EdF has announced that a further ‘consultation’ will take place, commencing later this month, into its plans to saddle this county with a massive white elephant in the shape of Sizewell C (and D, as there are plans for two reactors at the site). While the holding of ‘consultations’ allows the industry to tick a box or two, it does nothing to address the fact that at no point since Blair announced in 2005 that ‘nuclear power is back on the agenda with a vengeance’, have the people of Suffolk had an opportunity to hear all the facts about and, more importantly, to express their view as to the need and desirability or otherwise of Sizewell C. The upcoming ‘consultation’ denies them that opportunity again. Where is the forum for people to say ‘no thanks’ to the entire project rather than to express a view as to how they would like the deckchairs arranged on the deck of a sinking ship and have their views listened to? There isn’t one and there never has been one. Therefore the stage two consultation is illegitimate as it still does not offer the opportunity for both sides of the debate to be made available to the public in a clearly presented document nor to register a view for or against Sizewell C but assumes that it is an inevitability, a foregone conclusion, slavishly supported by our local, regional and national representatives as well as the local wildlife NGOs, to their shame.

All of these agencies are in thrall to the nuclear industry and are chronically ill-informed of the consequences of allowing SZC to go ahead.They refuse to speak out against it and appear to be prepared to sacrifice the area for short-term jobs, patronage and ‘regeneration’. Their view, as summed up by the Suffolk Chamber of Commerce, is let’s have jobs and growth today and not worry about the waste with nowhere to go and which will remain deadly for centuries, the health consequences which are still being debated in terms of leukaemia in children, the environmental disruption, the infringement on the area of outstanding natural beauty, the inadequacy of the emergency evacuation plan in the event of an accident or terrorist attack and nor the fact that the plant’s electricity is likely to be surplus to requirements by the time it is built. The Sizewell C enterprise is costly, environmentally disastrous, unsafe and leaves Suffolk residents more vulnerable to terrorism.

If the people of Suffolk want to see the character of their county changed forever by new road schemes, park-and-rides, compulsory purchases, massive increases in heavy goods traffic, new pylons which will whisk the electricity down to London while we bear the risks, with lethally hot and radioactive waste stored on an eroding coast for centuries, then they should tick the box and await the mayhem which will arrive with the thousands of workers from outside the area.If they value their county and the tranquillity of a rural environment as it has remained for so long, then they will tell the government and nuclear industry to get lost.

Pete Wilkinson

Theresa May does well to look at the fine print on Hinkley C. Thousands of pages, apparently, some of it secret UK -France agreements. One known clause of concern will be the termination date for the whole project: if it is not up and running by 2032 that's it. Big white elephant in Somerset.

The other fine print isn't there, if experts - and common sense - are right: the UK has no compensation clauses, while the Chinese have cost and completion date penalty clauses. Instead we've had to pay for the insurance for everyone else - hence Mr Osborne's £2bn.

Mrs May has plenty of time too, more than likely  as much as 3 years, not "early Autumn". Even with the "final investment decision" just made in Paris, EDF had already announced a start up date three years further on, sometime in 2019. That gives only 13 years to be up and running.....EDF have not yet achieved that anywhere.

In any case, there is a whole lot still to happen in these three years. Money is the heart of the matter. Anyone familiar with EDF finances knows that this year's annual report for the UK operations - due April/May next year - and covering Sizewell B - will be interesting: is even this station now running profitably with low overall energy prices ? EDF may have got 3bn euros from the French government, but they still need to sell off world assets worth twice that to provide the cash to build at Hinkley.

And remember, the Finnish Government are stil in court over their unfinished EPR, seeking compensation for delays.

Then there are major Hinkley design changes to reduce costs. The build cost has recently been reduced from £24 bn (which justified the high strike price) to £16bn plus a bit for inflation, now £18bn. Design changes are likely to reduce safety devices etc. This will all take time too.

Has Brexit changed anything:? Yes, it allows the UK government to directy subsidize all nuclear plants,not just inkley as a special case. The other two nuclear companies on Anglesey  and at Sellafieldhave said they need outside investors and will want their "fair share" of the subsidy price. Maybe even Mrs May can't afford that. Certainly as taxpayers we can't - and shouldn't - either.

And here ? Suffolk businessmen and politicians boasting about £100 million a year etc from Sizewell C (&D) need to get real: their nuclear pipe dreams are blighting Suffolk, not developing it. Whatever happened to cost-benefit analysis? New Sizewell is not community cost free. EDF locally said three years ago they didn't have money for new roads and "mitigations" and compensation. Surely that's even more true today than then. What a sorry mess.

Over to you Mrs May. Take as much time as you need !

Regan Scott

Energy Secretary Amber Rudd (letter, April 21, ‘Minister: Hinkley no risk to power supply’) clearly has the gift of clairvoyance.  She says that no liabilities would fall to the UK tax payer or consumer should Hinkley Point C be cancelled.  Notwithstanding the subsidies from the public purse already handed over to the nuclear industry in the last ten years in the form of ministerial support, conferences, promotional events, paying expensive consultancies and general palm greasing, who, pray, would foot the bill to complete the Hinkley project should EdF withdraw after a few years of construction when cost and time over-runs became apparent as they have with other projects in France and Finland?  And assuming the plant ever began generating its costly electricity, who would be responsible for the waste management costs, the size of which can only be estimated since the location, depth, technical details about cladding, inventory or even if there will ever be a repository remain stubbornly vague and could yet result in indefinite storage on site?  Spent nuclear fuel from a notional Hinkley C or Sizewell C will be on their respective sites for an estimated160 years, assuming Amber Rudd’s clairvoyant prediction of a 60 year operating lifetime for Hinkley doesn’t suffer from terminal technical problems.  Who take title to hundreds of tonnes of spent nuclear fuel if, as is likely, within that period of time, EdF disappears and the repository proves to be impossible to construct or is shown to be fraught with too many technical and scientific problems?  As usual, the public purse would be required to bail out a private venture. Amber Rudd’s claim of ‘no liabilities’ is as irresponsible as a short term response to legitimate concerns as government’s energy policy will prove to be in the long term.  Better to cancel Hinkley, Sizewell and all the other nuclear plans now while some semblance of energy policy credibility remains than to see it unravel in the most embarrassing way over the coming decades leaving communities like ours to carry the can for official incompetence and governmental obsession with a nuclear fix. 

Pete Wilkinson


Together Against Sizewell C

An important dimension is missing in your update on EDF’s Hinkley Point project. It’s a question of what the latest £18 bn project figure from EDF actually means in relation to the other still much quoted figure of £24.5 bn.

This much higher figure originally came from the Brussels Competition Commission in 2013 and has to be assumed to be an overall project cost. The lower figure has to be assumed to be the accepted build cost for two reactors at £8bn each uprated by £2bn for inflation by EDF CEO J-B Levy in October last year. Mr Osborne’s £2bn support, whatever it is actually for, would seem to slot into the gap between the build figure and the overall project figure, while Energy Minister Rudd’s letter to Parliament citing a £2bn to £19bn risk to the public purse seems to make sense of the project cost being considerably higher than the build cost. It preceded the EDF £18bn figure.

The much higher Brussels’ Commission figure, presumably also in need of uprating for inflation, must have helped initially with justifying the high strike price of £92.50 pmwh. If the lower build cost had been used, this price would have seemed even more generous - or scandalous - than it is.

The difference matters crucially. If the higher figure is a real project cost, it leaves EDF and China’s CGN still short of several £billion, since their public figuring is associated with the new £18bn figure. Mr Osborne’s £2bn won’t bridge that gap. If, on the other hand, the Brussels figure was a sleight of hand, it will hopefully be picked up the European Court of Justice when they examine the challenge from the Austrian government.

A key question is what exactly the strike price aid is for. Maybe even the Commission could come back if EDF have changed any of the project financing terms which were agreed in April last year. If the cost is now only £18bn, there’s a good argument for that.

Critics of the whole project- and I’m one - might quite reasonably think the difference is just an allowance to reflect the utterly predictable cost overrun for EDF’s EPR reactors. Or maybe that’s just an extra problem to add to all the others.

Regan Scott
Great Bealings, Suffolk

Dear Sir,

I was trying to ignore the reply from Mike Fowle, Feb 6th EADT, to the letter from Pete Wilkinson on Feb 1st. As was stated, Pete Wilkinson was indeed a co-founder of Greenpeace UK.

Like everything Pete has done in the past, often at a high risk, alongside his fearless colleagues when attempting and succeeding in changing international law.
To name some of their successful actions makes me feel very grateful and humble.

They stopped the packaged radioactive waste dumping in the Atlantic by the UK, Netherlands and Belgium, ended fur farming in the UK, stopped the practice of forcing dolphins and killer whales performing in 'dolphinaria' in the UK, saved 7800 seals from being shot in Orkney and stopped the harp seal cull of 250,000 pups in Newfoundland.

They reduced by an order of magnitude liquid radioactive waste discharges from the then Windscale (now Sellafield) into the Irish Sea and stopped the French atmospherically testing nuclear weapons in the south Pacific. Included was the tragic loss of life of a brave photographer colleague when Greenpeace Rainbow Warrior was sabotaged and sunk by the French military.

They forced a commercial whaling ban through the International Whaling Commission and stopped any mining activity in the Antarctic until 2041.

As Mr Fowle said, Greenpeace grew over time and like Dr Moore, Pete Wilkinson left the organisation to concentrate on other campaigns. Fortunately for us some of these are local issues.

We would be well advised to listen to what Pete Wilkinson has said in his recent letter. Mr Fowle says he is scare-mongering. Pete Wilkinson is not in the business of scare-mongering.

This very day on BBC Breakfast it was reported that emergency services for London have been planning for a year, and today are carrying out, an UNFORESEEABLE ACCIDENT scenario exercise. This is to find out if their emergency planning procedures work and how the emergency services would cope in the case of a real situation. If it is necessary in London it is certainly necessary for Sizewell and the surrounding area.

This is simply what Pete Wilkinson is asking for under REPPIR -- Radiation (Emergency Preparedness and Public Information) Regulations published by the Health and Safety Executive.
He said that Management at Sizewell has based the emergency plan on the likelihood of "reasonably foreseeable accidents". Pete then listed numerous accidents which were "unforeseeable". Here in the UK, USA, Russia, Japan and elsewhere with immense long term consequences.The cold war M. Fowle mentioned was a man made situation of deliberate confrontation, fortunately defused for all of our benefits. Nuclear power station risks are unforeseeable and the constantly increasing local population should therefore be informed and prepared.

Bob Hoggar