The Nuclear Free Local Authorities (NFLA) submits today its views to the EDF Energy third stage of public consultation over its proposed new nuclear reactor at the Sizewell site in Suffolk. (1)
NFLA have responded throughout this long consultation process and remain opposed to the development of the Sizewell C reactor. NFLA note that yesterday a petition signed by over 1,500 people was submitted to Suffolk County Council by the campaign group ‘Together Against Sizewell C’. (2) It also notes that Suffolk County Council and Suffolk Coastal District Council have both publicly stated they are concerned with the lack of detail in EDF’s latest proposals for the Sizewell C development. (3)
With the Sellafield Moorside development now scrapped, and the Wylfa B and Oldbury B developments halted, this is not a good time for the development of large new nuclear power stations. The NFLA submission explains in detail why renewable energy alternatives, with energy efficiency and energy storage, are more effective options than a suite of new nuclear power stations.
The NFLA response also argues for a fundamental reassessment of the ‘need’ for new nuclear reactors as stated in the UK Government’s National Policy Statement. For example, electricity generation in 2018 was some 63TWh (16%) lower than in 2005, a reduction equivalent to 2.5 times the output of the new nuclear plant being built at Hinkley Point C or proposed for Sizewell C. This is despite the UK population increasing by 10% from 60 million to 66 million people.
Furthermore, nuclear generation was 72TWh in 2016 or about 21% of electricity produced in the UK. Total installed nuclear capacity is around 8.9GW. Yet an accelerated programme of LED lighting installation alone, for example, could reduce peak electricity demand by almost 8GW. The NFLA outlines many other examples as to why there is no ‘need’ for new nuclear with far more effective alternative options.
NFLA are concerned that the UK Government’s complacency and obsession with nuclear power is smothering innovative thinking to take account of a revolution in the energy sector as well as creating a democratic deficit.
Other issues raised in the NFLA submission include:
- Sizewell C will produce nuclear waste with about 80% of the total radioactivity already created. And yet there is still no long-term solution for the management of such radioactive waste.
- According to the UK Government’s Article 37 submission to the European Commission on Hinkley Point C, a severe accident would only release 0.0447 TBq of radioactive caesium-137 (Cs-137). In contrast a modelling exercise by the Radiological Protection Institute of Ireland (part of the Irish Environmental Protection Agency) showed that a 10,000 TBq release of Cs-137 was possible. An analysis for the Austrian Environment Agency also shows that a possible severe accident in the spent fuel pool could result in a release of 1,780,000 TBq of Cs-137.
- Superimposing maps of radioactive fallout from the Chernobyl disaster, which released around 85,000TBq of Cs-137, show that a severe accident scenario at a Sizewell C plant, it could require large areas of southern and central England to be evacuated, depending on the wind direction.
NFLA Steering Committee and English Forum Chair, Cllr David Blackburn said:
“It is strange that EDF Energy have put forward this consultation on developing a new nuclear reactor for Sizewell C at a time when financial and technical issues remain for its sister plant at Hinkley Point, and fellow energy utilities Toshiba and Hitachi have halted development at Moorside, Wylfa and Oldbury. In our submission, NFLA shows in detail why the Government’s ongoing support for new nuclear is flawed and that there is no need for such reactors at a time when the renewable sector is rapidly moving forward. Sizewell C also has some serious issues over the waste it would produce remaining on site for many decades, and the serious accident scenarios international agencies have developed suggest much more alarming consequences than EDF foresee. If the local Councils in Suffolk are not particularly impressed with EDF’s current proposals, then there is indeed much work for it to do. NFLA see no ‘need’ for new nuclear at a time of a major global changes to future energy use.”
Ends – for more information please contact Sean Morris, NFLA Secretary, on 00 44 (0)161 234 3244.
Notes for editors:
(2) BBC, 12th March 2019
(3) East Anglian Daily Times, 12th March 2019