Cautious welcome to Sizewell plans

PLANS to built two new nuclear power stations at Sizewell, as revealed by the EADT yesterday, have been greeted positively by community leaders.The two reactors each of which could be bigger than the existing Sizewell B station, should generate 1,600 megawatts of power, compared with the 1,200 megawatts of Sizewell B, depending on the type of reactor chosen.

Mark Lord

PLANS to built two new nuclear power stations at Sizewell, as revealed by the EADT yesterday, have been greeted positively by community leaders.

The two reactors each of which could be bigger than the existing Sizewell B station, should generate 1,600 megawatts of power, compared with the 1,200 megawatts of Sizewell B, depending on the type of reactor chosen.

Costing nearly £6 billion, construction could start in 2013 and be completed by 2018. It is estimated that about 5,000 workers would be on site at the peak of the construction period.

The draft proposals unveiled at a community meeting on Tuesday night included twin reactors, a new access road and a beach landing stage to help minimise road deliveries.

Spokesman for British Energy, Sue Fletcher, said that four possible designs are being considered for the reactors, she emphasised that which ever reactor was chosen it would be a tried and tested design.

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Building twin reactors will mean British Energy will have to use an off-site area as a temporary site for storing materials and land has been provisionally earmarked to the north-west of the site - part woodland and part agricultural land.

Part of the forestry land could be used permanently - for car parking and other “low level” activity.

Plans also include the building of a new access road from the B1122 road across countryside which includes part of a nature reserve designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest.

Speaking to the EADT yesterday, Eddy Alcock, Suffolk County Council's portfolio holder for environment and waste management, said: “It is the policy of Suffolk County Council to support the new programme of nuclear builds. The proposal for two new stations does not surprise or necessarily dismay me.

“Clearly any proposals have to be considered by Suffolk Coastal District Council and Suffolk County Council on their merits before we can make any detailed comments.

“Clearly there will be issues with the countryside and aesthetics and in the fullness of time these issues will become clear.”

Leiston-cum-Sizewell Town Council chairman Ann Nunn said officially the town council does not have an opinion on the proposals. She added that her view as a resident of Leiston was that British Energy had always been good neighbours.

“We have always had good neighbours in British Energy and I don't see why C and D should not be equally as good,” said Mrs Nunn. “I do not think the majority of local people object to having another nuclear power station, we have lived a long time with Sizewell A and B, but there are issues such as increased traffic and where a new access road might go which concern people and these issues need to be addressed by British Energy.”

Suffolk Coastal MP John Gummer said: “If we are going to have nuclear then I would prefer to see it in Sizewell. We have the expertise and the technology, plus the site is right. I hope we have it here.

“However, there needs to be three conditions attached to these proposals and they are as follows: firstly, it must come with clear plans for upgrading the A12 and bypassing the villages.

“Secondly, we need proper permanent housing for the workers while it is being built so that once the work is finished these homes can be used for much needed low cost housing for constituents.

“And thirdly, I would like to see as much of the materials brought into the area by sea keeping traffic and congestion off our roads.”

However, Charles Barnett of the Shut Down Sizewell Campaign said it was a very sad day. He added: “These proposals seem to be very short sighted - the Government has not looked at energy conservation or efficiency or forms of renewable energy. This is not about energy production but about money and jobs and that is what Sizewell C and D will provide and money and jobs are what motivate most of our society.

“This is a very sad situation and we will be girding our loins again and campaigning, as we have done for the last 22 years, to make people better informed.”

Commenting on the proposed new access road, a spokesman for Suffolk Wildlife said: “It is early days but it will go through the normal planning procedure and as such if it goes over our reserve than we will comment and if it stands to damage any wildlife then we will object.”

British Energy has said no decisions had been taken on the submission of planning permission for new nuclear power stations but Sizewell was “a very strong candidate” and that favourable criteria included suitable ground conditions and the existing infrastructure.

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