Stop Sizewell C projects urgent messages onto Sizewell B dome ahead of Downing Street nuclear roundtable   

20 March 2022

[Suffolk] Stop Sizewell C last night projected three urgent messages onto the iconic dome of Sizewell B ahead of tomorrow’s nuclear roundtable at Downing Street. They highlight how Sizewell C is not the solution to the current energy crisis. The messages were (see below):

‘The Energy Crisis is now, not 2035’

‘Too Costly, Two Decades, Too Late’ and

‘Boris don’t bet on Sizewell C’

High resolution images including wider views here: Please credit Stop Sizewell C

Alison Downes of Stop Sizewell C said: “If Sizewell C is the answer, it’s the wrong question. Even if it delivered on schedule, which with EDF’s track record is highly unlikely, it would not be generating until 2035 by which time our energy landscape will be transformed by solar, wind, storage and efficiency. If ministers insist that nuclear must be part of the long-term mix, they should dedicate tomorrow’s roundtable to advanced technologies such as Rolls Royce’s Small Modular Reactors, which have the potential to roll out in a shorter timeframe to Sizewell C and deliver a seventh of the power for a tenth of the cost.”

Media reports today suggest the government is considering a state-backed company to support new nuclear projects, but that the Energy Strategy may be delayed some days due to “frustrations” between the Treasury and Downing Street about costs. NIC chair Sir John Armitt said last week that Britain should avoid rushing into short-term decisions in the belief that the Ukraine crisis “is changing everything for the next 30 years” adding that short-term “solar is probably the quickest.”

If Sizewell C was completed by 2035, it would have been over 22 years in the making. Local communities were first consulted in late 2012, and the planning application was submitted in May 2020. The eight years of consultation and planning were due to EDF’s lack of commitment, pausing work on the project several times. Even so, the result was an incomplete application which underwent 22 changes during the formal examination and led to the Secretary of State requesting further clarifications on a range of subjects, including where the operational 2.8 million litres/day of drinking water can be sourced from. None of these delays were due to the robust planning process by which these projects should be assessed.