Councils call for fresh look at nuclear power as current policy 'flawed'
PUBLISHED: 16:00 24 March 2019
Campaigners fighting proposals for new-build nuclear power plants have dismissed the need for Sizewell C – and called on the Government to reassess future electricity usage and generation.
The Nuclear Free Local Authorities (NFLA) group, which represents 40 councils across the country, believes renewable energy alternatives, with energy efficiency and energy storage, are more effective options.
The group points to the recent scrapping of the Sellafield Moorside development, and the decision to halt the Wylfa B and Oldbury B projects as evidence of the state of the new-build programme.
NFLA steering committee and English Forum chairman David Blackburn said: “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 suggesting 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 major changes to future energy use.”
New research on nuclear accidents shows that a Chernobyl level incident at Sizewell C could require large areas of southern and central England to be evacuated.
NFLA claims electricity generation has fallen 16% in the past 14 years despite a 10% rise in population.
However, EDF Energy said: “The UK needs Sizewell C because electricity demand is rising and our older power stations are closing. The country needs to shift towards low carbon sources of electricity like nuclear and renewables, and away from polluting fossil fuel sites.”
The company believes nuclear has a “strong future” in the UK despite the problems that have beset other new-build projects and will help lower overall energy costs to consumers as part of a balanced energy mix, providing low-carbon electricity when the wind doesn’t blow and the sun doesn’t shine.
The £14billion Sizewell C plant would be a twin reactor power station with a total output of 3.34MW of electricity, the same design as its sister new-build at Hinkley Point C, where good progress is being made on construction. Sizewell C would generate enough power to supply six million homes – around 20% of the country’s households.
Consultation ends this week
Friday, March 29, sees the end of Stage 3 consultation by EDF Energy – with the next stage being the preparation of its application for development consent.
The company has received huge amounts of feedback, with nearly 4,000 people visiting exhibitions and drop-in sessions at 14 locations, plus a large number of briefing sessions for parish and town councils and other key stakeholders.
Local councils have also been offered the free services of Planning Aid to give them independent advice to help with their submissions.
EDF will be analysing the responses over the next few months as it puts together its final plan and says it still has some “significant decisions” to make. It will be continuing its engagement with stakeholders.
People wanting to respond to the consultation can complete a questionnaire at www.sizewellc.co.uk or email comments to email@example.com or by post to Freepost SZC Consultation.