Long wait yet for Sizewell ‘C’

DAVID GREEN’s Greenwatch column

“SIZEWELL C go-ahead” blazed the EADT’s front page headline when the Government confirmed its list of potentially suitable sites for a new generation of nuclear power station.

While few would bet against Sizewell C now becoming a reality, permission to build is still a long way off and there are a number of sizeable hurdles EDF have to jump before the first sod is turned.

All the Government has done is to endorse a shortlist which was drawn up some time ago as part of its backing for the replacement of ageing plants such as Sizewell A and Bradwell.

Before a go-ahead is actually given for Sizewell C, EDF will not only have to come up with the �6billion private finance required to build the twin reactors, it must provide detailed plans which will be subject to strenuous examination, especially on safety grounds.

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Even more attention will be paid to some safety aspects – including emergency evacuation procedures for the local population – in the light of the Fukushima nuclear crisis in Japan.

Permission to build will this time be recommended by a central commission rather than by a public inquiry inspector as the Government and industry has, understandably, got fed up with the decision-making delays involved in major infrastructure applications.

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Many of you will remember that the Sizewell B inquiry took nine months to prepare, 27 months to complete and that the inspector’s decision was not announced until a year later.

While the design specification and environmental studies are well advanced, a planning application for Sizewell C is unlikely to be submitted until late this year or early next and the power station will certainly not be generating electricity before the year 2018.

STOWMARKET Golf Centre may have seen many a birdie and occasionally an eagle but now it is earning a reputation for its owls!

Owl boxes were installed on the course four years ago and the first nesting took place in 2009.

The boxes are monitored by ornithologist John Walshe on behalf of the Suffolk Wildlife Trust, and he has been able to “ring” – affix a small monitoring tag – to the feet of the young.

In the box over the fifth tee he recently discovered a one-year-old female owl with five young, all between two and four weeks old.

Paula Burt, Golf Centre spokeswoman, tells me that in 2009 four young were found in the same box and last year there were five.

“With 14 baby barn owls in three years it makes our box the most prolific in mid-Suffolk and we are really proud of this,” she said.

One of the ringed chicks from last year has been identified on a farm the other side of the Shrublands Estate at Coddenham, a full ten miles away from the Golf Centre.


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