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UK govt goes ahead, seeks financial backing for Sizewell nuclear project, despite strong objections on environmental grounds, especially about water use.

It bears noting that EDF was refused planning consent from Suffolk County Council and the Planning
Inspectorate in 2020 on the grounds that insufficient information was provided about the project’s impacts on local communities and nature.


Particular concerns included procuring water and potential impacts on the local nature reserve.

The UK Government has confirmed approval for the Sizewell C nuclear power
plant after Chancellor Jeremy Hunt moved to back proceeding with the
development at this month’s Autumn Statement. The Department for Business,
Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) has stated that the Government will
take a £679m stake in the 3.2GW project and will urge China General Nuclear
to end its involvement.

It will allocate a multi-million-pound package to
cover buy-out costs, commercial arrangements and tax. This is a significant
increase from the £100m option fee contribution for Sizewell C which the
Government confirmed back in January. It will see the Government becoming a
50% shareholder in the project’s development phase. BEIS has stated that
EDF, which is developing the power plant, will “provide additional
investment to match the Government’s stake”.

But with the total project
cost sitting around £20bn, it is clear that additional backers will need to
be found. Sizewell C will be the UK’s first project to use a new funding
model for nuclear, the Regulated Asset Base (RAB) model. This model
provides investors with regular returns before a plant begins generating
power. It has replaced the previous Contracts for Difference (CfD) approach
to nuclear funding due to the passage of the Nuclear Energy (Financing)
Bill earlier this year, when Kwasi Kwarteng was in the top job at BEIS.


Some local community groups and major environmental groups have argued that
BEIS rushed the decision on Sizewell C without accounting for key
information on impacts such as water extraction and disrupting wildlife.

On the former point, Sizewell B uses about 800,000 litres of potable water
each day. Friends of the Earth moved in August to launch a legal challenge
to BEIS over the Sizewell C approval decision. It bears noting that EDF was
refused planning consent from Suffolk County Council and the Planning
Inspectorate in 2020 on the grounds that insufficient information was
provided about the project’s impacts on local communities and nature.
Particular concerns included procuring water and potential impacts on the
local nature reserve.

The Planning Inspectorate stated that “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”.

Friends of the Earth argued that, when it launched its challenge, no more information had
been provided or considered about Sizewell C’s nature and water footprint.

Edie 29th Nov 2022

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November 30, 2022 - Posted by | UK, water

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