Stop Sizewell C projects protest messages onto BEIS

8 November 2020

White Elephant projected onto Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy as opposition to Sizewell C nuclear power plant intensifies

[WESTMINSTER] The Stop Sizewell C campaign group [1] tonight projected two images onto BEIS ahead of reported meetings between the Prime Minister, Chancellor and Business Secretary [2] tomorrow, to discuss the UK’s civil nuclear programme. The projection images were of the group’s logo: “Stop Sizewell C” and “Sizewell C; too slow and expensive to help our climate emergency” super-imposed on a white elephant.

It has been reported that the Prime Minister’s “10 Point Plan” could be made public soon – possibly this week. While government ministers adhere to the line that nuclear has a “key” role in the UK’s future energy mix, it remains unclear whether this will take the form of funding for Small Modular Reactors, or financial support for large-scale projects such as Sizewell C – or both.

Alison Downes of Stop Sizewell C said “We wanted to send a strong message to Ministers that Sizewell C is a white elephant and it would be wholly inappropriate to give it a “green light”. Costing at least £20 billion, not operating until the 2030s and unable to contribute to net zero until 2040, [3] Sizewell C has no place in the UK’s green recovery. Moreover, this may be the last outing for this failed reactor design. EDF is designing a simpler, cheaper version of the EPR for France, leaving the UK with a design that no one else wants.” [4]

Charles Macdowell said: “China’s involvement just adds to the controversy, and then there is the small matter of how Sizewell C would be paid for. EDF wants the British public to stump up through our taxes and through our energy bills, [5] regardless of whether we have chosen renewable tariffs. That is not going to be popular. Financial support for Sizewell C would suck vital funds away from technologies and projects that are capable of truly transforming our energy landscape.”

Paul Collins added: “Sizewell C could not get planning consent until the beginning of 2022 at the earliest; indeed the process has just been extended by EDF engaging in a fifth consultation in nine years, to try to make the unacceptable, acceptable. [6] Numerous obstacles remain, including the very serious concerns of DEFRA agencies such as Natural England, which says it would not be lawful to permit the project as proposals stand. [7] The unsuitability and sensitivity of the site makes any argument in favour of construction, as a means of economic recovery, frankly insulting. Sizewell C is simply the wrong project in the wrong place.”

Opposition to Sizewell C is strong and growing. Sizewell C is opposed by Suffolk MP Dan Poulter, thousands of individuals [8] and a number of organisations including the RSPB and Suffolk Wildlife Trust and dozens of Town and Parish Councils, such as Aldeburgh and Woodbridge. Suffolk County Council “cannot support” EDF’s proposals. Letters of opposition have been sent to Ministers from more than 100 rural businesses [9] and over 60 influencers. [10] National Infrastructure Commission Chair Sir John Armitt [11] and Committee on Climate Change Chair Lord Deben [12] have both raised questions about the need for Sizewell C.


  1. Stop Sizewell C is a campaign group formed by local people in the community on the frontline of the project. We did not start out opposing Sizewell C but were driven to it after 8 years of EDF’s failed engagement and the destructive nature of its proposals.

  2. The Times:

  3. This information is from EDF’s application for Development Consent; see Funding Statement and Climate Change documents (page 33). The latter is assessed in our report

  4. No country in Western Europe has any operating EPRs or new builds besides Hinkley Point C and the catastrophic Flamanville (France) and Olkiluoto (Finland) projects which are a decade behind schedule and multiple times overspent. The EPR has been described by Dr Paul Dorfman of UCL as “too complex to build to time and budget”. EDF aims to have a new EPR design by 2021, but Sizewell C would be the old design.

  5. EDF cannot put Sizewell C on its balance sheet and has made no secret of needing a Regulated Asset Base (RAB) model – essentially a nuclear tax – or direct government investment to finance it.

  6. After applying for planning consent on 27 May, EDF announced on 15 October it would be changing its proposals, with new public consultations planned for November. This will further delay the consenting process, with a decision by the BEIS Secretary of State not now expected until early 2022.

  7. The Environment Agency says EDF has “knowingly chosen to submit a Flood Risk Assessment which is neither supported by adequate modelling, nor demonstrates that the site, its users, and neighbouring areas will be safe in the event of a flood” and the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority is “not yet satisfied” that Sizewell C can be constructed and operated without compromising the decommissioning of Sizewell A.

  8. Over 18,500 people have recently signed an active petition opposing Sizewell C –



  11. “Hopefully by 2025, we will be able to rely on much smarter systems and won’t have to rely on nuclear”.

  12. Lord Deben has described nuclear as a “transitional” energy source whose need reduces as grid-balancing improves.