UK’s Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) has granted Sizewell C Ltd. a site licence for the Sizewell C nuclear power station, planned to be built on the Suffolk coast.

The British regulator granted the site licence after a thorough scrutiny and evaluation and is the first such licence issued in a decade, after the Hinkley Point C project in 2012.

Sizewell C is responsible for complying with several health and safety legislation and nuclear security regulations.

Also, the project company is required to meet 36 conditions related to the design, construction, operation, and decommissioning of the proposed nuclear power plant.

In addition to the site licence, the project needs additional approval, including permission from the ONR and the Environment Agency (EA), to start the construction.

Sizewell C safety, security and assurance director Mina Golshan said: “Securing a nuclear site licence is a show of confidence from our nuclear regulator that we have a suitable site, that we can achieve a safe design replicated from Hinkley Point C, and that we have a capable organisation ready to begin major construction work.

“It’s a huge milestone and demonstrates that this project is firmly on track. We have made good progress already and this licence gives us the framework to further advance this project.”

The British nuclear regulator said that its decision to grant a site licence follows its expression of support for Sizewell C’s replication strategy.

In 2022, ONR confirmed that building the same design as Hinkley Point C would deliver safety benefits that would not be possible with a new or modified design.

Also, replication brings significant efficiencies to Sizewell C, including the transfer of the broader lessons learned from one project to the other.

Sizewell C has already started earthworks at the site and is raising private equity from investors to support the project, with plans to take a Final Investment Decision (FID) in a few months.

The nuclear power station, which would be one of the UK’s biggest clean energy projects, will provide low-carbon electricity to six million homes for at least 60 years.

It will also help the government achieve its goal of generating up to 24GW of low-carbon nuclear power by 2050, said the project company.

Golshan added: “As we do so, our commitment to safety remains unwavering and we will continue to work with our partners to bring learning from Hinkley Point C, and other major infrastructure projects, to drive best industry practice in safety and environmental protection.”

“I’d like to take this opportunity to thank Office for Nuclear Regulation for their constructive engagement over the past four years.

“Their effective and independent regulation is fundamental to the success of our project and for maintaining public confidence in the nuclear industry.”