Campaigners disappointed as EDF’s Sizewell C application is accepted for examination; call for pause

For Immediate Release 24 June 2020

Campaigners disappointed as EDF’s Sizewell C application is accepted for examination; call for pause

“Push” from nuclear industry for government commitments to new nuclear shows that reassurance is not forthcoming

[SUFFOLK] Stop Sizewell C campaigners today expressed regret that the Planning Inspectorate (PINS) has decided to accept EDF’s Sizewell C application for public examination – despite hundreds of local people objecting about the failings of EDF’s consultations – and vowed to amplify the campaign against the project. Stop Sizewell C has joined a dozen other organisations and campaign groups – including The National Trust, RSPB, Suffolk Wildlife Trust and Together Against Sizewell C – to call for the planning process to be paused until more covid restrictions – under which large public gatherings and easy scrutiny of written proposals offline remain difficult – are lifted. [1]

EDF’S application, which will shortly be published by the Planning Inspectorate, will run to tens of thousands of pages and will take many weeks to fully assess. Campaigners will be focusing their scrutiny not only on the significant impacts of the project, but also how it is proposed to be funded and EDF’s attempts to justify the construction of Sizewell C as being key to Suffolk’s post-virus economic recovery. [2]  Today’s decision coincides with a push from the nuclear industry for a prompt decision on funding options for new nuclear; either through taxpayers or a Regulated Asset Base which pushes the significant costs of delays and overspends onto the consumer. Similar models to RAB in use in the USA have seen customers pay hundreds of dollars a year over decades for projects that are delayed or worse, cancelled. [3]

Alison Downes said: “We maintain that Sizewell C does not fit the needs of the government or the country; building the wrong project in the wrong place is not the way to revive the UK’s economy. The benefits to Suffolk claimed by EDF are highly questionable and don’t consider the damage to our existing local economy including tourism when that industry needs all the help it can get. How does an enormous building site on the Suffolk coast help the government ‘level up’ the UK? EDF cannot say how Sizewell C will be funded, and has received no reassurance on its desired “nuclear tax”, despite industry pressure.”

Paul Collins said: “We now need to assess tens of thousands of pages of material. We don’t see how EDF’s proposals can fundamentally address our fears that the Sizewell C site is too small for the project, threatens Internationally-renowned wildlife reserves and is at risk from coastal erosion – critical because nuclear waste would have to remain on site for centuries. Additionally, EDF’s EPR design has an appalling track record; the technology is outdated, expensive and beset by technical failings. Sizewell C is not the solution to net-zero CO2 by 2050. It will suck resources away from investment in renewables and the green hydrogen economy.”

Charles Macdowell said: “The damage caused by Sizewell C will be felt across Suffolk – especially the already- stretched transport infrastructure. We insist that the local community should be fully able to consider and if necessary challenge EDF’s application, and not be disadvantaged by the Coronavirus situation. Our elected representatives must now step forward and speak with one voice to defend the rights of all who will be affected by this mammoth project.”

In an eventful 28 days since EDF submitted its application, China’s ambassador to the UK has reportedly threatened withdrawal from Hinkley Point power station in retaliation for Huawei; [4] the 50% cut in Sizewell B output due to grid balancing issues during low power demand is now extended until August; [5] safety valve malfunctions at the Olkiluoto EPR new build in Finland will delay further its startup and call the operation of the only functioning EPRs at Taishan in China into question: [6] and EDF is reportedly showing an interest in the Moorside site in Cumbria. [7]

1. A letter to Council Leaders, EDF and local MPs has been signed by Stop Sizewell C, Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, Suffolk Wildlife Trust, National Trust, Suffolk Preservation Society, Together Against Sizewell C, The Suffolk Coast Destination Management Organisation, Suffolk Coastal Friends of the Earth, B1122 Action Group, Anglian Energy Planning Alliance, Shut Down Sizewell Campaign and the Chairman of the Suffolk Coast & Heaths AONB Partnership. Photos available from 3pm. The letter can be viewed online at
2. EDF’s press release 27 May –
3. The Nuclear Industry Association is pushing for greater commitment by government to new nuclear, including an early decision on financing. In the US, the abandoned plans to add two new reactors to the V.C. Summer Nuclear Station in South Carolina has left a $2.3bn bill that will be met by ratepayers
6. Valves

Summary Case Against Sizewell C. Full version online at

• Sizewell C does not answer this government’s policy imperatives; it cannot be justified as a means to help economic recovery; it is not the solution to net-zero, being a slow and expensive “bridge to nowhere” that would suck resources away from investment in renewables and hydrogen storage. EDF cannot say how much SZC will cost or be funded, but wants consumers to pay for it through a “nuclear tax”. The location in “blue” Suffolk will not help level up the UK. Sizewell C is mired in controversy through China’s involvement.

• Sizewell C will have destructive impacts on the local economy and internationally-protected habitats; the economic benefits it would bring to Suffolk are questionable and it will damage Suffolk’s existing local economy including tourism. The site is at risk from coastal erosion, too small for the project and threatens Internationally-renowned wildlife reserves. Toxic waste would have to remain on site for centuries.

• EDF’s EPR has an appalling track record. EPRs are outdated, expensive and beset by technical failings.