EDF’s Hinkley Excuses undermine its case at sizewell

25 September 2019: EDF’s announcement today about the risks of cost and time overruns at Hinkley Point undermine its own arguments in favour of proposed twin EPR build at Sizewell C, where the fourth – and final – stage of public consultations ends this Friday, 27 September.

EDF has been giving assurances that the cost increases at Hinkley Point would not hit the consumer, [1] yet EDF is known to be pinning its hopes for financing Sizewell C on the Regulated Asset Base (RAB) under which consumers would pay for Sizewell from the outset. 

“Today’s news shows all of us that using RAB for Sizewell C is a terrible idea; the government seriously needs to think again about using this model for new nuclear, where price setting would be such a regulatory minefield, given that on EDF’s EPRs the cost overruns and delays are of such epic proportions. And these risks are in addition to the huge risks of building twin reactors in such an environmentally sensitive location as Sizewell” said Alison Downes of Theberton and Eastbridge Action Group on Sizewell (TEAGS) [2]

Paul Spence of EDF’s comments also highlight the possibility of Sizewell being delayed, saying the company would be “taking the Hinkley Point design which will be absolutely completed at that point and taking the same team to Sizewell as the best way to get a low cost construction”. 

“EDF’s comments proves that the schedule for Sizewell will be wholly dependent on the schedule for Hinkley, adding yet more uncertainty, especially as further delays at Hinkley cannot be ruled out. Local people are already cynical about the benefits of Sizewell C if EDF is reliant on utilising its existing Hinkley workforce and supply chain to save money in Suffolk. Coupled with the release today of a report by the Suffolk Coast Destination Management Organisation outlining potential impacts on tourism [3], we are forced to conclude that the promised economic benefits of Sizewell C are very unlikely to be felt in the immediate area, and will be overwhelmingly outweighed by the negative impacts” added Alison Downes.

1. https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m0008nwz at 8.41 of the interview with EDF’s Paul Spence 
2. TEAGS has prepared a briefing on RAB, outlining the specific risks for potential new investors of EDF’s Sizewell C project, which is beset by major challenges being in a location known for its restricted size, environmental sensitivity and limited infrastructure. See https://teags.org/rab/
TEAGS is also supporting a consumer campaign by Sum of Us to oppose the use of RAB for Sizewell. https://actions.sumofus.org/a/no-energy-bill-surcharge-for-new-nuclear
3. Suffolk Coast DMO report on tourism impacts https://www.thesuffolkcoast.co.uk/shares/Energy-Infrastructure-projects-to-impact-Suffolk-coast-tourism—Final.pdf

Council frustrated as key questions on Sizewell C remain unanswered

Read and watch the video online https://www.eadt.co.uk/news/council-green-lights-sizewell-c-consulation-response-1-6288510

Suffolk County Council has unanimously approved its joint response to the Sizewell C stage four consultation – but said it was disappointed questions over key issues remain unanswered.

Action groups protest outside Endeavour House, as consultations take place over Sizewell C. PICTURE: RACHEL EDGE

Action groups protest outside Endeavour House, as consultations take place over Sizewell C. PICTURE: RACHEL EDGE

Cabinet met yesterday, Tuesday, September 24, to discuss the consultation and to vote on its response to EDF Energy.

More than 20 people staged a protest outside Endeavour House in Ipswich before the meeting to voice their concerns about the £14billion project.

Cabinet members said they had been disappointed the energy firm hadn’t addressed concerns raised by Suffolk County and East Suffolk Councils since the previous consultation and the apparent lack of progress on a rail-led strategy to transport construction materials.

Councillor Richard Smith, chairman of the Sizewell C Joint Local Authorities Group (JLAG), said: “Most disappointing is not what it says but what it doesn’t say.ADVERTISING

Jenny Kirtley of Together Against Sizewell C. PICTURE: RACHEL EDGE

Jenny Kirtley of Together Against Sizewell C. PICTURE: RACHEL EDGE

“By the end of stage three we had generated a list of 300 issues we wanted EDF Energy to address.

“Each and every one of these issues are important to us as they arise from what the people of Suffolk want to see addressed.”

He added: “We said very clearly at the first stage of consultation, to move forward with our report and support the power station we must be confident the advantages outweigh the disadvantages.”

Councillor Mary Evans said the consultation included a “sorry apology for a transport strategy”.

Alison Downes of Theberton & Eastbridge Action Group on Sizewell. PICTURE: RACHEL EDGE

Alison Downes of Theberton & Eastbridge Action Group on Sizewell. PICTURE: RACHEL EDGE

She said: “Suffolk County Council understands the benefit of Sizewell C will have in terms of electricity supply and hundreds of skilled jobs.

“But I am not alone in being fearful of the impact.”

Issues over the negative impact the project could have on the environment and surrounding Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty were also discussed.

Councillor Richard Rout said more information was needed to get a full picture of the impact it would have on Suffolk’s coastline.

He said: “There’s still a stark and significant lack of detail in how it will impact on ecology of the areas affected.

Councillor David Wood, from the Liberal Democrat, Green and Independent (LDGI) Group, said Sizewell C was a “monstrous proposal” and described the consultation as having been “woefully inaccurate”.

He urged cabinet to reject the plans altogether.

Protests in Ipswich over plans for new power station on Suffolk coast

Read online https://www.itv.com/news/anglia/2019-09-24/protests-in-ipswich-over-plans-for-a-new-power-station-on-suffolk-coast/

Protests have been taking place in Ipswich over plans for a new power station on the Suffolk coast.

Various groups gathered outside Suffolk County Council where the cabinet was discussing EDF’s proposal to build Sizewell C.

Some are opposed to the project, others say the company should do more to reduce the impact on the local environment.

Some are opposed to the project, others say the company should do more to reduce the impact on the local environment.
Some are opposed to the project, others say the company should do more to reduce the impact on the local environment. Credit: ITV Anglia

Alison Downes, Action Group on Sizewell said: “There are too many studies that haven’t been initiated or shared. Independent studies on road routes, how it will affect the community and the most serious is about the environmental impacts.”

Public consultation ends on Friday, with EDF likely to submit their application to the Planning Inspectorate in the New Year.

“When we’ve completed the consultation process, we’ll then start performing an environmental impact assessment. That will have all the details on what we expect the impact to be and our proposals to mitigate those impacts for the benefit of everyone who lives in this area.”

– JIM CRAWFORD, SIZEWELL C PROJECT DIRECTORLast updated Tue 24 Sep 2019

EADT 16 september 2019

WATCH: Thousands meet in Love Minsmere campaign against new power station at Sizewell C

Thousands of people were joined by Suffolk celebrities to show their love for Minsmere in the face of plans to build a third nuclear reactor at Sizewell.

Read/Watch online ‘Stop the Station!’: Exclusive interviews with Bill Turnbull and Diana Quick on saving Suffolk wildlife from SizewellVideo: Rachel Edge EDF plans reveal they would build on the RSPB site which could potentially destroy wildlife.

The 'Love Minsmere' festival in Saxmundham. PICTURE: RACHEL EDGE

The ‘Love Minsmere’ festival in Saxmundham. PICTURE: RACHEL EDGE

The Suffolk coastal locals were joined by TV and radio presenter Bill Turnbull and actress Diana Quick who spoke out against the plans to extend the power plant, in a bid to protect the wildlife at RSPB Minsmere nature reserve.

Turnbull spoke at the gathering, which saw an estimated 1,500 attendees create a huge human heart on the grounds of the reserve, just a day after chairing a public meeting where locals heard from Sizewell C opponent Richard Cuttell.

At Sunday’s Love Minsmere Festival, Turnbull said: “I live just a couple of miles away so Minsmere is right on my doorstep, as is Sizewell.

“It’s a beautiful place to come to and the work they have done here is remarkable.

The 'Love Minsmere' festival in Saxmundham. PICTURE: RACHEL EDGE

The ‘Love Minsmere’ festival in Saxmundham. PICTURE: RACHEL EDGE

“The difficulty is that is all now at risk because of the proposal to put a huge, massive nuclear power station right on the doorstep.

“[Minsmere] is a treasure chest of wildlife and we need to make sure we don’t put it at risk.

“Anybody who loves nature has got to think that’s a bit nuts.”

Quick added: “[Minsmere] is full of sites of special scientific interest and areas of outstanding natural beauty and all of that could be is going to be very compromised if Sizewell C goes ahead.”

The 'Love Minsmere' festival in Saxmundham. PICTURE: RACHEL EDGE

The ‘Love Minsmere’ festival in Saxmundham. PICTURE: RACHEL EDGE

During the meeting on Saturday morning at St Peter’s Church, Theberton, near Saxmundham, opponents to the proposed power station were urged to “keep fighting” by Turnbull.

Mr Cuttell, who was a key opponent to Sizewell C’s sister power station at Hinkley point in Somerset, told attendees to “question everything and keep fighting”, adding: “All I can suggest is persevere and put as much effort in as is humanly possible.”

After his presentation, Mr Turnbull – who lives nearby – said he was “grateful for the advice” Mr Cuttell gave, but added: “It made me feel pretty sick.”

EDF Energy says a new plant next to its existing Sizewell B and A stations is critical to meeting the country’s energy needs.

The 'Love Minsmere' festival in Saxmundham. PICTURE: RACHEL EDGE

The ‘Love Minsmere’ festival in Saxmundham. PICTURE: RACHEL EDGE

“Our aim is to maximise the huge benefits in jobs and skills for local people, especially the young, whilst minimising the environmental impact of the project,” a spokesman for the company said.

EADT 15 September 2019

Battle to defeat ‘pure might’ of developer will be ‘uphill struggle’, Sizewell C opponents warned

Read Online – Diehard opponents to plans to build a nuclear power station on Suffolk’s coast have been told they face an “uphill struggle” against the “pure might” of developers to defeat the plans.

Richard Cuttell speaking at the public meeting held at St Peter's Church, Theberton over Sizewell C. Picture: ANDREW PAPWORTH

The stark warning came from the chairman of a group which unsuccessfully opposed a similar plan by EDF Energy in Somerset, after he travelled eight hours to tell people what life could be like if the proposed Sizewell C is built.

Richard Cuttell, chairman of the West Hinkley Action Group, told a public meeting that people could face “noise pollution, traffic disruption and the deterioration and destruction of roads” if EDF Energy’s vision to build the plant next to its A and B stations is approved.

The firm believes the plan, which is currently going through its fourth round of consultation, is crucial to meeting the country’s future energy needs.

It says that while it recognises people’s concerns over the impact on roads infrastructure and the environment – particularly sites of scientific special interest (SSSIs) at Minsmere – it has put in place plans for relief roads and wetland habitats to mitigate the effects.

EDF Energy also points to the huge job opportunities Sizewell C could open up, both in construction and the longer-term.

Asked at the meeting on Saturday what opponents needed to do defeat EDF Energy’s plans, Mr Cuttell’s advice was to “question everything and keep fighting”, adding: “You need to put in as much effort as is humanly possible.”

Speaking to this newspaper, Mr Cuttell also said opponents are “going to have to realise the complexity of the process”.

He said campaigners would benefit from strong specialist knowledge and legal representation to make sure their views are heard.

However he said: “I think it’s an uphill struggle because of the pure might of EDF, its public relations team and its financial backing.

“They will throw everything at the process to ensure permission is given.”

The difference between Hinkley Point and Sizewell, he said, is that Suffolk has many more SSSIs which could be affected by the plans.

Television presenter Bill Turnbull, who chaired the public meeting at St Peter’s Church in Theberton, said Mr Cuttell’s assessment of what life is like living near to a major nuclear power station “made me feel pretty sick”.

But he told this newspaper: “I still think there’s a chance we can stop it.

“It comes down to the government at the time and money – and it comes down to the amount of noise we can make and the awareness we can raise nationally.

“Even if I thought there was no chance, I’d still be here.

“We carry on until the last day because we love this place.”

An EDF Energy spokesman said: “We encourage local people to continue to meet with us, to share their views and take part in the consultation for a new power station in Suffolk.

“Our aim is to maximise the huge benefits in jobs and skills for local people, especially the young, whilst minimising the environmental impact of the project.”

EADT 14 September #2

Read online – Groans could be heard from opponents to a planned nuclear power station on a Suffolk coast as they were given “pretty bleak” warnings of how it could change their lives.

‘Pretty bleak’: Packed public meeting warned of ‘devastating’ effects of Sizewell C nuclear power station

Residents gathered outside at the public meeting held at St Peter's Church, Theberton over Sizewell C. Picture: ANDREW PAPWORTH

Residents gathered outside at the public meeting held at St Peter’s Church, Theberton over Sizewell C. Picture: ANDREW PAPWORTH

EDF Energy wants to build the large new Sizewell C power plant next to its current Sizewell A and B stations, saying it is crucial to catering for the country’s future energy needs.

It is currently running its fourth round of consultation on the move, saying it has extensively encouraged people to have their say.

But the plans have long been controversial, with a public meeting chaired by TV presenter Bill Turnbull held on Saturday, September 14 to give neighbours a chance to hear what life might be like if Sizewell C is built.

Television presenter Bill Turnbull chairs the public meeting held at St Peter's Church. Theberton over Sizewell C. Picture: DAVE ROBB

Television presenter Bill Turnbull chairs the public meeting held at St Peter’s Church. Theberton over Sizewell C. Picture: DAVE ROBB

Richard Cuttell, chairman of the West Hinkley Action Group – which unsuccessfully opposed a similar power plant in the West Country – travelled for more than eight hours to warn them they could face “noise pollution, traffic congestion and deterioration and destruction of roads”.

An EDF Energy spokesman said: “We understand that how our workers travel to site and how we move freight is important to local people during construction.”

It added that it would also use rail and a beach landing facility to move freight during construction, and said an accommodation campus for workers would help to keep construction traffic off roads.

It has also proposed a bypass to ensure places like Theberton are not over-run with traffic.

Richard Cuttell speaking at the public meeting held at St Peter's Church, Theberton over Sizewell C. Picture: ANDREW PAPWORTH

Richard Cuttell speaking at the public meeting held at St Peter’s Church, Theberton over Sizewell C. Picture: ANDREW PAPWORTH

Protesters against the Sizewell C power stationProtesters against the Sizewell C power station at Suffolk County Council’s headquarters, outside Endeavour House

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But opponents believe that will not nearly be enough to deal with the potential consequences, with Mr Cuttell saying: “They’re going to have noise potentially 24 hours a day.”

Of the traffic disruption, he said: “People will be unable to get to places within a guaranteed time.

“A journey may take 20mins or it may take two hours, because of hundreds of lorries, buses, coaches and other transport now on the roads.”

Mr Turnbull – who lives near to Sizewell – said hearing Mr Cuttell’s presentation during the meeting at St Peter’s Church, Theberton “made me feel pretty sick”.

He added: “The picture he paints of what is happening down at Hinkley is pretty bleak.

“It’s really important for people to realise what’s going to happen and how devastating for people it could be – not just here in Theberton but all over, from Woodbridge up to Southwold.

“Everyone is going to be affected. People need to understand the extent to which their lives are going to change.”

The EDF spokesman added: “We have a long established relationship with Theberton and Eastbridge Parish Council and over many years we have listened to and responded to their concerns as elected community representatives.

“This includes proposing a bypass of the village of Theberton and significantly reducing the land required and the height of the buildings for the temporary accommodation campus.

“We encourage local people to continue to meet with us, to share their views and take part in the consultation for a new power station in Suffolk.

“Our aim is to maximise the huge benefits in jobs and skills for local people, especially the young, whilst minimising the environmental impact of the project.”