New nuclear power could be set for a major boost in the UK. The prime minister is reportedly meeting with senior cabinet ministers this month to discuss the role of nuclear in the UK’s future energy supply, and it is expected that new nuclear will feature in his upcoming “10-point plan” for tackling the climate crisis. On Wednesday evening, Boris Johnson said: “There is no time to waste. That’s why I’ll be setting out my 10-point plan shortly, which will not only create thousands of British jobs but also invigorate our plans to achieve net zero by 2050.” The most likely candidate to get the green light under Mr Johnson’s new plans is Sizewell C, a proposed nuclear power station that would be built on the Suffolk coast. The project’s contractors, EDF Energy, say the station would be an “almost identical replica” of Hinkley Point C, the last large nuclear power station to get the go-ahead in the UK. Unlike onshore wind and solar projects, large nuclear power stations could deliver a large boost to the electricity supply without taking up lots of land, says Professor Jim Watson, an energy systems and policy researcher at University College London. “At the moment, the large reactors are looking very expensive in comparison to other low-carbon technologies,” says Watson. “I think if the nuclear industry and politicians want nuclear to play a role then that’s the challenge they need to address: is it possible to get those costs down?” The proposed Sizewell C project has also drawn criticism for its potential environmental costs. The RSPB has warned that the station would cause the destruction of Minsmere, a natural reserve that is home to more 6,000 species, including otters, water voles, marsh harriers and bats. In response to this criticism, EDF has previously said that Sizewell C would deliver a “net gain for biodiversity”. (This claim is disputed by the RSPB.) “The government has committed to protect 30 per cent of the UK’s land by 2030 to boost biodiversity, so allowing the destruction of one of the most nature-rich places we already have in the UK would be a crazy decision,” said Beccy Speight, chief executive of the RSPB.
Independent 12th Nov 2020 read more »
The Government has vowed to ensure it considers whether Sizewell C mitigation measures are stringent enough, after a Suffolk MP called for adequate scrutiny of the plans. Sources have indicated that the Government is close to giving the go ahead for the £20billion scheme on the Suffolk coast, prompting Central Suffolk and North Ipswich MP Dr Dan Poulter to call on the Secretary of State for Business, Alok Sharma, to ensure developers EDF will be “held to account and will properly engage with the consultation to implement the changes needed to improve road and rail infrastructure”.
Suffolk News 11th Nov 2020 read more »