Consultation begins on new nuclear reactor facing opposition from locals

The launch of a new nuclear power station in Suffolk is at risk, as a 12-week consultation examining whether the £20bn project should be built begins.

The Environment Agency will be consulting on three environmental permits for EDF Energy’s Sizewell C, proposed to be built next one of their already existing nuclear power plants.

If the permits are approved, Sizewell C will be allowed to dispose of and discharge radioactive waste, operate standby power supply systems using diesel generators and discharge cooling water and liquid effluent into the North Sea.

skyline photography of nuclear plant cooling tower blowing smokes under white and orange sky at daytime

The Environment Agency’s Sizewell C Project Manager, Simon Barlow, said: ‘Our proposed decision is that we should issue the permits for the three operational activities, subject to the consultation process. These draft permits represent over 10 years of pre-application discussions with EDF SZC Co.

‘We’ve set out our reasoning in the documents and supporting assessments.

‘The company has applied for these permits many years ahead of the station operating. If we grant these permits early in the project, it will help us to positively influence the design, procurement, and commissioning of the power station, whilst also ensuring that the environment and wildlife is protected.

‘We want our decisions to be better informed through consultation and want to hear people’s views on our proposed decisions.

‘If you have any relevant information that you feel we have missed, you can provide your comments, which we will carefully consider, before we make our final decision in early 2023.’

The British government has already committed its support to nuclear, with plans for eight new nuclear reactors outlined in the Energy Security Strategy.

It has also provided £100m in funding to support Sizewell C’s development which is expected to generate six million homes and create 10,000 jobs.

But some locals have opposed the plans, with campaigners at Stop Sizewell C calling the proposal the ‘wrong project, wrong time, wrong place.’

In May, hundreds of protesters came together in East Suffolk to campaign for an end to the project.

At the time, campaigner Alison Downes said: ‘We have all come here today to show that a decision to go ahead with Sizewell C would be a wrong decision. EDF has clearly not taken this community with them and the government has totally betrayed the faith of local people in due process by repeated commitments to Sizewell C when it doesn’t have planning consent, let alone a Final Investment Decision. Two wrongs don’t make a right, so where is the sense in copying Hinkley C, badly overrun and overspent using a faulty reactor design that’s been offline in China for the last 10 months?’

Photo by Frédéric Paulussen


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