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Sizewell C nuclear station approval faces legal challenge

Campaigners have begun a legal challenge against the government’s decision to give the Sizewell C nuclear power station the go-ahead amid warnings that UK nuclear plants will be on the frontline of climate breakdown.

Citing the threat to water supplies in an area officially designated as seriously water stressed, the threats to coastal areas from climate change and environmental damage, the challenge is the first step in a judicial review of the planning consent.

The business secretary, Kwasi Kwarteng, overruled the independent Planning Inspectorate to grant permission for the new nuclear reactor in Suffolk in July. Kwarteng is pushing ahead with
government plans to approve one new nuclear reactor a year as part of an energy strategy that aims to bolster the UK’s nuclear capacity, with the hope that by 2050 up to 25% of projected energy demand will come from it.

But Sizewell C has faced stiff opposition from local campaigners, and environmental groups both for its cost and the environmental impact. In a letter to Kwarteng outlining their legal challenge Together Against Sizewell C (TASC) argues that the permission by the government for the plant was given unlawfully. Represented by Leigh Day solicitors and supported by Friends of the Earth, the group says there was a failure to assess the implications of the project as a whole, by ignoring the issue of whether a permanent water supply could be secured, a failure to assess the environmental impact of that project and the suggestion that the site would be clear of nuclear material by 2140, which was not upheld by evidence showing highly radioactive waste would have to be stored on site until a much later date.

The Planning Inspectorate had rejected the scheme saying “unless the outstanding water supply strategy can be resolved and sufficient information provided to enable the secretary of state to carry out his obligations under the Habitats Regulations, the case for an order granting development consent for the application is not made out”.

Pete Wilkinson, chair of TASC, said: “The case against Sizewell C is overwhelming, as has been carefully documented throughout the inquiry stage and was found by the planning inspector to have merit. “Even to consider building a £20bn-plus nuclear power plant without first securing a water supply is a measure of the fixation this government has for nuclear power and its panic in making progress towards an energy policy which is as unachievable as it is inappropriate for the 21st-century challenges we
face.”

Guardian 8th Aug 2022

https://www.theguardian.com/business/2022/aug/08/sizewell-c-nuclear-plant-approval-faces-legal-challenge

August 8, 2022 - Posted by | climate change, Legal, opposition to nuclear, UK, water

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