Stop Sizewell C
As the government begins talks with EDF about building a new nuclear
power station at the Sizewell C site, Together Against Sizewell C (TASC)
Chair Pete Wilkinson writes about why the project shouldn’t go ahead.
THE nuclear sword of Damocles has been hanging over the heritage coast on East Suffolk for more than a decade.
A Sizewell C to sit alongside the A and B plants has long been mooted but twice fought off. In 2008, it came back again when then Prime Minister Tony Blair announced his risible ‘nuclear renaissance’. TASC was established to fight alongside the Shut Down Sizewell Campaign and what eventually became the Stop Sizewell C group.
A ten year guerrilla campaign of petitions, reports, consultation responses and presentations to councillors culminated in the 10-point plan that was announced on November 18th and we all held our breath, expecting
Sizewell C to be named as the ‘large’ nuclear plant among the ‘small modular reactors’ to attract some sort of funding
arrangement to bail out the €41+bn-in-debt EDF, which has come cap in hand to the British public to finance its huge prototype nuclear experiment, originally and disingenuously touted as a ‘no subsidy’ venture.
Sizewell C was not named in the statement, but on December 14th, we awoke to newscasters telling us that ‘the PM has given the green light to Sizewell C’, not that he has the power to do so without ignoring the yearlong planning examination period which begins early in the New Year. The energy white paper was finally published with
promises of keeping nuclear in the future energy mix.
This depressing news followed the previous week in which campaigners in Suffolk witnessed the premature felling
of hundreds of Coronation Wood trees which they had successfully protected through the courts for the best part of a
year: EDF wants to build its car park now despite the planning permission decision on Sizewell C being at least 18 months away. Despite controversy over lack of the appropriate bat mitigation licence, despite police presence at
the site and despite Natural England’s confirmation that no bat protection licence had been issued, the contractors moved in to clear a bit of what government apparently believes is invaluable and diverse real estate, essential, it tells us, in the effort to realise the ‘green revolution.’ Building a largely untried nuclear power station on the Suffolk coast as the effects of climate change ravage its unstable and eroding cliffs; building a reactor referred to by its French designers as a ‘prototype’, its construction destined to devastate large tracts of the coasts and heaths areas of
outstanding natural beauty, is monstrous. Building a nuclear power plant anywhere as the demand for electricity falls in parallel to the cost of renewables while just as predictably, the cost of nuclear climbs says volumes
about the government’s priorities.
That is what it has come down to: nuclear is a busted flush but if it is to be kept alive, it will only be because of its
ability to help the continuation of the UK’s possession of illegal, unusable and immoral nuclear weapons, at the expense of community cohesion, environmental sustainability and the further sullying of the UK’s international reputation.