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Plans for Sizewell C nuclear power station receive a setback

PUBLISHED: 17:05 11 July 2018 | UPDATED: 18:25 11 July 2018

Members of Sizewell C protest group TEAGS with protest banners outside Endeavour House before a Suffolk County Council cabinet meeting Picture: GREGG BROWN

Members of Sizewell C protest group TEAGS with protest banners outside Endeavour House before a Suffolk County Council cabinet meeting Picture: GREGG BROWN

Government advisers have dealt a blow to plans for Sizewell C by recommending that only one nuclear power station should be built in the next few years, because renewable energy sources could prove to be a safer option.

The National Infrastructure Commission (NIC) said the government should cool down plans for a nuclear new build programme that envisage as many as six plants being built.

Sir John Armitt, the NIC’s chairman, said he was “agnostic” about whether the next power station should be the one Hitachi want to build in Wales, or Sizewell C, which EDF Energy hopes to have up and running in Suffolk by 2031.

Newly published research commissioned by the NIC found that nuclear and renewables could meet climate targets for comparable costs. Aurora Energy Research concluded that, whichever technology was pursued, the power sector would

have to reach zero emissions by 2050 to hit legally binding carbon goals.

Paul Collins, Co Chair of Theberton and Eastbridge Action Group on Sizewell (TEAGS), said his group are “deeply concerned” at the prospect of an intensified race between new nuclear projects.

“EDF is reportedly planning to hold Stage 3 consultations in January, but that seems too soon given the work they still have to do. In our recent meetings with the company it is abundantly clear that many Sizewell C & D plans are up in the air, including the questions of whether the B1122 (the main access route to deliver the development) is fit for purpose, or a jetty can be constructed safely for transporting construction materials, let alone our ongoing arguments against a single site worker accommodation campus.

“Crucial environmental assessments will also not be completed by the end of the year.”

There is also growing speculation that EDF Energy is planning to sell part of its 80 percent stake in Britain’s nuclear plants.

The Sunday Times reported that China General Nuclear (CGN) was in early-stage talks with EDF Energy and its partner Centrica (CNA.L) about acquiring a share of up to 49 percent in Britain’s fleet of eight power stations, which include Sizewell B in Suffolk. If successful, the deal could give China greater access to critical infrastructure projects in the UK.

CGN is currently working with EDF Energy to develop a new nuclear power station at Bradwell-on-Sea in Essex.

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