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 2022 and to start generation in 2032.
On 24 June 2020, the UK Planning Inspectorate accepted the planning application for Sizewell C for examination. The Planning Inspectorate gave people until 30th September 2020 to register as an Interested Party. Prior to that there had been 4 stages of public consultation. Stage 1 ran from November 2012 to February 2013; Stage 2 ran from 23 November 2016 and ran until 3 February 2017; Stage 3 Consultation ran from 4 January to 29 March 2019; Stage 4 ran from 18th July to 27th September 2019.The planning application for a Development Consent Order (DCO) was submitted to the Planning Inspectorate (PINS) on 27 May 2020. Then EDF surprised everyone with a further 30-day public consultation on material changes it was proposing to make to the application. This ran from 18 November to 18 December 2020.
For more information on responses to the Stage 2 consultation see nuClear News No.92 “Sizewell C – you’ve got to be kidding!”
For more information on the Stage 3 consultation see nuClear News No.114
The Nuclear Free Local Authorities response to the 3rd Stage Consultation is available here.
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)
While some assert nuclear power is zero carbon, this is false even though the routine operation of a nuclear power plant does not directly produce CO2. A substantial amount of emissions result from the construction process. EDF’s Sustainability Statement for SZC breaks down the carbon content of construction of 5.74 million tonnes (Mt) of carbon equivalent (CO2e) as: 84% from the materials used, 4% construction activities, 5% materials transport and 5% worker transport. Any construction delays will inevitably increase person hours of labour and volume of materials, increasing the carbon content of construction. The poor record of EPR builds suggests a delay is very likely. Even on EDF’s assumptions, SZC cannot make a positive contribution to the UK’s net zero target until 2040, assuming that it is finished on schedule.
See Stop Sizewell C website.