An application has been submitted to build a new nuclear power station capable of powering six million homes.
EDF Energy has put in plans for the Sizewell C plant on the Suffolk coast, first proposed more than a decade ago.
Alison Downes, of Stop Sizewell C, said the project would “suck vital funds” away from other technologies.
Managing director of the Sizewell C project, Humphrey Cadoux-Hudson, said it would “kick-start the economy following the coronavirus crisis”.
He said the 3.2GW plant would generate enough “always-on” low-carbon electricity to power six million homes, creating 25,000 jobs and 1,000 apprenticeships during construction.
EDF Energy added the scheme would reduce the need for imported energy.
‘Bridge to nowhere’
The application for a development consent order to the Planning Inspectorate was delayed for two months amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Sizewell C would be a near replica of the under-construction Hinkley Point C in Somerset, reducing construction costs and risks, according to EDF.
But Mrs Downes said: “Sizewell C would be an expensive bridge to nowhere: it will suck vital funds away from the technologies and projects that are more capable of truly transforming our energy landscape.”
She said while coronavirus lockdown restrictions continued there could not be “full public participation in the planning process – even the Planning Inspectorate does not yet know how it could work”.
EDF Energy said extra measures would be put in place to make it easier for the proposals to be scrutinised once they were published.
Mr Cadoux-Hudson said: “Sizewell C is a net-zero infrastructure project ready to kick-start the economy following the coronavirus crisis.
“The project will play a key role in lowering emissions while helping the UK keep control of its low carbon future.”
The planning process is likely to take 18 months to complete with the government making the final decision.
Sizewell was highlighted by the government as being suitable for a future nuclear power station in 2010, when it selected eight sites around England and Wales from a longer list of potential locations.
There have been two power stations at Sizewell already – Sizewell A, which opened in the 1960s and shut in 2006, and Sizewell B, which opened in the 1990s and is still in operation.