6 October 2020

 

More than 10,000 Say No to Sizewell C as government announces an extra 10GW of offshore wind and mulls a direct stake in new nuclear. Petition delivered to No 10, the Treasury and BEIS, Suffolk County Council and East Suffolk Council.

 

[LONDON] Campaign representatives from Stop Sizewell C and Together Against Sizewell C today delivered over 10,400 signatures [1] opposing Sizewell C to Downing Street, the Treasury and the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. [2] The petition calls on the government to stop Sizewell C because it would be risky, slow and – at £20 billion – massively expensive, sucking funds away from renewable energy and storage. The project would not positively contribute to net zero until 2040. [3]

 

The petition was delivered on the day the Prime Minister announced an increase in the target for power from offshore wind from 30GW to 40GW by 2030 [4] – a 10GW difference the equivalent of 3 Sizewell Cs – and in the midst of speculation that the government was considering taking a stake in future nuclear projects. At a Party Conference side event sponsored by EDF, BEIS Minister Kwasi Kwarteng said the Treasury was thinking‘why shouldn’t we have upside?” … why shouldn’t we have equity?” [5]

 

Alison Downes of Stop Sizewell C said: “With government on the brink of major decisions about our future energy, there is plenty of evidence that Sizewell C would have no “upside”. Not only is it expensive and risky, it is also slow, unable to deploy for years after the Prime Minister’s target of 40GW of offshore wind. There is also the controversy of China’s involvement. No other western European country, not even France, wants to build EDF’s trouble-prone EPR technology.” [6]

 

Pete Wilkinson of Together Against Sizewell C said: “Opposition to Sizewell C is strengthening, as these 10,000 signatures bear witness to, and neither we nor the signatories to this petition are alone. Numerous organisations, including RSPB and Suffolk Wildlife Trust oppose it, along with at least 10 Town and Parish Councils. Suffolk County Council “cannot support” EDF’s plans as the putative benefits of Sizewell C are significantly outweighed by the dis-benefits of the proposed development. Sizewell C, if it was ever built, would be a white elephant development on an eroding coast leaving behind a massively diminished environment, a weakened tourism industry and a lethal nuclear waste legacy.”

 

Additional evidence was provided yesterday by the University of Sussex Business School and International School of Management in Munich. Their analysis of 123 countries found that nuclear energy should not be considered as an effective low-carbon energy source and that nuclear and renewable energy programmes do not co-exist well together, but instead “crowd each other out” and limit the effectiveness of carbon cutting. [7]

 

Notes

  1. The petition https://www.stopsizewellcpetition.com/ is a joint initiative of Stop Sizewell C www.stopsizewellc.org and Together Against Sizewell C www.tasizewellc.org.uk. Signatures currently stand at 10,659 and is still growing
  2. Pictures (of Alison Downes and Chris Wilson) are available in G drive; https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/107xHkJ60F-zLu8-xqFWnEUQNkbyQOKyh?usp=sharing. Please credit Stop Sizewell C/TASC.
  3. See https://stopsizewellc.org/sizewell-c-and-climate-change/ for a detailed assessment of EDF’s documentation on CO2 emissions.
  4. https://www.gov.uk/government/news/new-plans-to-make-uk-world-leader-in-green-energy
  5. Minister Kwarteng told the event that the RAB funding model, under which householders would pay a “nuclear tax” on bills during construction, could not bypass the government’s balance sheet, saying “My understanding is…that it will be looked at or scored as government liability, government debt. https://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/business/government-considers-taking-equity-stakes-in-nuclear-plants-q56k7r2ms
  6. Only France and Finland besides the UK have any nuclear new builds. Finland’s EPR new build at Olkiluoto is over a decade late: France’s only new build is the disastrous Flamanville EPR, also over a decade late. France has said it will not make any decisions about other new builds until at least the end of 2022. https://uk.reuters.com/article/france-nuclearpower/france-will-not-decide-on-new-nuclear-reactors-before-end-of-2022-idUSL8N29E2Z7
  7. The study was published by Nature Energy https://www.nature.com/articles/s41560-020-00696-3

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