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
[LONDON] Campaign representatives from Stop Sizewell C and Together Against Sizewell C today delivered over 10,400 signatures  opposing Sizewell C to Downing Street, the Treasury and the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.  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. 
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  – 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?” 
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.” 
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. 
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.co.uk. Signatures currently stand at 10,659 and is still growing
2. Pictures (of Alison Downes and Chris Wilson) are available in Gdrive; 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.
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
Emily Gosden, Energy EditorMonday October 05 2020, 12.01am, The Times
To its supporters, it’s a crucial step to meeting Britain’s net-zero emissions goals, providing reliable low-carbon power and creating thousands of jobs. To its critics, it’s an outdated, risky technology that will push up energy bills and blight the landscape. The proposed Sizewell C nuclear plant has long provoked debate in the energy industry — but what does the government think? That’s the £20 billion question.
The twin-reactor plant in Suffolk proposed by France’s EDF could generate 3.2 gigawatts of electricity, enough to provide 7 per cent of Britain’s needs. It would be a sister station to Hinkley Point C, which EDF is building with the Chinese state group CGN in Somerset, and which the government said in 2016 should be the “first of a wave of new nuclear plants”.
Yet of five projects that were proposed to follow Hinkley, three — in Cumbria, Anglesey and Gloucestershire — have been abandoned by their Japanese developers, while CGN’s hopes of building its own reactor in Essex look politically highly unlikely amid hostility to China. That leaves the £20 billion Sizewell plant as the test case for whether the government still wants nuclear, and what it’s prepared to do to make it happen.
“What we need to see is a strong and unambiguous statement of the need for new nuclear to be able to meet the net-zero target,” Tom Greatrex, chief executive of the Nuclear Industry Association, says. He hopes an energy white paper, delayed by more than a year and now promised this autumn, will include a clear indication of how much nuclear is wanted. “Ministers haven’t said in recent times anything about the proportions of power coming from which zero-emission sources. There has to be a greater sense of direction.”
As the costs of wind, solar and batteries have fallen, critics have questioned whether nuclear is really needed. The National Infrastructure Commission advised the government in 2018 that it should commit to only one more nuclear plant by 2025 since renewables may prove to be cheaper.
Mr Greatrex insists this view is mistaken and does not reflect the requirements of Britain’s net-zero target, set last year. The Committee on Climate Change, the official advisers on that goal, say that power demand may double by 2050 and 38 per cent of it may need to be met by firm low-carbon power: either nuclear, or gas plants fitted with carbon capture technology.
Dermot Nolan, who led the energy regulator Ofgem until January, says that he believes “we probably won’t know until 2040 or 2050 if we were right to do nuclear” but that to minimise risks, “it is better to develop some nuclear at this point”. He adds: “I think there’s sufficient uncertainty about overall power demand, and sufficient uncertainty about whether a 100 per cent renewable mix will be lower or higher cost, that it’s just not putting all your eggs in one basket.”
The limited indications are that the government agrees: the business department says that “nuclear power will play a key role in the UK’s future energy mix as we transition to a low-carbon economy”. But if they do want new nuclear, ministers will need to decide how to fund it. “The current financing mechanism won’t work,” Mr Greatrex says.
At Hinkley, state-backed EDF and the Chinese are shouldering the decade-long construction costs and risks. EDF has made clear that it cannot afford to do the same for Sizewell and needs to bring in a majority of private investors. And at Hinkley, the return on investment comes through a contract guaranteeing consumers will pay £92.50 per megawatt-hour (MWh) for its electricity — more than double the price awarded to recent offshore wind projects, and politically unrepeatable.
EDF says this could help reduce Sizewell’s costs to the equivalent of £40 to £60/MWh. Mr Nolan, now at the consultancy Fingleton, says that the RAB model is “very much understood by investors” and should enable a much lower cost of capital. He believes this outweighs the risk that “if something does go wrong, then the consumer is on the hook” — especially given Sizewell should be able to learn lessons from Hinkley. “If you’ve done it before, then the risk of a disastrously expensive build should be reduced.”
Another option is for the government to take a direct stake, as it had offered to do in the now-abandoned Anglesey project, or even to bankroll the majority of the construction and then sell it to private investors once complete. EDF appears amenable to either option: it just wants a decision. It is lobbying the government for a “roadmap that will enable an early investment decision on Sizewell C”.
For local campaigners such as Alison Downes, of Stop Sizewell C, there should be no rush from ministers to commit to the “white elephant” plant, with more than a year still to go on the planning process. “Sizewell C is a bad project — if EDF can’t make it work on their own terms they shouldn’t expect the British public to bail them out,” she adds. Yet if the government decides that new nuclear plants are needed, it may have little other choice.
Sizewell C ‘cheaper than the alternatives’, industry insists
The Sizewell C nuclear plant could cost each household about £10.50 a year on their energy bills, EDF analysis suggests (Emily Gosden writes).
The levy would cover repaying investors for the construction of the £20 billion plant as well as costs for the electricity it would generate.
The French energy giant estimates that by using a regulated asset base (RAB) funding model to reduce financing costs, combined with savings by replicating the Hinkley Point C design, the cost of power from the Suffolk plant could be reduced to between £40 and £60 per megawatt hour (MWh). Its “illustrative” £10.50 per household per year figure is based on a midpoint of £50/MWh.
EDF says that this would be the total sum paid to Sizewell each year once in operation, not what it would “add” to bills; that calculation depends on what it would cost to buy the same volume of power from other sources. Recent offshore wind projects have been given the go-ahead at less than £40MWh.
However, EDF argues that wind has higher costs in terms of back-up power, and says it is confident Sizewell could actually reduce consumer bills compared with the alternatives. To try to assuage fears of consumers being on the hook for cost overruns under the RAB model, it says that even if Sizewell went £6 billion over budget — which it insists it will not — this would only add £3 a year to a household bill.
More than 100 rural businesses oppose Sizewell C
[Suffolk] More than 100 Suffolk rural businesses have written to the Prime Minister and Cabinet members, to express their opposition to Sizewell C, saying the project would carve up farmland and render productive land commercially and logistically unviable and that the impact of 1,000 HGVs per day, plus thousands of other vehicles would severely hamper farming and fresh produce operations across a significant proportion of the county.
The letter, signed by almost 150 individual business, farm and landowners, has also been sent to the National Farmers’ Union, Country Landowners’ Association, Suffolk Agricultural Association and copied to Suffolk MPs and Council leaders
John Poll of Old Abbey Farm, Leiston, whose farmland would be carved up by Sizewell C rail and road links, said: “We’ve had this uncertainty hanging over us for years, with repeated shocks as EDF revealed new proposals during the various consultation stages. We started with an open mind, but as the destructive nature of EDF’s plans have become more and more clear, we have been brought to this point where we totally oppose the project outright.”
India Bacon of Ward Farming, whose business would also be significantly affected said: “Every time we read EDF’s claims that Suffolk businesses support Sizewell C we feel outraged that the views of so many businesses – including those in our sector – are not represented, which is why we and our fellow farmers initiated this letter. We cannot see how this project is going to benefit our county, in fact we can only see that it will damage our local economy and put enormous pressure on our local infrastructure..
Alison Downes of Stop Sizewell C added: “EDF and the nuclear lobby are currently in overdrive, but the Prime Minister and political leaders at national and regional level need to hear that large numbers of Suffolk businesses do not support Sizewell C. We urge the NFU, CLA and SAA to adopt, at the very least, the view of Suffolk County Council on EDF’s plans, that the ‘disadvantages heavily outweigh the advantages.’”
The letter below is also signed by a further four businesses, represented by seven individuals, who requested their names be withheld from publication.
To: The Rt Hon Boris Johnson MP, The Rt Hon Alok Sharma MP, The Rt Hon George Eustice MP,
Minette Batters, President National Farmers’ Union
Mark Bridgeman, President, Country Landowners’ Association
Stephen Miles, President, Suffolk Agricultural Association
cc Rt Hon Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park, Victoria Prentis MP, Lord Gardiner of Kimble, The Rt Hon Therese Coffey MP, Dr Dan Poulter MP, Peter Aldous MP, The Rt Hon Matt Hancock MP, James Cartlidge MP, Jo Churchill MP, Tom Hunt MP
Cllrs Matthew Hicks and Richard Rout, Suffolk County Council.
Cllrs Steve Gallant and Craig Rivett, East Suffolk Council
We the undersigned, as rural business owners, farmers and landowners in Suffolk, write to express our opposition to EDF’s plans to build two new nuclear reactors at Sizewell.
The threat of Sizewell C has been hanging over the heads of many of our number for at least eight years now with no immediate end in sight. This would be tolerable if the Sizewell C project was for the “greater good” but we have concluded that it is not necessary to meet the UK’s commitment to net zero, and would be a slow, risky and expensive waste of taxpayers’ money that removes opportunities to make use of alternative, green, deliverable and cost-effective energy solutions. Meanwhile, many of our plans are on hold at a time when farming faces the biggest changes to the policy framework governing our industry in over 50 years.
EDF’s Sizewell C site and associated development will carve up farmland and render productive land commercially and logistically unviable. The impact of 1,000 HGVs per day, plus thousands of LGVs, buses and cars, will be felt for miles around and severely hamper farming and fresh produce operations across a significant proportion of the county. This traffic chaos will also inevitably deter tourists, further undermining the very foundations of Suffolk’s resilient visitor economy which currently operates in harmony with agriculture on the Heritage Coast.
The past few months have more than ever shown the importance of domestic food production. East Suffolk is a key player in this; our land a carefully managed irreplaceable resource, essential to the production of sustainable food. In addition we have heavily invested in conservation measures to help develop and preserve habitat for key species of flora and fauna. These habitats, which successfully extend those provided by the Suffolk Coasts & Heaths Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, will be irreversibly carved up and destroyed by EDFs roads and infrastructure, to the detriment of our environment and our county’s tourism industry.
We join other organisations and individuals that have reached the same conclusion, including the National Trust and Suffolk Wildlife Trust; business-leaders, former Ministers and MPs. We urge the National Farmers’ Union, Country Landowners’ Association and Suffolk Agricultural Association to support us and this letter, which is our declaration that – given the environmental sensitivities and economic impact – we oppose Sizewell C.
David and Belinda Grant, Fordley Hall Farm, Fordley
Nat and India Bacon, Theberton Hall Farm, Theberton, NJ Bacon Farms, Ward Farming Ltd
William and Miranda Kendall, Bernard Page Wood & Co, Kelsale and Theberton
BE and EF Boden & Son, Trust Farm, Middleton
Philip Baskett, Church Farm, Theberton
LJ and EL Dowley, Theberton House
J R & K Poll, Old Abbey Farm
Zoe and Tony Readhead, FL Readhead and Company, Hill Farm, Theberton
Caroline Cranbrook OBE, Argus Hardy, and Jason Gathorne-Hardy, partners, Great Glemham Farms,
Martin Durie, Durie Partners, Camp Green Farm, Debenham
Robbie Gawthrop, East Green Farm, Kelsale
Nick Cross, S.W.Cross and Sons Ltd, Dairy Farm, Ixworth.
Richard and Robert White, Peakhill Farm, Theberton
James Hopkins, Denston
Michael Bunbury, partner, Naunton Hall Farms
Paul V Hartley. CEnv. Euro. Eng. CMIMST Agri., Carlton Green Farm, Carlton
George Vestey, The Thurlow Estate.
Celia and Paul Whitelock, Vale Farm, Middleton
Hon Edward Tollemache, Helmingham Estate Farms
Lord Somerleyton DL, Somerleyton
Chris Hollingsworth, Clopton Hall, Wickhambrook
Roger and Wendy Skinner, Hurts Hall, Saxmundham
The Duke of Grafton, Euston
Charles Sylvester, Peasenhall Lodge
Sir Kenneth and Lady Carla Carlisle, Wyken Hall, Stanton
Mark Marlesford, Marlesford Farms
Paul and Louise Cooke, Stanny House Farm Partnership, Iken
Jon Hunt and Max Hunt, Heveningham Estate and Wilderness Reserve
Stephen Brett, Eastbridge Farm
Sir Edward Greenwell, Gedgrave
Jonathan Franklin, Knodishall
Hon. Jeremy Prior, Brampton
Jack Rosenthal, Good Food Growers, Reckford Farm, Middleton.
Philip and Carolyn Westrope, Westrope Farming Ltd
Simon Prior, Church Farm, Shadingfield
Nicholas Percival, H C Percival Farms Ltd.
Robin and Sarah Ward, Valley Farm, Linstead Parva
Bill Goodacre, Consultant Agronomist – Retired
Peter Haig-Thomas, Park Farm, Brettenham
Michael and Sara Clarke, R. J. Clarke and Son
David and Dilly Clarke, Cherry Tree Farm, Badingham
G S Ogilvie, Hawsell Farm, Leiston
Hamish Ogilvie, Sizewell Estate
Martin Bowers, Strutt & Parker Farms, Brettenham
James and Nicky Bostock, Hintlesham Hall Farms
Stephen & Marion Fletcher, Park Farm, Charsfield
Basil Baker, Garden House Farm, Middleton
John Parkinson, Hoo Farming Co Ltd, Hall Farm, Hoo, Woodbridge
Evelyn Parkinson t/a CH & FM Parkinson & Son
Robert Skepper, Ferry Farm, Sudbourne
Teresa Rous, Dennington Hall Farms
Paul & Laura Rous, Yara International, Rothamstead Research
Stephen Tonkes, Spindlewood Farm, Halesworth
Andy and Charlotte Mayhew, JH Mayhew, Sheep Drift Farm, Waldringfield
Jean, Paul & Sue Clarke, K & J Clarke, The Hall, Woodbridge
Roger Middleditch, P H Middleditch & Son, Priory Farm, Wrentham
Mrs. B Chamberlain and Mr R H Chamberlain, Moat Farm Otley
Robert Yates, Town Fen Farm, Brampton
Joe & Annabel Ward, Ward Farming Ltd
P W Bloomfield Woodhill Farm, Yoxford
John and Susan Holmes at White House Farm, Frostenden
Peter and Lorris Hambling, Rookery Park, Yoxford
Bill Mayne, Burgh House, Woodbridge
Paul Tuckwell, L E Tuckwell Farms Ltd, Worlingworth
James Tuckwell, P Tuckwell Ltd
Richard Stanton, Manor Farm, Dersingham
Alan Fairs, Loombest Ltd , Park Farm Thorington
Lissie Fairs, Director, Hillfairs Farmers Ltd , Hall Farm Darsham
Philip Hardiman – director AW Mortier Farms Ltd
David Sprake, East Hall Farm, Denton
Sir Michael and Lady Patricia Hopkins, Blackheath House Farm, Friston
Chris Mayhew, Stratton Hall Farms Ltd.
Jonathan, Dulcie, Graham and Frances Crickmore, Fen Farm, Bungay
Timothy and Ruth Richmond, Little Dodnash Farm, Bentley
Robert Paul, Tidal Hill Ltd, Wherstead
AJ Paul, RH and R Paul, Broxstead, Sutton
Oliver Paul, Freston Farming Ltd
Andrew & Rebecca Greenwell, Capel St Andrew Farms and Capel Farming Ltd
James & Serena Greenwell, JP and SJ Greenwell, Capel St Andrews Farms
Iain & Davina Johnston, Low Farm, Butley
James Thurlow, Thurlow Nunn Standen
Iain and Kirsten Jamie, Glevering Hall Farm
David Langmead, Langmead Farms, Langley Dairies, Newshoots Limited
James Wrinch, RJ & HW Wrinch
Mark Watson, K & R & M Watson
Andrew Nott, AF & NM Nott
James Blyth, Friday Street Farm, Friday Street
Charles Hall, Keith Hall Fencing Ltd
Keith Southey, Glue Pot Farm, Bramfield
Simon & Laura Roberts, Union Farm, Bulcamp, Halesworth
Tom Barne, Miles and Tessa Barne, Tom and Anna Barne, Sotterley Estate
Mike Porter, Porters Farms (Walpole) Ltd
Henry Budgen, H & L Budgen, Rushmere Hall
Simon & Sally Illet, Moat Alpacas, Moat Farm Theberton
Tom Abrey, R G Abrey Farms
Guy Edmundson, Classic Festivals & Events
Lady Hermione Crisp, Kirby Cane Hall
Gavin Norman, GE Norman Contracting
James Foskett, James Foskett Farms
Frances Boscawen, Moat Farm Flowers
Stuart Baker, J E Baker and Sons Farming, Laxfield
Chris Mann, Mann Farms Ltd
Alex Mann, PJ & SA Mann Farms
Tom and Daniel Webster, Preservation In Action, Blythburgh
David Watson, Mill Hill Farm, Darsham
Mark Howard, Director, Glemham Hall Shoot Ltd