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C BEYOND
 

 

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The French energy company, EDF, together with their Chinese partners CGN, want to build two huge new nuclear reactors here on our fragile Suffolk coast. But no decisions have been made yet. The government will decide if Sizewell C will get planning permission in April 2022 and is currently in negotiations with EDF about how Sizewell C would be paid for (it is very expensive). EDF hopes to make a final decision about whether to go ahead by the end of 2022 or early 2023. It would then take at least 10 years to build, but in all likelihood a lot longer.
The technology is risky and unproven and it will not help the UK achieve its objectives of combatting climate change or meeting electricity demand at an affordable price. The Suffolk coastal area will change from rural tranquillity to brutal industrialisation, destroying so much of what we love about living and visiting here. 


Read on to see beyond EDF's myths and to find out what action we can all easily take to help stop Sizewell C and to ensure there will never be a C in Suffolk.

Sizewell C is the wrong project, in the wrong place, and at the wrong time.

Come and see my exhibition 'C Beyond'
- at Snape Maltings, Suffolk, until 7th November -
Click here to find out more

and to have a virtual tour of the exhibition

c beyond image



So what’s wrong with Sizewell C?

The technology is unproven and has been plagued with build blunders
The EPR technology of these two new reactors is unproven and fraught with technical problems.
EDF’s flagship EPR reactor is Flamanville in Normandy: it is already more than 8 years behind schedule and £ billions over budget. And it’s still not up and running.
Problems include the quality of the welding which protects the core of the reactor.
Olkiluoto in Finland (the only other EPR reactor in Europe) is 12 years late and also £ billions over budget.
The only two working EPR reactors in the world are in China and one of these has just been shut down by the Chinese authorities because of dangerous unexplained emissions.
And yes, Hinkley C, which is currently being constructed in Somerset, is also this type of reactor and this too is already subject to delays and overspend.
France is highly dependent on an ageing fleet of nuclear reactors. Yet despite EDF's and the French government's original intentions to replace many of these with EPR reactors by 2020, no plans are yet forthcoming. Hardly surprising given their experience at Flamanville and elsewhere.
Why on earth would we want this undeliverable reactor here at Sizewell?

It won’t help meet the UK’s climate change commitments
EDF claim that nuclear energy is green but Sizewell C can’t be built in time to meet the climate emergency we’re currently facing and the UK government’s own carbon targets. The absolute earliest it would be operational is 2034 (and that is very unlikely) and in the meantime its construction would cause at least 6.24 million tonnes of carbon emissions, including from the production of over 5.1million tonnes of concrete. These are EDF’s own figures and don’t include the carbon cost of trying to store nuclear waste safely for thousands of years or the cost of decommissioning. It’s too much - and much too late.

Thousands of tonnes of highly radioactive waste will be generated and stored on our coast for over 100 years
It’s estimated that Sizewell C will generate at least 3800 tonnes of toxic radioactive waste. There is no long-term solution to the safe storage of this waste which remains dangerously radioactive for thousands of years. It’s proposed that it will be stored here on our rapidly eroding coast for over 100 years: how will future generations keep it safe, especially with what we know about climate change and rising seas? And what will be the cost of doing so here on one of the fastest eroding coastlines in Europe?

It’s really expensive and the UK government wants us to pay
EDF (despite being majority owned by the French government) are in massive debt because of all the technical problems and delays with the EPR reactor and all the upgrades they need to do to their existing portfolio of reactors to keep them safe and running for longer. Sizewell C will cost at least £20 billion (probably a lot more) and is much more expensive and riskier than renewables. And at the moment 20% of the investment will come from the Chinese - which the government has indicated it wants to avoid because of understandable security concerns.
So, instead, the government wants all UK electricity users to pay for Sizewell C through their bills (through a type of tax called ‘RAB’) - if agreed by the UK Parliament, perhaps this autumn, this would mean years of surcharges on everyone’s electricity bills, regardless of your ability to pay and whether you are with a green energy provider. And this would keep going up and going on for longer if there were any delays or further increases in costs.
And they want us to pay through our pensions too - despite the high risks.
If Sizewell C goes ahead, it will be UK people, and especially our children, who will be paying for it and carrying all the risks if it goes wrong, is interminably delayed or perhaps even abandoned mid-construction.
Spending our money in this way also means the money can’t be invested in projects that would really help tackle the climate emergency in time, like insulating our homes and supporting genuinely green energy solutions.

The construction will devastate our precious coastline and threaten protected habitats like Minsmere and their rich wildlife
The site for Sizewell C sits at the heart of Suffolk’s Area of Outstanding Beauty and in the middle of some of the UK’s most precious habitats. Interference with water levels, the light, noise and air pollution of 24 hour construction, contamination of the marine environment, destruction of woodland, obliteration of rare vegetated shingle habitats and concreting over of some protected areas (SSSI) are just some of the concerns. In particular, the construction of Sizewell C would blight RSPB Minsmere, which lies just north of the massive construction site. Minsmere is a site of international importance, valued for its rich and spectacular wildlife, and is one of the UK’s best-loved nature reserves. Yet it could be irreparably damaged.

• Sizewell C would be one of the biggest infrastructure projects in Europe, totally unsuited to our unspoilt rural area
People think Sizewell C will be similar to Sizewell B and there is nothing to worry about. But the scale of these two proposed reactors is massively greater than Sizewell B. Take a look at some of the pictures of Hinkley C construction to get an idea of what’s proposed. Huge areas of wildlife-rich land behind Sizewell will be concreted over. And the construction will last for at least ten years but, given EDF’s terrible track record, probably years longer.
The influx of temporary workers is likely to overwhelm local communities, including the town of Leiston, and put pressure on local facilities and amenities. An estimated 3000 workers would be accommodated in a temporary campus of stacked shipping containers on the outskirts of Eastbridge and thousands more would be accommodated in local housing and caravan sites or would commute daily to the area. We can expect a boom & bust economy - landlords may gain but the cost of renting and buying will be pushed up even higher for local people, and the tourism economy is likely to be badly affected (who would want to come and sit in a traffic jam to take a holiday on the doorstep of Europe’s biggest building site?)

It will cause traffic chaos
Our rural roads are totally unsuited to the huge influx of lorries and other traffic (up to 12000 extra vehicles a day) that Sizewell will bring every day for a decade or longer. This will cause traffic chaos, clogging up roads across east Suffolk and making journeys to school, work or the hospital that much longer and more fraught.
Night-time trains will be really noisy for residents living nearby and large-scale shipping delivering by sea to Sizewell beach itself will have huge adverse impacts for beach visitors in Sizewell, Dunwich and Thorpeness, and for marine life.

• Air quality across east Suffolk will be affected adversely
We suffer from high ozone pollution in this area when we get sunny settled weather (ozone pollution here is often the worst in the country). The pollutants from Sizewell C traffic and construction could make this a lot worse. Small particulate matter is also a huge concern from road traffic (including tyre, brake and road wear, not just exhausts), especially as there are no safe levels for this type of pollutant that can penetrate into all organs of the body including the brain. Construction, together with spoil heaps the height of 10 storey buildings, will also create dangerous problems with airborne pollution for nearby residents and for precious protected habitats, including Minsmere.

• This area doesn’t have the water that is needed for this project
Sizewell C needs up to 4 million litres of drinking water every day, much of this needed for the production of thousands of tonnes of concrete. Northumbrian Water who are responsible for local water supplies in this region have confirmed they cannot provide a drop of water to Sizewell C as this would jeopardise supplies to households and businesses in this region. So EDF now plan to bring water in each day by tanker, then build a desalination plant on site (meaning more pollutants in the air and the sea) and finally dig a 28 kilometer pipeline from Barsham to bring water from the Waveney valley, causing yet more disruption to local people and landscapes.

Millions of fish will be killed
Sizewell C will have a huge impact on our seas and marine life if it goes ahead.
The massive new water cooling plant will result in the death of millions of fish every year and decimate smaller marine life. The construction and operation of Sizewell C, the shipping of bulk materials to the site and the operation of the proposed desalination plant will result in large increases in toxic contaminants in the sea. The warmer waters and loss of competition could result in more jellyfish blooms too. Swimming in the sea here is really popular with local people and visitors - but how safe this will be if Sizewell C goes ahead?

Low quality and short-term jobs, causing problems for existing businesses
EDF have promised local jobs, especially for young people. But most skilled workers will be brought here from Hinkley C (that’s one of the ways they hope to deliver Sizewell C more cheaply than Hinkley C). Local jobs will tend to low paid and short-term - and many workers will be recruited from existing jobs in the local area. Already local businesses are having trouble recruiting the workers they need - this will only get worse causing more problems for local businesses and residents. What’s more, the cost per job is huge. There are so many other ways this huge investment of our money could be spent to create more and better jobs locally that really could help improve local lives and address the climate emergency.
And it’s worth noting that ‘local’ for EDF means anywhere within 90 minutes commute of Sizewell - so not that local and you can expect a lot more cars on the road from all directions.

• It would leave a terrible legacy to future generations on our eroding coast
Our coast has been eroding for thousands of years - most of Dunwich (once one of the biggest towns in East Anglia), part of Aldeburgh, and most recently Orford Ness Lighthouse - have all been lost to the sea. Our coastline is sandy and fragile. And we know that climate change will make things a lot worse, bringing an unpredictable rise in sea levels and more frequent and stronger storm surges in coming years and decades.
Because the site for Sizewell C is too small for all that is planned, its sea defences are going to be much closer to the sea than they are for Sizewell A & B, decimating precious shingle habitats. And they will be 14 meters high - the height of 3 double-decker buses. And that is only their initial height: it is expected that they will need to keep being increased in height in future years.

• Nuclear energy is high risk
Nuclear energy is inherently risky - so much so that it is impossible to get insurance for your home or business that covers you against any loss caused by a nuclear incident. So if something goes wrong, we stand to lose everything. Given Sizewell C’s precarious position on our sandy eroding coast, this is a huge concern for future generations. Isn’t the legacy of climate change bad enough without us also leaving a nuclear timebomb of nearly 4000 tonnes of waste here on our coast for our children to deal with?

• Nuclear energy is inflexible and unreliable
EDF like to tell us how reliable nuclear energy is but in fact regular planned ‘outages’ of a month or so every 18-24 months are necessary to refuel the reactor and remove the highly toxic spent fuel for storage. Unplanned shutdowns can be really lengthy too. Only this year Sizewell B had to be shut down for unplanned maintenance due to safety concerns - see https://www.newcivilengineer.com/latest/safety-concerns-delay-sizewell-b-nuclear-reactor-reopening-by-three-months-18-05-2021/.
If electricity demand reduces for any reason - as happened last year due to Covid lockdowns - nuclear is much too inflexible to respond: it’s either on or it’s off. Not exactly the smart energy we need to power our future demand.

• Nuclear energy may be supporting nuclear weapons
Many argue that our government’s seemingly irrational enthusiasm for nuclear energy is because it plays a key role in supporting the UK’s nuclear weapons.

It's not too late to make a difference and help stop Sizewell C: things you can do now

• Support local campaign groups
We are really lucky to have two amazing local organisations giving their all to campaign hard on our behalf and to keep us all informed. Their websites are packed full of useful information and updates, including the latest news about what you can do to make a difference. So do sign up for updates:
Stop Sizewell C
Together Against Sizewell C
And don’t forget you can follow them on Facebook and Twitter too.

• Spread the message about Sizewell C & our fragile coast
• Watch and share Stop Sizewell C’s new great short animation about Sizewell C: ‘Sizewell C, our fragile coast and climate change’. You can also see it here.

• Share a personal message using #sizewellcnot4me
Make your voice heard and seen by sharing personal messages/photos using the hashtag #sizewellcnot4me. We’re just beginning this campaign at instagram.com/sizewellcnot4me and really hope it’ll take off - be creative and encourage as many people as you can to take part too.

• Write and sign!
Sign TASC's petition to the Secretary of State for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS).
Sign this petition to demand no energy bill surcharge for new nuclear
• If you’re contributing to a pension, including through your employer, write to them to demand that your pension is not invested in new nuclear. For the big organisations you can do this really quickly and easily here.
• Write to the Secretary of State for BEIS, Kwasi Kwarteng, and let him know what you think: enquiries@beis.gov.uk. Even if the Planning Inspectorate recommend that planning permission should be refused, he can decide to override that recommendation. So showing him how much we care - and why - is really important.
And be sure to tell him new nuclear is neither green (radioactive waste would have to sit for a century or more on the Suffolk coast), nor renewable (uranium is a depleting resource and highly carbon intensive to source).
• Write to the
Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, to ask him not to waste our money on Sizewell C - you can find a more detailed briefing here.
• Let the Prime Minister know your views too. You can write to Boris Johnson by copying and pasting your message into the Downing Street contact form here.
• Let Keir Starmer and the Labour party know what you think about their support for Sizewell C by sending him a personal message at leader@labour.org.uk
• You can also write to your MP here.

• Come and create at my exhibition
Come and see my exhibition 'C Beyond' about Sizewell C in the Dovecote Studio at Snape Maltings from 15th October until 7th November and find out more. I’ll be there most of the time and will be really happy to chat with you and share ideas; you can perhaps do a bit of creating there too. Check www.flyintheface.com/news for more details or email me cbeyond@flyintheface.com. You can read more about what's personally driven me to create this exhibition here (my personal statement presented to the Planning Inspectorate at the Open Floor hearings in May 2021). And if you can't get to Snape, you can now see the exhibition here on my website.

• Walk the site
Take part in one of the Sizewell C walks - details here - or download their map and go with your family and friends.

• Spread the word
Most importantly, PLEASE spread the word - talk about this, share what you know and encourage everyone you know to take part. No decisions have been made yet so now’s the time to show the government that we really care and we don’t want this to happen here - or anywhere. We can make a difference and stop Sizewell C!

words in sand
Looking north towards Dunwich and Minsmere, this photo was taken this year on the beach at Sizewell at the site of the Beach Landing Facility - a massive dock that will be built in front of Sizewell C’s twin reactors to take deliveries from the sea from April till October throughout the 10 years+ of construction.

#sizewellcnot4me

 

 

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