County Councilors Vow To Fight Edf’s Plans For New Reactors At Sizewell

On Sunday 2nd February, at the Riverside Centre in Stratford St Andrew, TASC showed two films – one beautifully shot by Friends of the Earth Suffolk Coastal highlighting the fragile habitat that will be lost if Sizewell C is built, the other a French-made documentary ‘The French Nuclear Trap’ – to over 30 local councillors including three from Suffolk County Council.

The ‘The French Nuclear Trap’, made in 2018 by CPB Films, features current and former employees of Electricte de France (EdF), Sizewell C’s developer, and systematically and unflinchingly demonstrates that:

  • EdF management is riven with doubt and division about the ‘EPR’ project;

  • EdF is hopelessly bankrupt with liabilities from historical debt, decommissioning, refurbishment and maintenance costs for its domestic reactors running into hundreds of billions of Euros;

  • The European Pressurised Reactor (EPR) design is commercially unproven with some experts claiming that the design is too complicated to construct;

  • The Finance Director resigned after demonstrating that EdF could not afford to take on the Hinkley project;

  • The first ever EPR, being built in Olkiluoto, Finland, and the EdF flagship EPR currently under construction in Flamanville, France have both been beset by engineering problems, are 10 years late, still not operational and are at least three times over their original budgets;

  • The sale of the EPR design to the UK is essential to keep France’s domestic nuclear industry alive;

  • So desperate were EdF for funds, they have allowed China’s loss-leading investment into Hinkley C, enabling China to develop their own version of the EPR reactor thereby effectively killing off EdF’s chances of selling their reactors elsewhere in the world;

  • EdF has not built up a reserve of funds to cover the huge costs associated with a nuclear accident such as occurred in the Ukraine (Chernobyl) or Japan (Fukushima);

  • French safety agencies do not rule out a major nuclear accident in France; and since all the reactors currently operating in France are of the same design, an accident at one would require them all to be shut down, creating a critical energy crisis in France;

TASC was happy to host three representatives from Stop Hinkley all of whom are living through the construction of Hinkley C. They gave the audience an insight into what fate awaits East Suffolk should the plans for Sizewell be approved. They spoke of gridlocked streets in Bridgewater, of 24 hour a day light and noise pollution, a rise in prostitution, employers losing key members of staff, long-term tenants being kicked out of their homes to enable landlords to cash-in on the demand for accommodation from EdF’s workforce and a total change in the way of life for thousands around the Somerset coastal area. They also pointed to the predictions for far greater sea level rise than was taken into account when Hinkley C’s planning application was made and compared these dire warnings to the inadequate precautions which have been constructed in defence of the site.

The meeting was addressed by three supportive county councillors who promised to generate the sort of debate within the council which has hitherto been so sadly lacking. They felt that the film should be made available to all councillors. Moreover, they promised to demand that the council state its outright opposition to the EdF plans.

Pete Wilkinson, TASC’s Chairman, said today, ‘Despite the shamefully low turnout of county councillors and the virtual absence of East Suffolk Councillors, we are greatly indebted to the County Councillors for not only making the effort to attend but more importantly for having the courage and determination to take the fight to the council chamber and to state openly and without fear or favour their opposition to these plans.

TASC will work closely with these councillors and the immediate plans are to contact the Secretaries of the different political parties in the council to offer to show the film to their members.

The support from these Councillors is a potential game-changer and we applaud the commitment of all of those councillors who attended yesterday to understand the issues and to agree to take whatever action is available to them to tell people the truth about EdF and the monstrous plans the government has for this area.’

Download the report “Financing the Hinkley Point C project” by Steve Thomas here

17th January 2020

The recent report by Steve Thomas, Emeritus Professor of Energy Policy which questions the viability of completing the nuclear development at Hinkley Point in Somerset without public support through the regulated asset base ‘nuclear tax’ on consumers, demonstrates clearly that EdF is massively in debt and unable to proceed with its new nuclear build programme with credibility. Together Against Sizewell C (TASC) supports the call by opponents to Hinkley C to abandon the project before a financial mess descends into farce.

EdF is financially compromised. Its income is far outweighed by its liabilities. Delays and cost over-runs on the three EPRs in China, Finland and France, huge refurbishment cost commitments on its existing domestic nuclear fleet, spiralling decommissioning costs and over-runs on the Hinkley project have changed the healthy financial picture in 2013 into a financial quagmire for EdF. The company now has to throw itself on the mercy of the hard-pressed UK energy consumers for a bail-out under the ‘regulated asset base’ (RAB) nuclear tax system whereby a levy on electricity bills is proposed to bankroll the company’s new build aspirations. Government has yet to reveal the results of the consultation on RAB. In December, the then Sizewell C Project Development Director, Jim Crawford, admitted to a Suffolk Community Forum that “if the RAB model or something similar is proposed which will fall outside an acceptable price range for the government, then the project probably won’t go ahead. It’s as simple as that."

Pete Wilkinson, TASC Chairman, said today, ‘Recent calls by a raft of nuclear cheerleaders arguing for government to press the ‘go’ button on new build are signs of the level of desperation those waiting to capitalise on the destruction of sensitive areas of the environment for the short-term benefits of huge and damaging construction projects which are redundant to our electricity needs.

 

Update: As of 7th January, over £9,600 had been pledged towards our ultimate goal of £22,000.

This is a fantastic response, so thanks to all those who have donated, and please consider letting friends, family and colleagues know about the fund raiser to give them a chance to join the fight against Sizewell C
www.crowdjustice.com/case/save-coronation-wood/

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27 December 2019

TOGETHER AGAINST SIZEWELL C (TASC) COMMITTEE MEMBER SEEKS A JUDICIAL REVIEW OF EAST SUFFOLK COUNCIL’S PLANNING APPROVAL FOR EDF TO FELL CORONATION WOOD FOR SIZEWELL C PURPOSES

On 23rd December TASC member Joan Girling issued proceedings against East Suffolk Council’s decision granting planning permission to EDF for the development of a nuclear power site in Suffolk. This decision allows for the felling of Coronation Wood to accommodate the relocation of Sizewell B facilities. EDF have proposed moving a car park and visitors’ centre from Sizewell B land to EDF-owned Coronation Wood, which they say would create additional space for the Sizewell C development. This is at the cost of destroying the 100 year-old mature wood, which is a treasured landscape feature in the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and appreciated by residents and tourists alike.

TASC are fully supportive of this action as it is concerned that a large area of historic woodland, at present a visual landscape barrier to the light and noise from the existing nuclear complex, could needlessly be lost should future plans by EDF relating to the development of Sizewell C fall through. EDF must apply in the future for a Sizewell C Development Consent Order (DCO) and there is a risk that the Secretary of State will not grant Planning Consent. Equally, EDF may decide not to make such an application. The development of Sizewell B is thus ‘jumping the gun’ on an application process for Sizewell C that is yet to even begin.

We have set up a crowd funding page to provide funds to support Joan’s legal challenge against the Council, details of which can be accessed at:
https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/save-coronation-wood/

The wood, created to celebrate the coronation of George V, is home to many species of wildlife, including badgers, bats and many birds, both native and migratory. Organisations such as RSPB also have concerns that biodiversity surveys, undertaken of species using the wood, are out of date, incomplete or have not been carried out at all. TASC share Joan’s concerns that proper investigations have not been carried out into the potential scale of the environmental damage that could result from the loss of this wood, which is in a sensitive location bordered by a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).

TASC Chairman Pete Wilkinson said today, “Taking this action is right and we fully support it. East Suffolk Council has acted in an ill-considered, cavalier manner, without the necessary facts at their fingertips. The council ignored the 125 letters of objection to this application and have ridden roughshod over the needs and opinions of local people who appreciate the part the wood plays in the AONB and its role as a buffer to the nuclear complex and as a sanctuary for wildlife. Moreover, they have ignored the policy restrictions on the use of an AONB and failed to recognise the limitations of the IROPI initiative. Coronation Wood is an important part of the Leiston and Suffolk environment. If it is to be sacrificed for what we say is an unnecessary nuclear power station, it should at least be granted a proper, legal process. The relocation of Sizewell B facilities to accommodate a future Sizewell C development should form part of the development consent order for the new plant, not as a separate and apparently unconnected issue under the banner of Sizewell B. TASC will do everything in our power to stop Sizewell C.

We have set up a crowd funding page to provide funds to support Joan’s legal challenge against the Council, details of which can be accessed at https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/save-coronation-wood/

Rosa Curling, solicitor at law firm Leigh Day, who represents Joan Girling said: “Wild and green spaces are of importance in the current climate catastrophe and the retention of established woodland must be a priority. The National Planning Policy Framework clearly recognises the importance of our natural spaces, requiring local authorities to refuse any major development in our Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty other than in exceptional circumstances. Our client believes the exceptional circumstances have not been met in this case.”

The legal team acting in this matter are Rosa Curling and Erin Alcock of Leigh Day, David Wolfe QC of Matrix Chambers and Ashley Bowes of Cornerstone Barristers.

For further information:

Pete Wilkinson, TASC Chairman - 07940 524831

Joan Girling, TASC Secretary - 01728 830965

Chris Wilson, TASC Press & Legal Liaison – 07976 820524

Notes for Editors:

Coronation Wood lies in the Suffolk Coast and Heaths Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The planning permission sought by EDF was granted by East Suffolk Council (ESC) on the 9th September. The application also allowed for a large area of acidic grassland known as Pillbox Field to be used for a 576 space car park for use by outage workers.

ESC received 125 letters of objections and concern demanding that the application should be refused as EDF has not yet applied for Planning Consent for SZC and neither have they applied for any licences which may be needed.

ESC has signed up to the declaration of Climate Emergency. It is therefore illogical for it now to grant planning permission to remove a 100 year old wood on the assumption that because it is old and mismanaged by the owners, it should be felled, disregarding all the wildlife and ecological attributes it has in the AONB and for which all Owners, Councils and Councillors have a Duty of Regard.

TASC also submits the massive buildings which would replace this sensitive area are not needed for the safe running of SZB or SZC if it is ever built. This pre-emptive Planning Application under the Town and Country Planning Act and ESC’s decision to agree to its Planning Permission is wrong and piecemeal, and should only be considered when EDF submit their DCO application for SZC to the Planning Inspectorate and subsequently to the Secretary of State.

END

 

Members and Supporters
Best Wishes and Seasons Greetings
and 
Wishing you all a Happy and Peaceful 2020
 
Next Committee meeting is on 6th Jan 2020 at 7-00pm at Leiston Community Centre
 
Thank you for all the support over the past year.
 
Joan Girling on behalf of TASC Committee.

2nd October 2019

TASC’S CONCERNS ABOUT THE COMPETENCE AND SUITABILITY OF EDF TO BUILD SIZEWELL C CLEARLY DEMONSTRATED DURING SCREENING OF “THE FRENCH NUCLEAR TRAP”

Together Against Sizewell C’S (TASC) grave concerns about the financial stability of EDF and the safety of their nuclear reactors, are clearly demonstrated in Patrick Benquet’s film “The French Nuclear Trap” which TASC screened at Leiston Film Theatre at the weekend to an audience of 140 local residents.

TASC’s concerns continue to increase as last month it was announced that more welding problems had been identified in EDF’s nuclear reactor components and last week EDF disclosed that the budget for their EPR nuclear reactors at Hinkley Point C has been increased by a further £3billion to £22.5billion and there are likely to be further time delays of fifteen months. EDF recently suggested that, under a scheme called Regulated Asset Base or RAB, all UK billpayers should pay £6 per year from start of the 10/12 year construction of Sizewell C and indefinitely thereafter and that UK taxpayers would share in the risk of cost overruns and time delays. TASC see this as an expensive subsidy of French government-owned EDF who will take all the profit and will also result in an unacceptable transfer of very real, potentially substantial and unquantifiable risk to tax payers. This reinforces why all our decision-makers need to see this film.

TASC thank everyone who attended the screening, particularly the three district councillors and two from Leiston Town Council (representing Labour, Green and an Independent). Despite all Suffolk County Councillors, East Suffolk Councillors and Parish Councils having been invited to see the film, TASC were disappointed that there were no elected representatives from the ruling Tory party. The resounding message TASC received from those attending, including Councillors present, was that this film must be viewed by as many as possible, especially Suffolk’s elected representatives and the media. We are sending out repeat invites to Suffolk County Council via leader Matthew Hicks and Sizewell representative Richard Smith, East Suffolk Council via leader Steve Gallant and Sizewell representative Craig Rivett as well as MP Therese Coffey offering to show this film again at a time and venue convenient to them. We will keep the public updated with their responses.

TASC would also like to thank our guest speaker Peter Banks who was representing campaign group Blackwater Against New Nuclear Group who commented on the RAB funding proposal, ‘‘Why should UK residents and businesses fund this “Ridiculous Atomic Bailout?”

Pete Wilkinson, TASC’s Chairman, said today, ‘It is now beyond credible that EDF can be given the responsibility to build EPRs in the UK. EDF appear financially incompetent and the entire EPR programme – and hence the government’s nuclear energy component of its so-called energy policy – is in tatters. They face unresolved waste management problems, growing concerns about the health effect of routine radioactive waste discharges and mounting opposition in the east Suffolk area which faces devastation should Sizewell C be given approval. Time to dump nuclear and EDF along with it.’

Further information can be found on our website www.tasizewellc.org.uk or on twitter @SayNo2SizewellC