Sizewell to be site for new nuclear reactors

EDF Energy has confirmed it will nominate Sizewell as a site where it wants to build two new nuclear reactors.

Anthony Bond

EDF Energy has confirmed it will nominate Sizewell as a site where it wants to build two new nuclear reactors.

The Government announced yesterdaythat the nuclear industry has until March 31 to nominate sites for the first wave of new nuclear power stations in the UK. It also revealed its criteria against which potential sites will be assessed and said the public would be able to have its say.

State-owned French firm EDF Energy, the world's biggest nuclear power provider, wants to construct twin reactors at both Sizewell and Hinkley Point in Somerset. It expects the first to be operational by the end of 2017.

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Earlier this week, the Nuclear Decommissioning Agency also announced that it expected to nominate land close to a former nuclear power station in Bradwell, Essex, as a potential site for a new reactor.

Campaigners fighting against the plans at Sizewell say building new nuclear reactors is not the way forward.

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Charles Barnett, chairman of Shut Down Sizewell Campaign, said: “We regard any move to build yet another nuclear power station at Sizewell or anywhere else as a retrograde step because what does it do? It gives us a legacy of high levels of radioactive waste for which there is no end solution for something like 250,000 years plus.

“The real way forward is for the non-polluting renewable sources of energy such as wind, wave and tidal.

“EDF, like all these other nuclear industries, look for the short-term financial gain. It has no regard for what it means for our descendents.”

The Government criteria for the new sites include conditions that they should not be near major population centres or certain types of military activity.

Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Miliband, speaking to the Nuclear Development Forum yesterday, said: “We'll be judging each site that gets nominated against the criteria we have set out today and there will be plenty of opportunities for local authorities and the public to have their day on the options tabled.

“Nuclear power can improve energy security and help the drive towards low carbon energy supplies. Alongside renewables and cleaner fossil fuels, it will help us meet our climate change goals as well as ensuring the future supply of energy for the UK.”

Vincent de Rivaz, Chief Executive of EDF Energy, said: “EDF Energy has indicated that it would like to build two of its four planned EPR [nuclear reactors] at Sizewell, if it receives all the appropriate consents.”

Following the March 31 deadline, the list of nominated sites will be published and there will be an initial month-long opportunity for the public to express its views on how the sites match up to the criteria.

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