Pete Wilkinson ~ Yorkshire Bylines 03.01.21
Campaign against Sizewell C nuclear power station in Suffolk gathers pace
The coast of East Suffolk is one of the most rapidly eroding sites in Western Europe and it is difficult to predict what will happen to it as climate change accelerates and sea level rises take place. These are among the various factors being considered in the future development of nuclear power at Sizewell.
Sizewell will become an island within a century according to the Environment Agency (EA). It already sports two nuclear plants – Sizewell A, an old half-decommissioned Magnox station dating back to 1966, and Sizewell B, the only pressurised water reactor in the country, which came on stream in 1995 and will generate electricity until 2035. Now the site has been earmarked for yet another plant, Sizewell C (SZC), a controversial French-designed reactor known as the European Pressurised Reactor (EPR).
SZC’s developers, the 83 percent French-government-owned company Electricité de France (EDF), have somehow convinced the UK government that Sizewell is a good potential site for its new and hugely powerful design. The EPR is seen by EDF and the French government as the saviour of the French electricity industry, which currently relies on nuclear power for 75 percent of its capacity, and which is anxious to sell its new design to the 30 other nations still using nuclear power. So far only three – China, Finland and the UK – have expressed interest.
In reality, the site is already too small, even if we take no account of the EA’s prediction for the future. It also sits within an area of outstanding natural beauty (AONB), which will be hugely compromised by any development. The only access to the site is via a road system that was built to carry summer tourist traffic, rather than the 1,000+ HGVs a day predicted to be required for building the massive twin-reactor EPR project.