Two new Sizewell reactors on way?

SUFFOLK'S nuclear future is today in the hands of a state-owned French firm after EDF agreed to buy British Energy in a deal worth £12.5bn.

Neil Puffett

SUFFOLK'S nuclear future is today in the hands of a state-owned French firm after EDF agreed to buy British Energy in a deal worth £12.5bn.

New owners EDF want to construct and operate two reactors each at Sizewell in Suffolk and Hinkley Point in Somerset, with the first new reactor on-stream by the end of 2017.

News that the county is in line for what has been dubbed Sizewell C and D has not gone down well with anti-nuclear campaigners.

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Charles Barnett, chairman of the Shutdown Sizewell Campaign, said nuclear is not the answer to the energy question.

“As far as we are concerned this is a regrettable step which will bring to fruition the plans of this present government to, in effect, ignore renewable energy sources and deny them much-needed public money,” he said.

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“It gives us the legacy problem of nuclear waste which there is no solution for.

“The way forward is energy efficiency, coupled with energy conservation and the use of renewable sources.

“With nuclear you have the problem of dealing with the waste, the increased risk of terrorist activity as well as the risk of accidents.”

Ipswich MP Chris Mole welcomed the news, saying the buyout was essential to help with the push towards a low carbon future.

“It is very clear that in order to get the investment in new electricity generation that we need, EDF, or someone like them with deep pockets, are going to have to play a big role in investing in new capacity,” he said.

“I think it's the green option alongside more use of renewable sources and increasing energy saving arrangements.”

Mr Mole said he had concerns about the future of nuclear power back in the 1990s due to a lack of direction regarding the disposal of waste but added that a policy is now in place.

“Deep storage is the way to go and I think it is OK for us to go-ahead and build nuclear,” he said.

The creation of British Energy, which has around 6,000 staff, was one of the last major privatisations of the Conservative years and completed in 1996.

It brought together the UK's eight most modern nuclear reactors - at Hinkley Point, Somerset; Hunterston, Ayrshire; Dungeness, Kent; two at Heysham, Lancashire; Hartlepool; Torness, East Lothian; and Sizewell, Suffolk.

EDF's four new reactors in Suffolk and Somerset could generate electricity to meet more than 13 per cent of the UK's forecast energy demand by the early 2020s, saving more than 14 million tonnes of CO2 emissions a year, said the Department for Business and Enterprise and Regulatory Reform.

Do you welcome the prospect of two new nuclear power generators in Suffolk? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail

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