Fiona Cairns (last week) was right to raise questions about the news that many more energy projects are now trying to crowd through the "Energy Gateway" at Sizewell. Fears and worries go much wider than just the impact on the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

The news is that the start of the East Anglian offshore wind farm cabling now needs to be done. More big offshore zones are waiting out there. Then there are two undersea interconnector cables, projects Nautilus and Eurolink. These are necessary to balance weather changes across Europe and buy and sell electricty, also coming onshore at Sizewell.These cables need very big converter stations - measured by football pitch sizes - and It's all at Sizewell because of the route to the nearest national grid circuit, where EDF's nuclear power goes via the pylons built back in the nationalised nuclear industry days before EDF.

The other development, though not signalled yet, is the need for a vast nuclear dry store for 40 years or more for Sizewell C. It would need to be at least 6 times the size of the recently built dry store, needing extra land and costing too. A huge development because Sizewell C is two, not one reactor, and these two would be the world's biggest.

The impact of all this is going to be huge and far too much for Suffolk's poor infrastructure, for nature impact, for tourism, for residents and commuters. Stretched over a long period, 10-15  years for the nuclear project, a decade maybe for the wind farms - It seems to have shocked local politicians who've promoted the "Energy Gateway" so hard. Their own government has licenced it all and must have known - why were communities not told ?

What can be done ? The offshore wind farms are already licensed and building, the interconnectors are necessary for shortfalls and surpluses. But as time passes, more nuclear at Sizewell is looking less credible for a whole range of reasons. Meanwhile, cvommunities south of the Leiston-Sizewell road will face all of the cabling challenges. Local talk says EDF won't cooperate on land and pylon access. So, isn't it about time EDF admitted that Sizewell C is not suitable for Suffolk, not necessary given these other truly renewable supplies, not sustainable because a 60 year lifespan and 10 to 15 years to build mean it is going to be technologicaly redundant in any case. There are may more objections to Szewell C, but if it is no longer necessary, shouldn't it be cancelled ? It would free up land and pylon capacity and reduce the burden on the communities facing the cabling and converter stations impacts.

Regan Scott, Great Bealings

According to senior Cllr Andy Smith, at a Suffolk coastal erosion meeting (SCAR) only a few days ago, EDF are going to do their 3rd and final consultation about Sizewell C as early as January next year.

That's a real rush. By common understanding they simply haven't done the environmental assessments and lots of other work required by the planners. They have not been able to propose any solutions to the many traffic and other big isssues. Coastal and potable water issues are serious - millions of gallons of water wil be needed to mix the special nuclear cements and Suffolk acquifers could run dry. Even if they had done the work, they woudn't have found solutions because the problems are in any case insoluble.

So, the EDF statement (Anglian, Wed 28) that Sizewell C is the "next" project, but still needs to cross major business and cost hurdles looks odd indeed. We learn that EDF is to be an "invited" developer, not a "nominated" developer under proposed new Government rules (EN6 Mark 2). These rules will tighten some business and security standards for new nuclear, while posing new issues for environment protection. EDF also say that the project is "not set in stone".

So what's going on ? It looks like more muddle, just to keep the pot boiling. Or is the aim perhaps to get a licence from the planners quickly under current easier rules and then sit on it or sell it - maybe to their Chinese business partners ?

Whatever the case may be, it looks like more of the smoke and mirrors so beloved of politicians and top people. Especially since Minister & MP Therese Coffey at the same coastal meeting said there was no need to rush Sizewell C. For us lesser mortals, that is, the long suffering Suffolk public and voters and campaigners, EDF's Sizewell C project is looking less like an "Energy Gateway" and more like a cul-de-sac.

Not good for Suffolk, surely. Why doesn't EDF come clean, and "fess up" that it is not a sustainable or necessary or a Suffolk-suitable project. EDF could get socially responsible and do what it is being told to do in France: that is, follow other advanced nations, and get into renewables in a big way. EDF are doing this in Scotland already - so why not cancel Sizewell C, and get involved in renewable technologies ?

Regan Scott

Great Bealings


Government seems to be determined to pursue a nuclear power policy which will leave future generations with a nuclear waste radiation legacy at least ten times greater than that we have inherited from the current Magnox, AGR and PWR programmes, the waste from which we still have no agreed long term management solution.  In justifying the new build programme, government is required to brush aside the nuclear waste conundrum with the assurance that ‘arrangements for its management are in place’, a statement which is irresponsible and untrue.

What should we think of a government which has such disregard for its people as to press ahead with a programme of work when the poisonous, radioactive and lethal waste that programme will generate has no acceptable long term means of being dealt with? Government plans have already lead to the devastation of large areas of forest and infringement on protected areas.  They will adversely alter the character of the areas in which the stations intend to be sited; they will threaten tens of thousands of people with the loss of their livelihoods and even of their lives in the event of a Fukushima-scale accident or deliberate terrorist attack which releases only a fraction of the radioactivity in the containment vessel or in a waste store.

Over the construction period of Sizewell C alone, it is estimated that there will be between 300 and 600 heavy goods vehicle journeys to and from the site along narrow country lanes and through sleepy Suffolk villages every day over the course of years.  Road widening, park-and-ride areas, worker campuses and wholesale clearances of vegetation will fundamentally alter the character of the areas blighted by these proposed developments. The routine operation of a nuclear plant is giving greater cause for alarm as evidence grows over the effects of low level radiation exposure, especially in the case of children and the very young who are known to be far more radio-sensitive than adults. While the government trumpets its new-found green credentials by finally accepting an EU directive for deposits on plastic bags, the nuclear waste stockpile grows and gives the lie to nuclear as being ‘clean’ and the government as being ‘green’. 

The tragedy is that nuclear is not an imperative, but a choice:  that has been shown time and time again by work undertaken by anti-nuclear NGOs and university departments, think tanks and policy consultants.  We can meet all our future electricity demands, climate change and cost targets without resorting to over-priced, dangerous and transgenerationally iniquitous nuclear.  The reasons government chooses nuclear and why it rebuffs every challenge to its policy are unfathomable unless you believe that government has lost any sense of reason or if you believe it is so wedded to the idea of nuclear weapons that it feels obliged to retain and develop the nuclear skills base by committing this country to a future of white-elephant nuclear plants, mounting volumes of nuclear wastes with nowhere to go and hare-brained schemes for a small modular reactor on every housing estate in the country.  We must forego the inexorable slide towards a plutonium economy and the dangerous future it will inevitably herald.  The voices of the government’s critics must be heeded.                 

Pete Wilkinson

Chairman, Together Against Sizewell ‘C’

Dear Sir,

When are EDF going to admit that the Sizewell C project, involving the potential construction of one or two enormous reactors on our Heritage Coast and in the Suffolk Coast and Heaths Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty is never going to happen? Since 2009 we have been threatened with this project on the back of a government programme to deploy 16 GigaWatt of power by nuclear means by 2025. Essential we were told to keep the lights on and keep to climate change targets. It is now admitted that Hinkley Point C will not be operational until 2027 even if the reactor component forging can be approved by our nuclear regulators. A project at Moorside (Sellafield) for three reactors is now admitted could not happen until 2027, there are problems with the near insolvency of the Westinghouse company. Government Ministers now admit that the Hinkley Point C contact at £92.50 per megawatt hour, is simply too expensive, will not be replicated and potentially leaves taxpayers with a £50billion bill should the price of wholesale price of electricity remain low. So where does that leave Sizewell C? Are we to go through a wholly unnecessary planning process for SZC for those EPR reactors simply to allow the Chinese CGN backed development at Bradwell in Essex to go forward for their own design of reactor, despite the Chinese apparently refusing to supply all information to our regulators?

We have a clamour, from certain unions, for government to back new nuclear because of jobs, but why would anyone want to back projects so risky and potentially unaffordable? There will be many nuclear jobs in decommissioning and waste management over a long period. The way Sizewell A workforce rundown has been managed should be an example of how this can be done, with as few redundancies as possible. Many skills are transferable to renewables in any case. Unions should be calling for a properly funded training scheme for jobs in all of the energy sector and specific training in smart technologies and electric vehicles.

Yours sincerely,

Mike Taylor