CND has praised the tireless efforts of local campaigns opposed to the construction of the Sizewell C nuclear plant in Suffolk, as the government announces a multi-million pound funding deal.

On Tuesday, Business Secretary Grant Shapps visited the site to mark the signing of contracts between the UK government and French nuclear firm EDF, releasing £700 million in government funding. Shapps said the deal would ensure “greater energy independence” for Britain from the volatility of global energy markets.

He also confirmed that the contract meant China General Nuclear – initially a partner in Sizewell C – was now no longer involved. While EDF and the government will take a 50 percent stake, investors are still sought for the remaining half. Recent reports suggest that Mubadal, a sovereign wealth fund from the UAE, may already be in talks to take part.

Estimated to cost between £20-30 billion in total, the upfront costs of building Sizewell C will be paid for by a levy on consumer bills – long before the plant starts generating electricity – under a funding model known as Regulated Asset Base (RAB).

Local campaign groups like Stop Sizewell C – who have applied for a judicial review of Sizewell’s planning permission – have been quick to point out several flaws with what they called “financial black hole.” They accused the government of not coming clean about “what the ultimate cost” of Sizewell will be, adding that “with a French developer, overseas owners and foreign uranium fuel, the claim of energy ‘freedom’ looks pretty hollow.”

CND General Secretary Kate Hudson said: “Groups like Stop Sizewell C and Together Against Sizewell C must be commended for being at the forefront in opposing this government’s obsession with nuclear power. Sizewell C is not a savvy investment in this country’s future energy security but an open pit for taxpayer money and an increase in people’s energy bills. For safer, cleaner and more cost effective technologies, the government need look no further than insulating people’s homes, and more investment in solar tidal, and wind generation.”