EDF Energy plans to build two further EPR reactors, after Hinkley Point C, at Sizewell, in Suffolk. EDF and China General Nuclear Corporation (CGN) agreed in October 2015 to develop the Sizewell C project to the point where a final investment decision can be made, with a view to building and operating two EPR reactors there. During this development phase, EDF will take an 80% share while CGN will take a 20% share. EDF hopes to start construction in 2021 and to start generation in 2031.
EDF Energy launched its stage2 public consultation on the proposals at the end of 2016. The consultation closed on 3 February 2017. Community leaders who met to discuss the proposals agreed that the developers need to offer a better deal for Suffolk. Nearly 80 town and parish representatives along with members of the Joint Local Authority Group (JLAG) concluded that EDF Energy’s stage two consultation for Sizewell C failed to make enough progress from its proposals four years earlier. The key concerns raised at the summit focused on the proposed accommodation campus, whose location near Therberton is feared to lack the required infrastructure to transport up to 2,400 workers to and from the construction site. The summit also heard that EDF’s proposals to have 35 metre high “spoil heaps” would have a significant impact on those living and visiting the area and it was not yet clear what mitigation would be provided. Transport routes for construction material were also said to be unclear, with EDF urged to provide more detail about how much would be brought in by road, sea and rail.
For more information on responses to the Stage 2 consultation see nuClear News No.92 “Sizewell C – you’ve got to be kidding!”
Originally EDF’s intention was to have only 2 stages of consultation before applying to build the new reactors, but on 4th January 2019 it launched a third stage public consultation which ran until 29th March 2019.
EDF says the proposals have been shaped through feedback received from two previous stages of public consultation, on-going engagement with stakeholders, and substantial technical assessments and environmental studies. They say consultation has played an important role in informing and developing the plans. But judging by some of the reactions of the local community EDF is either deluding itself or being deliberately misleading. For more on this see nuClear News No.114
The Nuclear Free Local Authorities response to the 3rd Stage Consultation is available here.
After the third stage consultation an application has to be made to the Planning Inspectorate (PI). The PI then sets a timetable for an examination process, which will include further opportunities for communities to get involved and have their say through written submissions and, probably, ‘open floor’ hearings. But the need for a nuclear power station cannot be questioned at this inquiry.
Opponents of Sizewell C are feeling encouraged. Campaigners claim the proposals for a new nuclear power station on the Suffolk coast have been “exposed as entirely inadequate” – and believe it cannot be built. Together Against Sizewell C (TASC) claim people will decide the evidence is “overwhelming and terminal”.
TASC chairman Pete Wilkinson says the most recent plans shown in the company’s stage three consultation for Sizewell C have been “exposed as entirely inadequate”. He said: “Since the delivery of a 1,500-signature petition to the Leader of Suffolk County Council, we have seen a surge in support for our position of outright opposition to Sizewell …With recent increased media interest in the issue, people are waking up to the sheer scale of the environmental and infrastructure changes the plant will require and they are becoming more and more vocal in opposition. It is very encouraging.”
TASC has voiced concerns over the suitability of the Sizewell site, claiming it is too small for the proposed development, potential loss of SSSI, visual intrusion, noise and light pollution and the negative impact it will have on the Suffolk Coast and Heaths AONB and Heritage Coast. TASC secretary Joan Girling said: “Our detailed report clearly demonstrates three things: we require much more information from EDF before we can fully appreciate the impact of their plans; even on the information available, it is clear that the dis-benefits associated with Sizewell C far outweigh the putative benefits, and EDF must plan for a fourth round of consultation.”
For more on this see nuClear News No.116
Meanwhile. the EPR Reactor being built at Flamanville in Normandy – the same type of reactor as the two proposed for Sizewell C – began construction in 2007. It was originally expected to start generating in 2012 and cost 3.5 billion euros. The bill has now reached nearly 11 billion, and it could be delayed yet again until 2022. While construction has almost finished, substandard quality welds were discovered in February and April 2018, in the secondary circuit which discharges steam to the turbine. (See nuClear News No.117)