Where will 2,000,000 litres of water a day to cool Sizewell C reactor come from?

Campaigners have voiced concerns over where up to two million litres of drinking quality water will come from every day to cool the reactors of the new Sizewell C nuclear power station if it is built.

Together Against Sizewell C (TASC) says that Suffolk is one of the driest places in the UK and is worried about the £14billion project’s impact on and security of local mains water supplies.

EDF Energy says investigations are under way to see how water demand can be managed.

TASC has been left frustrated because full details of where the water will come from have yet to be provided and claims its questions have been “ignored, skipped over or evaded”.

A spokesman said:

“We know that East Anglia is the most arid region in the UK, our water resources are already over stretched and there is little prospect of finding new sources of water, a reality acknowledged by Essex and Suffolk Water in their 2019 Draft Water Resource management plan.

“This was echoed by the Environment Agency: ‘The confined chalk groundwater in the East Suffolk area is fully committed and no further consumptive abstraction can be considered.’

“We also know that climate change will bring more droughts and floods as weather patterns become increasingly chaotic. England, Scotland and Wales are projected to be in deficit by 1.4 billion to 5 billion litres of water per day by 2080.

“If Sizewell C is built, the water supply for it will have to be consistent. The water will be needed to replenish the cooling pond and cool parts of the reactor. Obviously, keeping these processes operating safely is vital, and the supply cannot be cut even in times of drought. So when there is not enough water for farmers, households and industry, the power station will still have to be supplied every day, week in, week out, for decades into the future.”

EDF Energy, Essex and Suffolk Water and the Environment Agency are engaged in “constructive discussions” regarding the construction and operation of Sizewell C.

An EDF spokesman said:

“We recognise the issue of water supply is an important one for the local area.

“We are investigating how peak and seasonal water demand may be balanced to ensure there is no detriment to surface water flows, so as to ensure that Water Framework Directive compliance assessment criteria can be complied with, and that no ecological detriment will occur as a result of the project.

“The identification and development of potential measures – which may be used to both reduce and balance demand – is therefore being developed collaboratively with the right stakeholders, at the right time, to make sure our DCO submission is robust.”

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