Plans for Sizewell C nuclear power station receive a setback

Jessica Hill, East Anglian Daily Times, 11 July 2018

Read in full: http://www.eadt.co.uk/business/nuclear-power-station-in-suffolk-in-race-against-hitachi-wylfa-plant-in-wales-1-5602731

Plans for Sizewell C nuclear power station receive a setback

Government advisers have dealt a blow to plans for Sizewell C by recommending that only one nuclear power station should be built in the next few years, because renewable energy sources could prove to be a safer option.

The National Infrastructure Commission (NIC) said the government should cool down plans for a nuclear new build programme that envisage as many as six plants being built.

Sir John Armitt, the NIC’s chairman, said he was “agnostic” about whether the next power station should be the one Hitachi want to build in Wales, or Sizewell C, which EDF Energy hopes to have up and running in Suffolk by 2031.

Newly published research commissioned by the NIC found that nuclear and renewables could meet climate targets for comparable costs. Aurora Energy Research concluded that, whichever technology was pursued, the power sector would

have to reach zero emissions by 2050 to hit legally binding carbon goals.

Paul Collins, Co Chair of Theberton and Eastbridge Action Group on Sizewell (TEAGS), said his group are “deeply concerned” at the prospect of an intensified race between new nuclear projects.

“EDF is reportedly planning to hold Stage 3 consultations in January, but that seems too soon given the work they still have to do. In our recent meetings with the company it is abundantly clear that many Sizewell C & D plans are up in the air, including the questions of whether the B1122 (the main access route to deliver the development) is fit for purpose, or a jetty can be constructed safely for transporting construction materials, let alone our ongoing arguments against a single site worker accommodation campus.

“Crucial environmental assessments will also not be completed by the end of the year.”

There is also growing speculation that EDF Energy is planning to sell part of its 80 percent stake in Britain’s nuclear plants.

The Sunday Times reported that China General Nuclear (CGN) was in early-stage talks with EDF Energy and its partner Centrica (CNA.L) about acquiring a share of up to 49 percent in Britain’s fleet of eight power stations, which include Sizewell B in Suffolk. If successful, the deal could give China greater access to critical infrastructure projects in the UK.

CGN is currently working with EDF Energy to develop a new nuclear power station at Bradwell-on-Sea in Essex.

EDF boss offers to meet campaigners to hear concerns over Sizewell C

Read online http://www.eadt.co.uk/news/edf-boss-simone-rossi-offers-to-meet-campaigners-to-hear-concerns-over-sizewell-c-1-5597204

Campaigners who felt they were snubbed by EDF Energy boss Simone Rossi during a visit to Suffolk have now been offered the chance to meet him to discuss Sizewell C.

Chief executive officer Mr Rossi addressed the Suffolk Chamber of Commerce in Kesgrave recently but disappointed campaign groups by choosing not to visit the power plant site.

Theberton and Eastbridge Action Group on Sizewell C (TEAGs) had invited Mr Rossi to visit communities in east Suffolk most affected by EDF’s proposals to see the impact the huge development would have on the area.

The group says it has now received a letter saying he would be at Sizewell on September 7 and offering to meet.

Alison Downes, co chair of TEAGS, said: “We welcome the opportunity to meet Simone Rossi in September, some ten months after we wrote to him, overdue though it is.

“However, what we want most is the chance to show him our parish and the area around Minsmere – as we requested in our original letter – so that he may better understand this special place and how it will be affected during the construction of Sizewell C.

“Since we are the community that stands on the very front line of EDF’s plans for two new reactors, we most certainly deserve Simone Rossi’s attention. We urge him to take a fresh approach to tackling these cumulative and unacceptable impacts.

“We’ll be calling on him to adopt a different accommodation strategy, utilising split sites; to acknowledge that the B1122 is not fit for purpose and that Sizewell needs a relief road; and to address much more openly the impacts on this fragile environment.”

Jim Crawford, Sizewell C project development director, said EDF had met with members of TEAGs in May, discussed their concerns and offered a follow-up meeting. “We are also going to organise a visit for the group to see Hinkley Point C, in Somerset, as they said this would be helpful,” he added. “Our meeting with TEAGS is part of a commitment to meet and keep open communications with a wide variety of organisations in the areas close to our development proposals.”

Mr Crawford added EDF’s Leiston High Street office was open during the week for people to visit.

EDF Chief Spurns Locals in whistle-stop visit to Suffolk

27 June 2018, for immediate release

EDF Energy’s Chief Executive Officer Simone Rossi will address the Suffolk Chamber of Commerce AGM in Kesgrave, Ipswich [1] on 29 June but, according to EDF staff, he will not visit Sizewell, and has ignored an invitation to meet local groups.

“Despite being in post for eight months and speaking about Sizewell regularly to the national media, Simone Rossi appears surprisingly reluctant to visit us,” said Paul Collins of Theberton and Eastbridge Action Group on Sizewell (TEAGS) and Minsmere Levels Stakeholder Group (MLSG) said. “If EDF really wants to show its commitment to engagement, Simone Rossi will make it a priority to come and meet the community that is on the frontline of Sizewell C & D and that will suffer a cumulative and disproportionate impact during construction. He owes it to the people of east Suffolk to come and hear our concerns face to face and ensure that EDF meets its stated obligations before the next round of consultation.

Charles Macdowell of the B1122 Action Group said: “The views of local people and groups are not being taken seriously. We have a great many concerns, many of them shared by the local councils and others. These include the B1122 which is not fit for purpose as the sole access road, the enormous workers’ campus at Eastbridge and the refusal to conduct proper Environmental Impact Assessments. Unless significant changes are made, we will have to conclude that EDF’s consultation process is purely symbolic and that the company has never had any intention of addressing local concerns.”

TEAGS invited Simone Rossi in October 2017 to visit our parishes. Our open letter was published in the East Anglian Daily Times [2] and posted to EDF’s London offices. After eight months, as EDF said it could not locate our letter, Sizewell C Project Development Director Jim Crawford replied, ignoring our invitation to Simone Rossi and instead reiterating the willingness of local staff to meet. [3] EDF staff told TEAGS verbally that Simone Rossi would visit Sizewell “at some point in the future”, but there is no guarantee that he would hold any meetings with local people at that time.

Notes

[1] https://www.ea-today.com/event/suffolk-chamber-june-business-networking-lunch-agm/

[2] East Anglian Daily Times, 31 October 2017, http://www.ipswichstar.co.uk/news/protest-group-asks-new-edf-chief-to-visit-suffolk-to-hear-sizewell-c-views-1-5259290

[3] EDF’s reply can be viewed at https://www.dropbox.com/s/j8jcjv2oi1o4l8i/EDFLetter22June2018.jpeg

 

Wylfa Reaction 5 June 2018

Reaction to UK Government investment in Hitachi’s Wylfa Project

5 June 2018: Greg Clark’s statement to Parliament on 4 June confirmed what EDF have told local campaigners; that there are intense discussions ongoing with the UK Government about the funding of new twin reactors at Sizewell. The announcement that the Government is prepared to take a multi-billion pound stake in Wylfa will naturally raise expectations that similar direct investment will be available to other new nuclear projects, despite the Secretary of State’s statement that private funding models are preferred. In recent months, EDF Chief Executive Simone Rossi has made it clear that “this must be the year” in which EDF determines the feasibility of its Sizewell project. Indeed such a demand has already been made by Barrow and Furness’ MP for the NuGen project at Moorside in Cumbria.

Charles Macdowell of the B1122 Action Group said: “We need urgent assurances that this change in government policy – to directly invest in new nuclear projects – will be accompanied by significant guarantees that local communities will be protected as much as possible from the negative environmental and social impact to which they will be exposed. Here in Suffolk that includes removing construction traffic from our country road, and dispersing accommodation for 2,400 construction workers.”

Paul Collins of TEAGS added: “EDF have repeatedly said that they expect to be able to slash the budget for building Sizewell C and D, and this raises serious concerns that the environmental impacts on this area of internationally protected habitats, surrounded by an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty will not be properly addressed. We note that Simone Rossi is visiting Suffolk at the end of June and repeat our request to meet with him and impress upon him the concerns we have for this tranquil and beautiful area.”

Reaction Simone Rossi Sizewell Feasibility

4 April 2018

The Times today quoted Simone Rossi of EDF as saying about Sizewell C, “This is the year where we need to understand whether this whole thing is really feasible or not. If we were to conclude that maybe it’s not feasible, then at that point maybe we say we are not in a position to continue the project.” The paper reported that EDF was threatening to halt development of Sizewell C unless it received assurances that a viable funding model existed. [1] EDF later reportedly distanced itself from The Times article. [2]

Reacting to these reports, Paul Collins and Alison Downes of Theberton and Eastbridge Action Group on Sizewell said:

“This is the second story this year concerning EDF’s desperation to save costs. Our almost non-existent faith that EDF will work in the best interests of east Suffolk’s environment and communities has taken yet another blow. It seems impossible that the aspirations of the project being an environmental exemplar, or the adoption of creative approaches to tackling issues such as transport and worker accommodation will be realised. Ultimately this special corner of Suffolk will be the loser.

Simone Rossi is making a great deal of noise about the future of this project. He needs to recognise that many of the delays have been of the company’s own making, and we think he owes it to the people of east Suffolk to come and hear our concerns face to face. We further urge government and our elected representatives not to be swayed by EDF’s imperatives and to robustly ensure that the company does not ride roughshod over affected communities.”

TEAGS is advocating:
* For EDF to reveal its Environmental Impact Assessments and demonstrate how its construction proposals reflect the very special circumstances of Suffolk’s Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and its unique environmentally-sensitive habitats including RSPB Minsmere, and how it will minimise habitat destruction, hydrology impacts, noise, light pollution and disruption to wildlife and visitors.
* An accommodation strategy fully integrated with the needs of local people for affordable housing. Despite strong objections, after Stage 1 EDF narrowed its options to a single location for a campus for 2,400 workers at Eastbridge, prematurely discarding other sites that have potential for legacy housing. Independent consultants Boyer and Cannon have identified a number of other possible sites with this potential.
* A dedicated access road. EDF admitted in November 2017 that road transportation is one of the most challenging aspects of the project and that it does not yet know if the B1122 or the junction with the A12 at Yoxford are fit for purpose.
* An open and transparent approach to understanding coastal processes and landside hydrology. EDF have to date avoided discussions on these issues with relevant stakeholders such as Suffolk Coast Against Retreat.

Notes
1. The Times https://www.thetimes.co.uk/…/nuclear-site-in-danger-without….
2. East Anglian Daily Times http://www.eadt.co.uk/…/edf-denies-threat-to-abandon-work-o…

Campaigners concerned that cost cutting will affect mitigation

Sizewell C could pump £200m into region’s economy every year

PUBLISHED: 15:29 17 January 2018 |

EDF Energy CEO Simone Rossi. Picture: EDF ENERGY

EDF Energy CEO Simone Rossi. Picture: EDF ENERGY

EDF Energy officials said the Suffolk nuclear twin reactor power plant could cost 20% less than anticipated, and the project could inject up to £200 million a year into the county’s economy.

EDF Energy CEO Simone Rossi chatting to guests about his visit to Hinkley Point C. Picture: EDF ENERGYEDF Energy CEO Simone Rossi chatting to guests about his visit to Hinkley Point C. Picture: EDF ENERGY
On a visit to see the progress on the £20bn Hinkley Point C (HPC) complex, EDF Energy chief executive Simone Rossi said there was potential to “significantly reduce” costs for Sizewell C.

 

He said: “The key to reducing the construction cost is replication. Doing something again with the same design makes it easier and cheaper. Let me give you an example.

“HPC has eight emergency generators. They had to be designed and certified to meet the standards required for nuclear safety.

“That means the first two will cost £38m, but the next six will be half the price. At Sizewell, none of that development or certification work needs to be done again. All its emergency generators will be at the lower price.

EDF Energy CEO Simone Rossi. Picture: EDF ENERGYEDF Energy CEO Simone Rossi. Picture: EDF ENERGY

“Repeating that experience countless times for a power station at Sizewell that is largely identical to Hinkley Point C makes a capital cost reduction of 20% possible.”

Sizewell C could also be cheaper because the site has a grid connection capable of handling a bigger power station which could mean “substantial savings”.

Mr Rossi said the company and Government were exploring “alternative financing models” that can create the conditions where institutional investors like pension funds can participate when they were not able to before, again cutting costs.

Jim Crawford, EDF Energy’s nuclear development director for the proposed Sizewell C station, said the promised impact on skills and jobs in Somerset was already coming to fruition.

He said: “An estimated £200m is being spent in the south-west regional economy every year through the project. I will work hard in our region to bring the same benefits to the east from Sizewell C, as well as Bradwell B in Essex.

“I know Suffolk and the wider region can take advantage of the opportunities offered due to the entrepreneurial spirit of local business and the talent of people working in education, training and economic development.”

“EDF Energy has now been through two stages of formal consultation at Sizewell C and we are working with the Government over the coming months to see if we can take the project forward. We’re doing that because we see a unique opportunity for the proposed power station to provide the country with reliable, low carbon electricity at a significantly lower price than Hinkley Point C.

“That’s because Sizewell C will almost be identical to Hinkley Point.

“Repeating the approved design – already adapted for Britain – will save a lot of money.

“The chance for customers to benefit from these cost reductions means it would be a missed opportunity if we didn’t try to make Sizewell C happen. Nuclear contributes more jobs than other technologies too – not just the 5,600 who will build the power station, but also the 900 who will operate it for many decades.

“Sizewell C also matters because Britain still needs to have reliable low carbon energy source like nuclear in its future energy mix. We have a lot of wind in Britain and windfarms like those off Suffolk’s coast have an important and growing part to play in Britain’s energy future.

“EDF Energy supports wind development and thinks there should be as much as reasonably possible where the wind is strongest, in Scotland and offshore. That makes sense because wind prices have fallen in recent years. But wind can’t provide all the answers.

“Britain needs a low carbon energy that is reliable. With wind there is too little – or too much and the back-up power is an extra cost. Batteries have a role to play but the very high costs of battery storage over long periods means it is best suited for balancing our grid over minutes rather than hours. The UK just isn’t sunny enough for solar to provide energy to match demand.”

Campaigners though voiced fears that shaving up to £4billion off the cost of Sizewell C could hit mitigation measures.

Paul Collins and Alison Downes, of Theberton and Eastbridge Action Group on Sizewell, said there cannot be a “one size fits all” approach.

They said: “This leaves us concerned that our environment and our communities will become victims of EDF’s cost-cutting, and that measures we consider vital – such as a dedicated access road and an accommodation strategy fully integrated with the needs of local people for affordable housing – will be swept aside.

“The fragile Sizewell coast, that hosts unique environmentally-sensitive habitats and RSPB Minsmere, requires a complex and highly considered approach.

“EDF’s proposals must reflect the very special circumstances of Suffolk’s Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and we urge Simone Rossi to come to Suffolk and see for himself.”

EDF to consider alternative transport routes and sites for SZC workers’ campus

Read online.  East Anglian Daily Time, 17 November 2017 by Richard Cornwell

Alternative sites for an accommodation complex for 2,400 power station construction workers will be examined in detail – and have not been ruled out at this stage.

Officials from EDF Energy say they will also examine the possibility of further improvements to the B1122 road from the A12 at Yoxford to Leiston.

EDF’s preferred site for the Sizewell C workers’ campus is near Eastbridge and Minsmere, but has generated fierce objection from campaigners worried about its impact on the environment and from people living nearby.

Consultants Boyer and Cannon working for Suffolk County Council have suggested a number of alternative locations, near Saxmundham and Leiston, plus splitting accommodation across several sites.

Last night officials from EDF met with representatives of parish councils and a wide range of organisations to report back on the feedback – more than 1,000 responses – to the Sizewell C stage two consultation, which closed in February.

Carly Vince, head of strategic planning for EDF Energy Nuclear New Build, said the company would be considering each of the sites put forward by the county council consultants and would report back on these as part of the stage three consultation to either justify a new site or to justify the Eastbridge option.

She said Eastbridge had become the preferred option after the stage one consultation when other sites were rejected, and other potential locations had already been ruled out before this as part of initial preparatory work.

Eastbridge is EDF’s preferred site because it would be on the doorstep of the construction site, allowing workers to walk to work, taking cars off the road, allow better management of the workforce, and reduce demand for short-term accommodation elsewhere, limiting impact on the tourist and private housing sector.

She said: “We will look at each in more detail in terms of the environmental impact, the effect on community and functionality. We have not ruled out any sites.”

EDF has proposed a new junction at the A12/B1122 at Yoxford, either traffic lights or a roundabout, which is preferred by the public and is needed because the junction is nearing capacity, and also some improvements along the B1122. The route will be reassessed to see if more work is required.

EADT – Protest group asks new EDF chief to visit Suffolk to hear Sizewell C views

Members of Sizewell C protest group TEAGS with protest banners outside Endeavour House before a Suffolk County Council cabinet meeting. Picture: GREGG BROWN

Members of Sizewell C protest group TEAGS with protest banners outside Endeavour House before a Suffolk County Council cabinet meeting. Picture: GREGG BROWN

Campaigners have invited EDF Energy’s new boss to meet them and see first-hand the area which will be affected by Sizewell C, should the twin reactor nuclear power station be built

Alison Downes and Paul Collins, co chairs of Theberton & Eastbridge Action Group on Sizewell C (TEAGS), have issued the invitation to Simone Rossi, who takes over today as the company’s new chief executive. [Read the Open Letter here.]

TEAGS wants to put its concerns to Mr Rossi face-to-face and give him a guided tour of the area, including Minsmere and the county’s Heritage Coast, and Theberton and Eastbridge, on the front line of the plans for Sizewell.

His predecessor Vincent de Rivaz said only this week that he expected Sizewell C to be built and generating electricity by 2031.

In their open letter to Mr Rossi, Ms Downes and Mr Collins said: “As EDF’s proposals currently stand, 2,400 construction workers are to be housed in temporary accommodation on the boundary of the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and 900 lorries will be pounding down a country road through our villages, shaking listed buildings and residents alike.

“We are currently awaiting feedback on EDF’s second stage consultation, but unless radical changes are made, we will be forced to conclude that the consultations are purely symbolic and that EDF has never had any intention of addressing our concerns.

“We hope that you will help to repair relations with our community by visiting us, so that we may discuss our concerns directly with you.”

They said Mr Rossi, in his new role, had “an opportunity to bring a fresh approach to tackling the cumulative and unacceptable impacts” of constructing Sizewell C.

These included the social and environmental consequences of the workers’ campus and urged him to re-examine all options including split-sites; the impact of a “massive increase” in heavy vehicles using the B1122, congestion at its A12 junction, and the need for a Sizewell Relief Road, as proposed for Sizewell B; and the “cumulative impact on the fragile environment” of the Minsmere and Sizewell levels, surrounding the AONB and on the tourist-based economy of the east Suffolk area.

EDF Energy did not wish to comment on TEAGS’ letter to Mr Rossi.

Letter to the Editor, EADT 16 September 2017

Our letter in response to Paul Geater’s article in the East Anglian Daily Times was published by the EADT on 16 September.

The Writing on the Wall for Sizewell C?

It was heartening to read Paul Geater (14 September) adding his voice to the growing chorus questioning whether we should shackle future generations to the huge – and increasingly uncompetitive – costs of nuclear power. As he says, within a few years, off shore wind will be producing electricity at half the cost.

With June’s damming report from the National Audit Office about how Hinkley Point was a bad deal, and the government’s review into cost-effective energy due next month, perhaps the UK’s commitment to massive new nuclear developments will at last begin to unravel. However in the meantime, EDF will continue to advance its plans for the construction of Sizewell C and to ignore the vociferous representations from local communities about the impact and human cost of its proposals.

Paul Geater rightly describes the blight for Eastbridge and Theberton which will result from the proposed five storey ‘temporary’ accommodation campus ‘built not so much on their doorstep as in their front room’. But EDF plans are even direr – with huge excavations and 40 metre high spoil heaps 100 yards from Eastbridge, not to mention the dust and noise from excavating machinery and dumper trucks.

EDF will very shortly be revealing which of their plans they are prepared to modify in the light of community objections to its Stage 2 proposals earlier this year. At the very least, we would expect EDF to commit to a full review of its accommodation plans in the light of the independent report published in July by Boyer and Cannon, commissioned by Suffolk County Council, which demonstrated that there were several alternative sites – including the option of split sites – with considerably reduced impacts to the Eastbridge site, that offered the legacy potential of much needed and affordable, permanent housing.

Our region and our precious environment deserves no less.

Alison Downes & Paul Collins
Co Chairs,
Theberton & Eastbridge Action Group on Sizewell C (TEAGS)

Is this the end of the nuclear age? Why the writing is on the wall for Sizewell C plans

Is this the end of the nuclear age? Why the writing is on the wall for Sizewell C plans

By Paul Geater, East Anglian Daily Times, 14 September 2017

All my life, nuclear power has been a part of Suffolk life – and for 50 years it has felt as if it would always be there.

As a child in the 1960s I remember Sizewell power station (later Sizewell A) being built just down the road from our home near Leiston.

As a young reporter in the early 1980s I remember the Sizewell B inquiry, and for three years I covered the construction of that plant as our Leiston-based reporter.

But an announcement earlier this week indicated to me that Sizewell C will never be built.

It suggested that nuclear energy, for years seen as the cutting edge of technology, is now out of date – and due to be consigned to the history books.

This week it was confirmed that electricity from offshore wind turbines was now cheaper than it is from nuclear power stations – and that within a few years it will be only half the cost.

And wind and solar power is now becoming much more reliable. Huge new offshore turbines can now add significant power to the grid with only a light breeze.

You might need extra power capacity to come on and go off during weather dips – but nuclear is not the technology to supply that. Nuclear plants have to be on all the time; you can’t switch them on and off in a matter of seconds.

For Suffolk, that has a tremendous impact, and it does need us to reconsider much of what we have considered as the future direction of the county’s development. But in essence it could turn out to be really good news.

What is the point of going ahead with a new Sizewell C nuclear plant? Isn’t it more sensible to start looking at building more wind turbines in the North Sea.

And, whisper it quietly, it makes even more sense to build more onshore wind turbines. Their power is cheaper than the offshore wind farms. It is ludicrous not to develop more of them.

I know many people seem to think these things are the work of Satan himself – but we really do have to get real!

Some vociferous critics might not like their look, feeling that “modern architecture” is out of place in the countryside, but I’m not the only person to think wind turbines can add interest to a landscape and are a fine 21st century architectural contribution to Britain’s built environment.

I don’t look at the end of the nuclear era with any great sense of triumph or satisfaction. I still see nuclear plants as an important green power generation contribution of their time. They are better for the planet than huge coal, gas or oil power stations. I’ve always considered myself to be pro-nuclear.

But they do have safety issues that cost billions to overcome – and make the cost of their electricity uneconomic. There is none of this baggage with wind or solar power.

If I’m right and this renewable news does prove to be the death-knell for Sizewell C plans, there will be relief in the villages around Eastbridge and Theberton that were going to be blighted by a huge campus built not so much on their doorstep as in their front hall!

But it will prompt concern for villages along the A12 who saw EDF cash as the way of ensuring they finally get the Four Villages by-pass.

It is wise that the proposals for the by-pass, published earlier this week, are not dependent on EDF funding. But clearly the financial backing of a huge energy giant would have helped.

Now the county council will have to promote the route to the Government and New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership by stressing the links to Lowestoft and the offshore energy industry.

That has to be the future for Suffolk’s energy coast – and the figures suggest there could be a really bright future for the offshore energy industry that our ports are well-placed to support.

Of course, the Sizewell nuclear power stations will continue to be a feature of the coast for many more decades – Sizewell B will carry on generating until the middle of the century – but it’s difficult to see the nuclear dynasty continuing.

The fact is our technology has moved on – and we need to face that fact.