EDF wants to build two huge nuclear reactors on the fragile Suffolk Heritage Coast. The government is expected to decide if Sizewell C will get planning permission in May 2022 and is in negotiations with EDF about how Sizewell C would be paid for. EDF hopes to make a “final investment decision” by the end of 2022 or early 2023.
Sizewell C is the wrong project in the wrong place and will not help the UK achieve its objectives.
The wrong project:
- Sizewell C is slow – it would take 10-12 years to build, so not generate any power until 2034.
- Sizewell C is expensive, costing £20+ billion, which could be invested in renewables such as offshore wind or hydrogen storage.
- Sizewell C takes a lot of carbon to build. Using EDF’s own estimates, it would take around 4 years to pay this back, meaning Sizewell C wouldn’t contribute to net zero until 2038. The government’s latest target is a 78% reduction in CO2 emissions by 2035.
- The type of reactor EDF wants to build (the EPR) has an appalling track record. The few EPRs under construction are all well over budget and – in France and Finland – running a decade late. One of the only two operating EPRs in China has been closed with fuel failure after international attention.
- After pressure from EDF, the government has introduced legislation to make consumers pay for the financing of Sizewell C through a nuclear tax on energy bills (called a RAB model), but nuclear projects are prone to cost and time overruns.
- It won’t help ‘level up’ the UK. Sites in the north and west would do more to narrow the economic gap.
- The UK government wants to eject EDF’s controversial partner – China General Nuclear – but has not decided how.
- Nuclear energy is not green energy. There is as yet no long-term solution for nuclear waste.
The wrong place:
- EDF’s claims of thousands of jobs for locals and billions of pounds spent locally are unproven. We maintain that Sizewell C would damage the local economy.
- EDF wants to bring its Hinkley workers to Sizewell. EDF estimates almost 6,000 workers would come into the area; 2,400 of them would live in a “campus” near the tiny hamlet of Eastbridge.
- Visitors would stay away, losing the tourism industry up to £40 million a year (independent research) and losing 400 jobs. EDF admits 725 ‘local’ staff would come from other businesses.
- There would be around 12,000 extra vehicles a day on the A12, including 700 HGVs.
- The Sizewell C site is on an eroding coastline and surrounded by protected wildlife habitats.
- Toxic nuclear waste would have to remain on site for well over 100 years.
- The site is wholly within the Suffolk Coast & Heaths Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Construction will cut the AONB in half for a decade
- The site adjoins internationally famous RSPB Minsmere reserve, and some of Sizewell Marshes Site of Scientific Interest will be built on.
- There is no assured long term water supply for Sizewell C. To obtain enough potable (drinkable) water for construction, EDF has been forced to propose a desalination plant.
Stop Sizewell C is a campaign group on the frontline* of Sizewell C driven to oppose the project after 9 years of EDF’s failed engagement and the destructive nature of its proposals. We raise awareness of the impacts of Sizewell C and put pressure on national and local government to see that the impacts outweigh the benefits. We do this through national and regional media stories, face to face advocacy supported by expert evidence, and are supported by a considerable following of influencers and members of the public. We share the aspirations of all for a prosperous East Suffolk; building on – rather than threatening – its natural capital and the strengths of the current economy.
*Stop Sizewell C is the campaign name of Theberton and Eastbridge Action Group on Sizewell Ltd. The parish of Theberton and Eastbridge would be the most impacted by EDF’s Sizewell C plans.