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Poll: Nuclear disaster back-up project unveiled

PUBLISHED: 09:54 01 May 2012

Sizewell looking north. Photo by Mike Page

Sizewell looking north. Photo by Mike Page

Mike Page

PROPOSALS have been launched for a unit to be built near the Sizewell B power plant for use in the event of nuclear fallout or disaster.

Public consultation was opened in nearby Leiston last night for the planned construction of an emergency response centre, which EDF Energy revealed would house back-up plant equipment storage for the company’s nuclear crisis arrangements.

Members of the public gathered at Sizewell Sports and Social Club, in King George’s Avenue, to see plans and offer feedback on the proposal which would be sited on brownfield land at the Sizewell B railhead.

The centre is one of a number of enhancements identified following an independent review into the UK nuclear facilities by the Office of Nuclear Regulation after an earthquake and subsequent tsunami led to the Fukushima nuclear power plant disaster in Japan last March.

Dr Mike Weightman, who led the review, concluded that UK facilities had “no fundamental weaknesses” but, following recommendations and its own safety study, EDF Energy identified areas of improvement to protect against unpredictable natural events.

Martin Cubitt, technical and safety manager at Sizewell B, said: “Safety is, and always has been, our overriding priority. However, as a responsible operator, we recognise that we cannot afford to be complacent.

“Although our record and the recent reviews all show how safe Sizewell B power station is, we feel it is prudent to invest in providing an additional layer of resilience to our emergency response capabilities.

“We are also committed to working within the community and feel it is important to let local people know about the project, to let them have their input, before we put in the planning application.”

Plans for the 1,500sq m unit, which should cost no more to build than an industrial warehouse, are on display from noon to 8pm today and tomorrow at the Sports and Social Club. Public consultation continues until May 21, before a statutory consultation period this summer when the planning application has been submitted.

Residents can obtain consultation feedback forms from Leiston Library and more information can be found at www.edfenergy.com/emergencyresponse

It is hoped that the facility will be fully operational by the spring of 2014, with construction beginning at the start of 2013.

n A conference has been planned to bring together communities and local groups that could be affected by proposals for a third power station at Sizewell.

Suffolk County Council and Suffolk Coastal District Council are hosting the event on Monday, May 28, to discuss the key issues regarding the proposed Sizewell C.

Representatives of EDF Energy will be among the speakers at the conference, which is being organised by the Joint Local Authorities Group – made up of councillors and officers from the two councils – which will be directing policy and tactics for negotiations on the planning application, to be decided on by the Government.


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