Dear Sir/Madam,

Could escalating costs and renewables mean ‘game over’ for nuclear power and Sizewell C? EADT 4th January

What a lot of nonsense EdF uses in its increasingly desperate attempt to justify the building of their second white elephant in the UK (Could escalating costs and renewables mean ‘game over’ for nuclear power and Sizewell C? EADT 4th January). Dr Dorfman’s arguments that escalating costs and the competitiveness of renewables will see off nuclear power are entirely sound and should – in a rational world - see EdF pack its bags and leave us in peace. But we live in an Orwellian time where common sense is swept aside by half-truths and distortions and where a loose relationship with reality from those in positions of power and influence has become acceptable, such as the recent ludicrous claim by MP Therese Coffey – a former Environment minister no less – that nuclear power is carbon free or the claim made by regulators who should and in fact do know better that exposure to routine levels of radiation are harmless.

The raw fuel which drives renewables arrives at the turbine blade in the form of wind or the solar panel in the form of sunlight or the barrage in the form of tidal rise and fall free of charge. Nuclear power depends on uranium as its fuel. This has to be mined, processed, enriched and fabricated into fuel rods. It is a finite resource which will be exhausted sometime in the future, sooner than we may think. A huge reactor building has to be built. Environments have to be trashed, roads built, thousands of transitory workers accommodated. Rural areas turned into blighted urban environments. Houses knocked down or compulsorily purchased. Lives wrecked. These are the only things that remain constant between Hinkley and Sizewell and from which we should learn.

Once irradiated in a reactor, uranium is transformed into 200 daughter by-products, some of which are not only lethal to living organisms but which remain so for tens of thousands of years. Despite EdF’s repeated trotting out of another half-truth – that the waste problem ‘has been solved’ – there remains a huge legacy of waste from existing reactors and nuclear reprocessing estimated to be around 500,000 cubic metres in volume. New wastes such as that from Hinkley or a notional Sizewell C will be of ‘higher burn up’, left in the reactor for longer, leaving the fuel much hotter and more radioactive than even the lethal PWR spent fuel now stored at Sizewell from the ‘B’ plant and leaving this community to involuntarily bear the burden of a de facto high level waste store for decades, centuries or indefinitely.

The availability of high grade, relatively cheap uranium was one of the conditions which lead Tony Blair to claim, in 2005, that new nuclear should come back on the agenda ‘with a vengeance’. He argued that nuclear generated electricity would increase security of supply. How wrong he was. Uranium does not exist in the UK in mineable concentrations. About half of world production comes from just ten mines in six countries, in Canada, Australia, Niger, Kazakhstan, Russia and Namibia so high grade supplies into the future are far from guaranteed. But the huge unknown is disposal costs. Despite 15 years of effort and the spending of billions of tax payers’ money, we are no nearer a universally agreed means of managing spent nuclear fuel and other nuclear wastes than we were in 2005 – and no nearer understanding how much it will cost and who will pay.

EdF’s claim that by following the Hinkley model, Sizewell costs will be reduced is fatuous. What lessons have been learned from the Flammanville experience to make the construction of Hinkley cheaper? If each subsequent new build of the same design reduce costs so much, why is Hinkley over budget and overdue? It is axiomatic that Sizewell would be – if ever built, which is looking less likely by the day – likewise over budget and overdue. If the company can reduce costs so easily, why do they argue that Sizewell C cannot be built without transferring the costs to the public purse through the Regulated Asset Base process which is euphemism for robbing the public through their electricity bills? What happened to a subsidy-free industry? The two sites are not comparable and the chances of building a replica are remote within the constraints of the Sizewell site. Components fail, regardless of prior experience, policies are reviewed, supply chains change, the availability of resources fluctuate and as our knowledge about the health impacts of ingesting or inhaling uranium particulates increases, the true cost of nuclear will be revealed. We must embrace a renewables future based on energy efficiency, decentralisation and conservation, scrap the fixation with ‘baseload’ for the outdated target it is and massively invest UK tax revenues in a reinvigorated domestic renewables industry rather than lining the pockets of foreign companies.


Pete Wilkinson

Chair, Together Against Sizewell C

Dear Sir,

Thankyou for allowing me to put an alternative view to the EDF Sizewell proposals (EADT 14th Oct.) from that of the EDF SZB Chief Executive.
The trouble with us here in Britain is we don't even make our own wind turbines, we rely on others. We are now assembling them but the motors and all the tricky bits are made elsewhere. Foreign imports again. Just as is the case with EDF and partners CGN (Chinese General Nuclear) who are desparately trying to pursuade us Britains to fund SZC&D as EDF has no funds of its own.

There is constant promotion for SZC&D from Simone Rossi, Chief UK Executive, Jim Crawford, Chief Executive, EDF SZC&D, and of late Paul Morton, Chief Executive SZB, stating how important nuclear is and frequently making fabricated statements in the EADT whilst promoting SZC&D. They know this story is so necessary as they are employed by a company that is bankrupt to the French government by some 37billion Euros.

Also, at least eight of the older French nuclear power stations in France need removing at a cost between 50 and 100 billion Euros. EDF Chief Executive, Jean Bernard Levy, has been told in no uncertain terms by President Emanual Macron to stop spending funds they do not have. I was in France recently and the French are furious with the way they are expected to continually fund EDF and their EPR (European Pressure Reactor). This so called 'Flagship' project at Flamanville, north west France, commenced in 2007 and still not completed. Also billions of Euros over budget and years over contract time and not expected to be commisioned until 2023, we are now told, if ever. No wonder the 'Flagship' project is not mentioned at all by our local EDF executives?

The USA has always said the EPR concept will not work. I havn't even mentioned the other failure, Olkiluoto in Finland. EDF has no alternative other than to try and convince us here in Britain to introduce what is known as RAB (Regulated Asset Base) where we are invited to fund their project and invest our pension funds into SZC&D! and I might say our local MP Therese Coffey, and now worse, she, our Works and Pensions Minister, is known to be all for RAB! Scary stuff.

Japan's Hitachi, has recently pulled out of the Wilfa site on Anglesea,Horizon Oldbury and Toshiba have pulled out at the Moorside site Sellafield, after having recently lost billions of dollars in failed USA projects. We are also being requested to pay an annual tax onto each household electricity account to assist funding SZC&D. CGN (China) on the other hand, the smaller EDF partner, is not short of funds and is keen to pursue two of its own nuclear power plants, the HPR 1000 models at Bradwell in Essex.

Allow that to happen and we are all done for. They already own, The National Grid, (both Gas and Electric,) Felixstowe and Harwich Docks, London Thames Port, Mobile phone Companies, UK power Network the list goes on and on. We should try and keep nuclear away from their total grasp at all costs!

Bob Hoggar, Halesworth.

We must stop the building of nuclear power stations at Sizewell.
Whatever arguments are used for this form of power generation it has been shown to be economically and environmentally unsustainable.
Of even greater significance the Sizewell location is wrong.
The Suffolk coastline can be likened to the North Danish Coast. It is eroding and subsiding.
The Rubjerg Knude Lighthouse in Northern Denmark  has been moved seventy metres inland. This will delay the loss of this lighthouse into the sea for only twenty years.
We are about to agree to the building of a nuclear power station and a nuclear waste storage dump on the beach of a similar coastline at Sizewell.
One does not have to be a nuclear scientist in order to recognise the inevitable consequences.
It is an act of lunacy.
We do not require nuclear power, nor do we need to fill our North Sea with nuclear waste, in order to achieve the elimination of carbon pollution.
A European grid, linking photo voltaic solar power generation from the Nations of Southern Europe, with wind, hydro and tidal power generation from the Nations of Northern Europe would provide safe and uninterrupted electricity for the whole of Europe many times above current needs.
This should be our response to the climate emergency. A unified European response to the clear and present dangers we are facing.
martin deighton