Dear Sir:
 

You report in todays edition that EDF's Stephen Walls is 'hopeful of progress' regarding the building of Sizewell C & D (let's not forget that two reactors are  planned). Well, he would say that wouldn't he? By now, we must all be well used to the company's spokespersons turning up at venues from street corner to county show to proclaim the usual corporate P.R. spin. It is interesting to note that when Mr Walls talks of developments at Hinckley Point on which Sizewell C depends, he forbears to tell us that potential costs of that project have escalated from £16 billion to £24 billion. Meanwhile, EDF's on-going nuclear power station build in Normandy, France is now more than twice over budget and several years off schedule. As the cost of building these massive power stations continues to spiral, renewables are becoming cheaper and more efficient while smaller, less costly molten salt reactors offer a more realistic nuclear alternative.  You quote Mr Walls as saying he wants to 'make sure we do our best by the local community, the environments and wider area'. The way to do that, I suggest, is to accept that this last-century technology with its campsites of thousands of workers,  traffic disruption, environmental impairment and massive industrialisation is a concept that has long run out of energy.

 

The numerous delays in the dates for consultation and construction of Sizewell C & D must be good news for many so called ‘interested parties’ ( EADT 5 Feb,11,19 and 20 March). It opens up the opportunity for a really thorough and well-informed debate which is certainly not evident so far. 

The reported community consensus about building two major roads -one the four parishes A12 bypass, the other the resurrected Layfield D2  new road from the A12 - will take a fair amount of time with land purchase and the now widely adopted ‘Grampian’ principle that any associated works for a big development need to be in  place before the development starts. 

The numerous organisations supposed to be representing the environment and wildlife should welcome the extra time to reconsider their apparent support for EdF. This has not being going down well with their members from what one hears. They seem to have got in bed rather too quickly instead of sticking to their primary responsibilities to wildlife and protected nature habitats. 

The tourist industry, which the recently  reported Suffolk conference says needs to up its act might now find time to consider the impact of two new huge reactors, and a big waste store and coastal bridge on their future customers too, not forgetting the traffic and blight of a vast construction site for maybe 10 or more years.

Councillors above all should welcome the delays, and if they are really following events rather than being led by the nose - should know that the delays could be even longer. This is because of unsettled business at Hinkley, and the likelihood that Sizewell would not ‘enjoy’ a special strike price subsidy. Hinkley claims to have a so-called green light, but there is still no money, negotiations drag on, and the green light is truly only half an amber, with lengthy legal appeals in Europe only just getting going. 

The majority of councillors who seem to have been kept in the dark by the Joint Local Authority Group, who do all the talks with EdF, should be able to start asserting their rights and doing their duty, demanding to know what is going on in their name.

And then after the general election, a new government will have to realise that if the lights are going to go out, it will be years before any new nuclear power could even dream of being up and running. And the little publicised operating life extensions for existing nuclear plants present problems too: recent micro cracks in steel containment vessels in Sizewell B type reactors in Belgium means that this is not a reliable project either.

Add to all this the severe financial problems of EdF and French reactor builder Areva back home in France, and the fact that Sizewell would be a very much more expensive operation. Hinkley has cost over £100 million in so called ‘mitigations’, although the Government banned a property blight offer to ‘refurbish’ affected private homes, knocking a bit off the bill. Sizewell with so much nature and protected wildlife and such huge road and traffic problems would cost a whole lot more, and we now know it has not been allowed for in the Chancellor’s five year austerity forecast.

 Next comes our government’s launch of a new financial model with a 'golden share'. This poses new competition and investment problems and is meant to mollify public concern about foreign (Chinese and Middle Eastern?) ownership of British nuclear plants. After all, EdF could sell it all off.  What a load of extra headaches coming down the policy pipelines ! 

So it’s a chance for a real debate, and one stresses ‘real’:  key facts have to be on the table. One still to be properly understood is that Suffolk does not have to have these reactors. There are eight chosen sites for seven new nuclear projects. That’s in the national planning law. Secondly, and to be argued out, there are energy alternatives which will be more flexible, quicker to build, cheaper long-run, safer (of course) and better for the environment and nature. Protecting nature (that’s landscape and tourism jobs and property as well as birds and creatures and their habitats) is a legal duty, not an obstacle to be overcome. These laws require full alternatives to be explored. 

EdF are supposed to be considering alternatives energy sources too: how about a big solar park on the estate in place of dangerous new reactors ? Or a wind farm …….

Regan Scott

The government’s back-down on key aspects of fracking because of campaigning in distant Lancashire may turn out to be very close indeed to the big issue in Suffolk and Sizewell.

Crucial is a new all-party consensus to change the fracking bill to ban all and any fracking in National Parks, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and Sites of Special Scientific Interest. Suffolk Coastal, up, down and around Sizewell nuclear power ‘park’ is all AONB (now the same planning status as National Parks) and SSSIs, let alone European and international protected sites.

The environmental reasons against fracking are above and below ground - lorries, big construction, land and water contamination, in effect industrialisation, and fear of big events - earthquakes and geology movement. What’s so different about the proposed Sizewell C & D? Same here about the big new nukes, except you can’t fill the holes in afterwards because they will have nuclear waste in them, the land above remains contaminated for decades, and the big ‘event’, a nuclear accident, if it happened, is at land level.

The political reasons are clear: people’s rights to quiet lives, enjoyment of their property (and its sale value) and maybe also insurance problems. And disruption of the special landscape, the tourist economy dependent on it and agriculture.

Quick lessons can be drawn: if you kick up enough fuss about real environmental problems, politicians do have to respond. Second, energy politicians, planners and investors do get things wrong and don’t do joined up thinking. What we have in Britain is an energy mess, not an energy strategy, and it’s a dangerous and environmentally damaging mess too.

Third lesson is not Lancashire but the London to North West HS2 railway. Quietly government has conceded compensation for noise - and maybe more - for folk living 100 meters away while the works are carried out. Not much, or anything like enough, you might think, but it’s early days here too. Nevertheless, the principle of compensation for construction blight has been established on a big national infrastructure. For Sizewell C & D, and the waste stores etc, it may be as much as 15 years on the designated lorry routes, and be assured, that awesome compensation potential should come to rest not on taxpayers or home energy bills but on the polluter, under European law.

So why do C&D when there are and will be perfectly workable and less expensive and damaging alternatives ?

Regan Scott

A Refreshing Political Sizewell C & D Reality check.

Dear Sir, How refreshing to read a letter from Rachel Smith-Lyte, parliamentary candidate for Suffolk Coastal Green Party, who said it all as it is, or would be if Sizewell C&D were allowed to proceed (EADT letter 14th. Oct. 2014). She has won me over!  Unlike the local MP who makes frequent statements to our the press simply following her party line, like most of her colleagues, not thinking about the subject at all and the consequences should this appalling proposal to build  Sizewell 'C&D' ( two reactors) on our fragile heritage coast go ahead. 

 Rachel Smith-Lyte pointed out very accurately many of the details of these resulting consequences. Barry Skelcher is another contributor to EADT and I know for a fact is a well qualified and knowledgeable authority on the subject of what would be a catastrophic disaster for this beautiful coast on which the Sizewell A&B already stand. Plus the newly installed on-site nuclear spent fuel store which will grow in size every year and be there for hundreds of years as Sellafield is full!

If plans proceeded we would be breaking the international RAMSAR agreement of which Britain was a major instigator and signatory. This was set up for the protection and preservation of sites such as Sizewell marshes, Sizewell belts, Kenton Hills, (SWLT), & Minsmere,(RSPB), National Trust sites and more. These are some of the existing established areas that would need to be 'trashed' in order for this scheme to proceed and it certainly would not be looked upon favourably by these conservation bodies or in fact, by the EU.

The recent agreement from Brussels, on the outrageous 'strike price' for 35 years for Hinkley Point, was a financial deal pursued by the British right wing Government to finance the project to be carried out by EDF, a publicly owned nationalised French company. However, each site, particularly conservation sites, will still need international consent. Would we simply tear up agreements that we have signed up to in order to proceed with the industrialisation of our heritage coast?

 Bob Hoggar & Audrey West

Sizewell 'B '& Spent fuel Depository is Enough!

Dear Sir,  My thanks are passed on to Mr Jim Crawford for his letter(EADT.15/12/14.in reply to my letter 11/12/14)  allowing all to continue this necessary debate.

He points out French owned EDF has invested £3.5 bill. across the UK over the past 3 years. Its reassuring to know, as nuclear industry is THEIR business. EDF, as I said, is owned mostly by the French Government and they are not running a nuclear charity for Britain.Investment, we are told, leads to profit.

 As was said in my letter, Sizewell 'B' is American designed and France has 50 of them, so they would know how to fix their product, along with some American input, which they did recently during the 'outage' seven week period. It was also reassuring to learn there were some local contracts awarded too. Also, thank you for pointing out that for the 500 workers employed at Sizewell, and likewise around Suffolk with tourism and heritage attractions, it can generate in the region of £40 mill. This supports the current situation that the heritage coast alone generates some £1.4 billion annually and the region as a whole some £8.billion, as was reported last summer.

Also, interestingly the workforce, we are told, all live within a 25 mile radius, avoiding longer journeys to Sizewell, their place of work. But isn't this a condition of employment there? due to the likelihood of an emergency necessitating a quick response. Regrettably for all that has happened over the years Leiston, in my view, does not seem to have benefitted from all of this wealth at all even being so close to the heritage coast and Sizewell itself.

 In the same EADT.(15th.Dec.) we had an article by David Green which covered the Suffolk Emergency planning officer, Mr A. Osman, having to respond to anti nuclear and Suffolk Stake Holder group concerns that the draft form of the Emergency Plan is misleading, inaccurate and inappropriate and was said to be worthless.( not my words).

When the CEGB. (Central Electricity Generating Board), owned and ran our energy requirements, we all new what each of us would pay, per unit. Since it was all rearranged, we seem to spend most of our spare time trying to arrange a tariff that won't offer the (mostly foreign owned) companiesmore profit  than they deserve and we all know how that's turned out.

This is why I concluded my letter, saying "Sizewell 'B' is here". Sizewell 'A' is now a spent fuel 'dump' for 'B'. When Sizewell B was given permission in 1986 local people were not told that its spent fuel would have to be kept on site. It was always understood that there would be an off site disposal facility. However, the spent fuel will now remain at Sizewell for many years into the future as Sellafield, we are given to understand, is full to bursting!

 Sizewell and Suffolk have given enough. Lets enjoy what's left of our fragile Heritage Coast for the nation and ourselves. Its precious! Lets not 'TRASH' it all with the two proposed monsters, their 5000 itinerant workers,  traffic chaos, footpath closures, beach exclusions for up to15 years and in the process wrecking the established natural environment, ANOB's, SSSI's and the like.

This is just political madness and why we have no faith in politicians.

Bob Hoggar, Halesworth IP19 8DN