‘No one should assume Sizewell C is now a foregone conclusion’
Campaign group Stop Sizewell C say there are still many obstacles to overcome, following reports that the Government is ‘close’ to giving the project the green light.
The group say they’ve written to the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Secretary of State, Alok Sharma, to seek assurances about the due process behind the Sizewell C project.
Alison Downes, who’s from the campaign group, said: “No one should assume Sizwell C is now a foregone conclusion.
“There are numerous obstacles, including very serious concerns from DEFRA agencies like Natural England, which says it would not be lawful to permit the project as proposals stand, and no guarantees that £20 billion can be found or the RAB funding model legislated for.
“By the time these issues are resolved – if indeed they can be – our energy landscape will have changed yet again and Sizewell C will be shown as too slow and expensive to help our climate emergency.
“Meanwhile opposition is strong and growing, encompassing a wide range of stakeholders.”
A Government spokesperson has told us that: “Nuclear energy has a key role to play in meeting our net zero commitments.
“We regularly engage with all developers on their projects and are considering a range of financing solutions.”
Sizewell C contractor, EDF, has told us: “Sizewell C will help to drive a green economic recovery by providing a big boost for jobs, skills, apprentices and nuclear supply chain businesses across the UK.
“The project is ready to help the UK achieve net zero and we hope for a positive commitment from the Government soon.”
Councillor Craig Rivett, who’s the Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Economic Development at East Suffolk Council, had this to say in response to recent reports:
“We are aware of media reports indicating that the government intends to approve the construction of Sizewell C New Nuclear Build.
“East Suffolk Council welcomes this development because it will bring jobs and investment to our area – however we would want to continue to work closely with EDF, the government and others, as set out in our response to the Planning Inspectorate.
“We want to ensure the impacts on our communities are minimised and that there will be a legacy to make our area even better for residents, business and visitors.”
The Unite Union have also said they welcome the prospect of job creation: “We would warmly welcome the government’s go-ahead for Sizewell C, as indicated by media reports today (Saturday 31st October), as it would tick a number of key boxes that will benefit the post-pandemic, post-Brexit UK economy.
“The development of the site on the Suffolk coast would create a source of low carbon and reliable energy, as well as a new generation of skilled ‘green’ employment. It will enhance the UK’s energy security at a time of challenging international relations.
“We understand that the construction of the new nuclear power station could generate up to 25,000 jobs during construction and at least 1,000 apprenticeships.
“An estimated 2,500 businesses in the supply chain would also benefit. It would provide 900 operational jobs during the 60 years it is expected to be in service.
“This would only be good news as the UK employment market continues to be seriously battered by the impact of Covid-19.
“What this would also do is create a skills bridge from Hinkley Point, being constructed in Somerset, to Sizewell that ensures that the skills and the knowledge that have been acquired on the initial project can be transferred to Sizewell and are not lost to the country’s skill base.
“It would also end a period of uncertainty and setbacks for the UK nuclear industry – the latest being Hitachi’s decision last month to withdraw from the Wylfa nuclear power project on Anglesey.
“We are also waiting for the government’s much-delayed energy White Paper which must show how the UK reaches its pledge of net-zero carbon emissions across all forms of energy by 2050. This must include nuclear power and renewables, such as wind power.”