being the last nuclear power station to be built in the UK. It is also a major step in delivering the British Energy Security Strategy plan for new nuclear, and the continued revitalisation of the UK nuclear industry which started at Hinkley Point C, in relation to which Clifford Chance separately advised EDF S.A.

The intended funding model for the project is the newly established Regulated Asset Base (RAB) funding model for nuclear. RAB is a funding model that has already been used for other major infrastructure, such as the Thames Tideway Tunnel. Using the RAB model is expected to further reduce the costs of electricity to consumers, by cutting the cost of new nuclear project finance, which is the biggest driver of nuclear project costs.

This project builds on a number of notable nuclear and renewable energy projects Clifford Chance is working on, as the sector continues to see increased interest and uptake as the global drive towards net zero continues. Clifford Chance advises clients on the full breadth of energy transition-related opportunities from a project financing and development, regulatory, M&A, joint venture and construction standpoint.

John Wilkins, the Clifford Chance Partner leading the team on the Sizewell C project said: "The taking of a 50 percent stake by Government is the next major milestone for Sizewell C and follows the passing of the RAB legislation for new nuclear into law earlier in the year. With these elements in place, Sizewell C is now well placed to raise the finance for the project at a price that is competitive for consumers."

The Clifford Chance team in London was co-led by Energy & Infrastructure partners John Wilkins and Praveen Jagadish and senior associates Keith Hauck, Ingrid Booth and Alexandra Blake, supported by associates Da Kyung Kwon, Sophie Stratton, and Will Martin.

Public Law advice led by Andrew Dean and Michael Rueter (London), Anastasios Tomtsis (Brussels) and Michel Petite (Paris) – supported by Nissim Massarano and Dani Rabinowitz (London) and Aleksander Tombinski (Brussels).