A new nuclear power station at Sizewell in Suffolk is set to be given the green light after government talks with the energy giant EDF 'intensified' in recent weeks.
Planning documents were lodged for the nuclear plant, which contractor EDF said will generate enough 'always-on' low-carbon electricity to power six million homes and create 25,000 jobs, back in May.
Now, talks are said to have stepped up on the project while specifics on how the new reactors will be funded are still being discussed, according to the BBC.
It follows Japanese group Hitachi pulling out of the Wylfa nuclear power plant on Anglesey last month, dealing another blow to the UK’s nuclear plans.
Sizewell in Suffolk (artist's impression pictured above) is set to be given the green light after government talks with contractor EDF are said to have 'intensified'
But the government is maintaining it is 'committed to new nuclear', potentially in a 10-point plan that will be released early next month.
Business and unions have welcomed the power plant, but charities including the National Trust and RSPB earlier criticised it as 'disastrous' plans to concrete over a large area of rare marshland.
Sizewell C will provide 900 skilled jobs over its operating lifetime and support UK energy resilience by meeting seven percent of its demand for electricity, thus reducing the need for imports, EDF said.
The application for a development consent order to the Planning Inspectorate was previously delayed for two months due to the coronavirus pandemic.
EDF said extra measures will be put in place to make it easier for local communities to scrutinise the proposals once they are published.
But wildlife groups have said the scheme should not go ahead as it will harm important habitats around the site on the Suffolk coast.
Suffolk Wildlife Trust (SWT) said construction would lead to the loss of rare fen habitat.
Ben McFarland, SWT's conservation manager, earlier said: 'Current plans suggest the direct loss of nationally important and protected land on Sizewell Belts, a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).
'An area between 10-12 hectares - or roughly 10 football pitches - will be covered in concrete.
'The loss of this nationally rare fen habitat would be devastating and irreplaceable.'
EDF's new multibillion-pound Hinkley Point C project reached its biggest milestone earlier this year in June with the completion of the base for its first reactor
The Stop Sizewell C campaign group which opposes the scheme warned it is costly, diverting investment from other green energy sources such as renewables and would damage tourism and nature in the area.
But Justin Bowden, GMB union national secretary, said in May: 'GMB welcomes the EDF planning consent order application which will be crucial if the UK is to have sufficient reliable energy to keep the lights on, homes and businesses powered and to meet net-zero targets.
'A balanced energy mix, which includes new nuclear and green gas, is crucial as intermittent wind and solar on their own cannot meet the UK's energy needs.'
John Dugmore, chief executive of Suffolk Chamber of Commerce, added: 'The Suffolk business community is very supportive of this crucial project, both in terms of potential contracts and the skills boost.'