TOGETHER AGAINST SIZEWELL C
Dear Member of Parliament,
You are no doubt aware that on the 30th September 2020 EDF chair Jean-Bernard Levy was reported as “demanding clarity” from chancellor Rishi Sunak regarding Britain’s plans for funding EDF’s twin EPR nuclear reactors, Sizewell C (SZC). TASC (*) are concerned that a company 84% owned by the French government which repeatedly makes unsubstantiated claims about the benefits of building Sizewell C is having a negative impact on the forthcoming energy review by the UK government, especially when it is clear Sizewell C’s EPRs have more to do with saving France’s ailing nuclear power industry than it has to do with providing electricity for the UK. EDF, together with its Chinese partner CGN, have recently submitted the SZC Development Consent Order application to the planning inspectorate and openly acknowledge they do not have the finances available to fund the £20 billion they currently estimate it will cost to build. EDF are insisting that UK taxpayers and/or electricity consumers foot the bill, so this is a national issue not one just affecting Suffolk.
EDF’s financial difficulties and the poor performance of the EPR reactor programme were the subject of an extensive review by France’s supreme public spending watchdog, the Cours des Comptes, a subject covered by the French media outlet Montel, in which the following article of 12th October 2020 stated “The newbuild [EPR] plant is a “failure” with “huge” financial consequences and implications for the French nuclear industry and beyond” – see:
https://www.montelnews.com/en/story/more-pressure-for-french-epr/1156576 This leads to the obvious question: if the French themselves consider the type of EPR reactor planned for Sizewell to be a costly failure, why on earth is government considering allowing EDF to build them in the UK?
TASC is one of the many organisations concerned about EDF’s, and other self-interest groups’, intense lobbying at all levels of Government for EPRs at Sizewell. Greenpeace UK’s recent letter to Rishi Sunak sets out a number of reasons why this would be a disastrous move for the UK – see a copy at https://tasizewellc.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/Greenpeace-to-Sunak-Why-not-to-rush-a-decision-on-Sizewell18355.pdf in which part of their concluding remarks say “It is 12 years since there was a proper case made for new nuclear compared to the alternatives in delivering a reliable, affordable and efficient zero carbon power system. The case for new nuclear power was very poor well before the 2016 Hinkley decision was made, but it is now disintegrating by the week as cheaper renewables, more effective storage and better system management becomes available.”
Embarrassingly, the UK is known to be one of the most nature depleted countries in the world, so it was heartening to hear Boris Johnson say on 28th September 2020, when signing the Leaders Pledge for Nature at the United Nations, “We must act now, right now. We cannot afford to dither and delay because biodiversity loss is happening today, and it is happening at a frightening rate. Left unchecked, the consequences will be catastrophic for us all. Extinction is forever – so our action must be immediate.” This is particularly relevant to the Sizewell C site as it is in Suffolk Coast and Heaths Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty which will be bisected by the proposed new access road which will itself result in a causeway being constructed through a SSSI. The 12-year development will result in noise, dust, light and air pollution in a development site of over 900 acres in one of the most biodiverse areas in the country affecting many designated sites such as SPAs, SAC, Ramsar, AONB, SSSIs MCZ as well as the world-famous RSPB Minsmere reserve which borders the development site. Here is a link to the RSPB’s website setting out their view of the SZC proposals – https://www.rspb.org.uk/our-work/our-positions-and-casework/casework/cases/sizewell-c/ which includes the following : “We do not believe that Sizewell is a suitable position for a new nuclear power station. As highlighted in the Government’s National Policy Statement for Nuclear Power Generation (EN-6), Sizewell C could have detrimental impacts on internationally and nationally important landscapes, habitats and species of the Suffolk Coast and at RSPB Minsmere nature reserve.”
We hope you believe that nuclear power can and should be dropped from the UK’s energy mix, but even if you support nuclear power, the details above highlight why EDF’s EPR reactor and the Sizewell C site should both be excluded from UK energy policy when EN-1, EN-6 and the need for new nuclear, are debated in Parliament in the coming months. TASC hopes it can count on your help and support in stopping the Sizewell C white elephant.
Should you require any further information, please do not hesitate to contact TASC.
Pete Wilkinson, Chair of TASC 01728 660232 or 07940 524831
Meadow Cottage, Hubbard’s Hill, Peasenhall, Suffolk IP17 2JN
(*) Together Against Sizewell C (TASC) is an unincorporated association of individuals campaigning since 2013 to stop EDF’s plans to build twin EPR nuclear reactors on Suffolk’s fragile eroding Heritage Coast. Sizewell C and all its supporting infrastructure will devastate untold acres of the wildlife-rich Suffolk Coast and Heaths AONB and its SSSI, as well as irreparably damaging RSPB Minsmere. The area, a 30-mile radius around the site, will change from rural tranquillity to brutal industrialisation.