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France’s EDF in a financial pickle over huge costs of UK’s Hinkley C nuclear project

Dave Toke’s Blog 27th June 2020, The chickens are coming home to roost for EDF for their questionable decision to go ahead with building Hinkley C -a decision they took despite the lack of certainty over whether they would get enough backing from the British Government.

Originally EDF was publicised as being offered UK Treasury loan guarantees that had been widely touted as a vital basis for building Hinkley C. But now the French Financial Markets Regulator has
sanctioned EDF for not flagging up how conditional such loan guarantees were. These loan guarantees have never materialised.

Essentially, EDF is now continuing to build Hinkley C using money borrowed on its own balance
sheets – borrowings which are much more costly than UK Government backed guarantees and which reduce its own (EDF) profitability.

The Finance Officer of EDF actually resigned at the time EDF decided to go ahead with building Hinkley C. Of course all this is happening at the same time when we are being asked to believe that the next EPR (at Sizewell C) is going to be delivered at low cost to the consumer if the risk of building the plant is transferred from EDF to the British taxpayer and consumer!

This is the so-called RAB mechanism, something that could well just turn out to be an
almost unlimited cash facility for EDF to park their financial black hole in the centre of British finances (as well as those of the French).

https://realfeed-intariffs.blogspot.com/2020/06/edf-sanctioned-by-french-regulators-for.html

June 30, 2020 Posted by | business and costs, France, politics, politics international, UK | Leave a comment

Hitachi- no plans to sell Wylfa nuclear site to China

Hitachi has said it has no plans to sell a Welsh nuclear power site to a
Chinese corporation after comments by Donald Trump. The US president was
quoted by the Sunday Times warning it not to sell Wylfa, on Anglesey, “to
China”.
Work on the £13bn project was put on hold last year because of
rising costs after Hitachi failed to reach a funding agreement with the UK
government. A Horizon Energy spokesman said: “We don’t comment on
speculation. “Our focus remains on securing the conditions necessary to
restart this crucial project, which would bring transformative economic
benefits to the region and play a huge role in helping deliver the UK’s
climate change commitments.”
Horizon is owned by Hitachi and was set to
lead the project to build the site. “We are not aware of any plans to sell
the project to China,” Hitachi told the Reuters news agency.https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-politics-53212790

June 30, 2020 Posted by | politics international, UK | Leave a comment

Donald Trump intervenes in Wylfa nuclear project discussions

North Wales Live 28th June 2020, Donald Trump is understood to have intervened in discussions about the next generation of nuclear power on Anglesey. According to reports, the US
president’s administration has warned Hitachi, the company behind the site,
not to sell it on to the Chinese government. The intervention is a sign of
escalating tensions between the Americans and the Chinese, according to the
Times. It reports today that the White House is heaping pressure on Hitachi
– which is a Japanese-owned company – not to sell on its interest into the
site to Beijing.
https://www.dailypost.co.uk/news/north-wales-news/donald-trump-intervenes-anglesey-nuclear-18502362

 

June 30, 2020 Posted by | politics, UK | Leave a comment

New nuclear disaster plans sent to thousands of homes in Plymouth

June 30, 2020 Posted by | safety, UK | Leave a comment

Sizewell nuclear plant – untried, costly, environmentally damaging, and no electricity for 10 years or more!

the government is exploring novel ways in which to lay the burden for financing a dangerous and costly nuclear venture on you, the consumer. 

The Sizewell C plans are an insult to the people of Suffolk’  https://www.eadt.co.uk/news/pete-wilkinson-together-against-sizewell-c-campaign-1-6718925   27 June 2020, Pete Wilkinson, Together Against Sizewell C

Chairman of Together Against Sizewell C, Pete Wilkinson, has described it is a “battle for the soul and integrity of East Suffolk”. Here he explains why he is opposing the nuclear project.

Anyone new to Suffolk, ignorant of EDF’s nuclear plans, would be forgiven for laughing out loud.

An untried reactor, labelled ‘technically complicated to construct’ by its own designers, a cost of £20billion-plus, taking at least 10 years to build, producing waste which is not only lethal to living tissue but which remains so for thousands of years and for which there is no agreed or proven disposal or management route, to be built in the middle of a community of 5,000, which will not produce electricity for at least 10 years by which time its output will be redundant to needs, built on an eroding coast? Yeah, sure: pull the other one.

You really couldn’t make it up.

Yet this is what residents up and down the East Suffolk are facing. They have been led to believe that the destruction of their environment on a massive scale, the compulsory purchases, the roads, the workers’ campuses, the borrow pits, the huge water demand in the driest county is inevitable – and to make the best of it.

When did anyone ask YOU, resident of East Suffolk, if you wanted your tranquil, culturally rich and peaceful rural environment urbanised and anonymised, requiring six new roundabouts on the A12 and up to 1,000 vehicle movements a day along our country roads to ferry the material required for our own white elephantine carbuncle on our heritage coast, light, noise and dust pollution 24 hours a day, seven days a week or a decade of accommodating 4,000 workers? Of course you were not asked. They knew the answer. The new nuclear policy has not been subjected to anything like forensic public or Parliamentary scrutiny.

Democratic deficit runs through all aspects of this programme like the letters in a stick of rock and is presented by its advocates as ‘inevitable’. The National Policy Statement process renders what government calls ‘national infrastructure projects of over-riding importance’ inviolate, untouchable and – yes – inevitable unless the planning authorities have the courage or unless the Secretary of State has the guts to do what they should – throw the EDF plans out as an insult to the people of Suffolk. Sizewell C is important to no-one other than EDF.

But just how ‘over-riding’ is the need for Sizewell C? The French-made film, ‘The Nuclear Trap’ makes it clear that Hinkley C in Somerset and Sizewell C are more critical to the survival of the French nuclear industry than they are to providing electricity to UK consumers.

There has been a huge reduction in electricity demand since 2013 – over 16% – making earlier predictions of an increase of 15% by 2020 an overestimation of more than 30%.

Renewables out-compete nuclear on every front – cost, waste, jobs, CO2 and time for deployment. If ever Sizewell was built, it would be at least a decade, probably more like 15 years given the history of cost and time over-runs of its flagship plant at Flamanville, before it turned one kilowatt hour of electricity.

In 15 years, we will – one can only hope – have grown out of our obsession with nuclear and invested at suitably high levels in realising the huge job potential in micro-technology, decentralisation, efficiency and conservation of energy, and look back on our nuclear infatuation with a shake of the head.

The current National Policy Statement which covers the nuclear component of the energy policy, EN6, is entirely unfit for purpose as it gives policy authority only to those nuclear plants which can be deployed before 2025 – i.e. not, Hinkley, not Sizewell and not Bradwell, none of which will be generating electricity by that date.

Therefore the EN6 policy document is null and void. Its replacement is still undergoing review and will depend heavily on the financing arrangements the government can agree to in order to remove the need for EDF to fork out for it.

Instead, the government is exploring novel ways in which to lay the burden for financing a dangerous and costly nuclear venture on you, the consumer. 

So much for ‘no subsidy’ nuclear, but in policy terms, it is legally questionable for Hinkley C to continue to be built, for Sizewell C’s planning application to be submitted or for CGN/EDF to consult on plans to build Bradwell B when there is no policy architecture to justify and legitimise any of this work or progress.

EN6 has fallen as a legitimate policy statement for new nuclear build but that does not seem to have any effect on the way the French and Chinese backers of new nuclear in the UK are required to act nor the complacency and indifference with which the government seems to take these gaping legal inconsistencies.

The waste problem that nuclear generates is probably the most intractable. In the 15 years of the existence of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, it has failed to secure a site, a volunteer community or to satisfactorily solve many of the dozens of technical and engineering problems associated with burying 500,000 cubic metres of legacy waste while ensuring that the estimated 78,000,000 units of radioactivity remain underground.

While new build waste such as that from Sizewell C is likely to be less bulky, its high burn up in the reactor means that it will be far hotter than even Sizewell B’s waste and will generate much more radioactivity – up to five times that contained in the legacy waste. How can any government or industry knowingly embark on a development programme which will create such a mountain of waste when a repository for its safe disposal is still more a matter of hope over expectation?

The only legacy Sizewell C will leave for Suffolk is a degraded environment and a radioactive waste mountain which future generations will have to deal with. Please tell your councillor to vote to remove the support for Sizewell C at the full council meeting on July 7, please write to the planning inspector to voice your concerns and please urge your MP to tell the Secretary of State to put EDF’s planning application where it belongs – in the bin.

June 29, 2020 Posted by | business and costs, climate change, environment, politics, UK | Leave a comment

Wylfa nuclear project: Donald Trump plea over site sale dismissed

Wylfa nuclear project: Donald Trump plea over site sale dismissed, Hitachi has said it has no plans to sell a Welsh nuclear power site to a Chinese corporation after comments by Donald Trump. BBC, 28 June 20The US president was quoted by the Sunday Times warning it not to sell Wylfa, on Anglesey, “to China”.

Work on the £13bn project was put on hold last year because of rising costs after Hitachi failed to reach a funding agreement with the UK government.

A Horizon Energy spokesman said: “We don’t comment on speculation.

“Our focus remains on securing the conditions necessary to restart this crucial project, which would bring transformative economic benefits to the region and play a huge role in helping deliver the UK’s climate change commitments.”

Horizon is owned by Hitachi and was set to lead the project to build the site……. https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-wales-politics-53212790

June 29, 2020 Posted by | politics, UK | Leave a comment

Sizewell planning documents reveal higher-than-expected £20bn price tag

June 27, 2020 Posted by | business and costs, politics, UK | Leave a comment

UK planning inspectorate accepts Sizewell C nuclear plans for examination

June 27, 2020 Posted by | politics, UK | Leave a comment

Nuclear developers push UK government for prompt decision on government finance for new construction

Nuclear developers press for ‘prompt’ decision on new UK plants , Ft.com,  Nathalie Thomas in Edinburgh, JUNE 24 2020  

Britain’s nuclear energy industry has said it could cut the price of power from new large power stations by more than half as it presses ministers for a “prompt” decision on government financing to support construction.  ……. 

The NIA argues that supply chain costs would fall further if it can build further scale and experience. But it warns that new projects rely on “prompt decisions” by ministers on an alternative financing mechanism to support nuclear plant construction. Executives at EDF have made clear they will not replicate the model used for Hinkley, which has been beset by cost overruns. A government consultation on alternative funding models, launched last year, is yet to report back.

 The NIA report comes as UK planning authorities are due on Wednesday to rule whether to accept a planning application for Sizewell C, proposed for Suffolk on England’s east coast.
The project, also being developed by EDF and CGN, has magnified concerns among Conservative MPs about Chinese involvement in critical infrastructure. Both Hinkley Point C and Sizewell C use French technology, while CGN is a financing partner. But CGN is hoping to install its own reactors in another proposed plant at Bradwell-on-Sea in Essex.
 EDF and CGN submitted the application for Sizewell C in May without knowing how the plant would be funded.
The government last year launched a consultation on funding future nuclear plants through a regulated asset base (RAB) model, used for other infrastructure projects such as London’s Thames Tideway “super sewer”.

Under a RAB model, households would pay for a plant’s construction through their energy bills long before any electricity is generated, allowing developers to attract cheaper finance from investors such as pension funds. But it also leaves consumers on the hook for cost overruns.

 EDF has said it hopes to take a final investment decision on Sizewell C by the end of next year or early in 2022.
  But nuclear industry executives privately suggest that a decision on financing would be required before the end of December to support new plant construction, given the timescales involved in company boards approving costly projects. Horizon Nuclear Power, which is owned by Hitachi, is also awaiting planning approval this year for a proposed plant at Wylfa on Anglesey.
 “Concerted action [is] needed now,” the NIA said.
 “There is a limit to how long developers can justify continuing to keep options open, and the supply chain can continue to invest in capability to prepare for a thriving nuclear future, without a clear signal that the government is serious about a funded nuclear new-build programme.”
Doug Parr, chief scientist for Greenpeace UK, said Britain had renewable energy technologies, “which are faster and cheaper to deliver [and] . . . leave no toxic legacy”. ………https://www.ft.com/content/e69b62cd-4cd4-49e2-81e6-50fba4d093e1

June 27, 2020 Posted by | business and costs, politics, UK | Leave a comment

How we can manage the intermittency of renewables and attain 100% renewables

June 25, 2020 Posted by | renewable, UK | Leave a comment

UK’s expensive problem of nuclear power’s inflexibility

Because of the inflexibility of the AGRs, RE suppliers are shut off first. This is explained in a recent report by the newly-formed pressure group, 100 percentrenewable uk, which explains that the inflexible nature of nuclear power is instrumental in forcing the National Grid to turn off large amounts of wind power (ie in the jargon to be ‘constrained’) in Scotland when there is too much electricity on the network. 

This appears nonsensical as the Grid is turning off cheap renewables to preserve expensive nuclear, and then paying large compensation payments to them to do so.

UK Electricity: Renewables and the problem with inflexible nuclear,  Ian Fairlea, June 21, 2020

In recent years, the share of the UK’s electricity supplied by renewable energy (RE) sources has increased substantially to the point that RE is now the second largest source after gas: It now supplies 20% to 25% of our electrical needs. This is greater than the amount supplied by nuclear – about 15% to 18%. Coal, hydroelectric, and mainly gas (~40%) constitute the other sources. See chart [on original] for Britain’s electrical power supplies in 2019.

Why are AGR reactors inflexible?  Continue reading

June 25, 2020 Posted by | business and costs, ENERGY, politics, UK | Leave a comment

Bradwell nuclear project “unsustainable, unsuitable and unacceptable” – and not a done deal

Clacton Gazette 20th June 2020, CAMPAIGNERS fighting plans for a new nuclear power station at Bradwell are calling for the proposals to be scrapped. Opposition group Banng – Blackwater Against New Nuclear Group – has prepared a 13,000-word response to the stage one public consultation.
It says the Bradwell site is “unsustainable, unsuitable and unacceptable”. The Bradwell B project is
a joint operation between CGN and EDF Energy. Banng chairman Andy Blowers said: “This is not a done deal as CGN would have us believe. A new nuclear power station is not needed, and especially it is not needed at this site.”
Campaigners say the site is not sustainable because climate change and rising sea levels leave it at risk of flooding. They also say it will destroy the landscape. Mr Blowers said: “The blunt truth is that we cannot tell what conditions will be like by the end of the century let alone beyond, when highly radioactive spent fuel and other nuclear wastes will still be on a site that could be unviable.

https://www.clactonandfrintongazette.co.uk/news/north_essex_news/18528575.campaigners-call-bradwell-b-nuclear-plans-scrapped/

June 22, 2020 Posted by | opposition to nuclear, UK | Leave a comment

EDF’s failing nuclear reactors in UK

  1. NuclearNews No 126 20 June 20,Hinkley’s sister reactors at Hunterston B (all 4 reactors have operated since 1976) have both been closed for much of the past two years. Reactor 3 has been offline for more than two years, since March 2018. Reactor 4 was first shutdown on 2nd October 2018 but was allowed a trial operation between August 2019 and 10th December 2019. The safety case for restarting Reactor 3 was finally been submitted to the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) for its assessment in mid-May and for Reactor 4 on 29th May. EDF now says it is hoping that Reactor 3 can restart on 13th July 2020 and Reactor 4 on 27 July 2020.

EDF may be hoping to restart the two reactors in July but there are increasing concerns regarding revelations the graphite cores have begun to crumble as cracks spread. At least 58 fragments and pieces of debris have broken off the graphite bricks that make up the reactor cores. According to the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) there is “significant uncertainty” about the risks of debris blocking channels for cooling the reactor and causing fuel cladding to melt. Such a disaster could result in a radiation leak and contamination right across the central belt of Scotland. Small wonder then that many local residents are pressing ONR to refuse EDF permission to restart these decrepit 44-year old reactors. (3)

EDF says it has spent more than £200 million on tests, inspections and creating quarter-scale models of the reactor cores that are shaken to mimic a quake to try to prove that the graphite is safe. EDF hopes the new safety cases will be approved in July to allow for six months of operation. That may pave the way for approval for Hinkley Point B with “pretty much the same safety case”.

£200 million may seem like a lot of money, but it’s only about one reactor’s income for one year, so if it helps EDF keep its fourteen AGRs generating for longer it will have been well worth it for the Company.

But, like Hinkley Point B, the two Hunterston reactors are due to shut for good in 2023. EDF chose not to enter the two Hunterston B reactors into the capacity market auction for the period October 2022 to September 2023. Although Hinkley Point B entered into the auction “it exited above the clearing price and therefore did not get an agreement. The revenues at the clearing price did not provide sufficient reward to take on the risk of penalties arising from non-delivery” (4) – probably indicating a lack of confidence at EDF that any of the 4 reactors will make it as far as September 2023.

Another signal that minds at EDF are switching from generation to decommissioning is the fact that the generator has announced plans to submit scoping requests to North Ayrshire Council ahead of planning applications for waste facilities to support future decommissioning activities.

As part of the preparations for decommissioning, EDF is planning to build a new intermediate level waste (ILW) store and two waste processing facilities on the B site with applications for planning permission submitted by early 2021, following a period of consultation with a range of stakeholders.

A final decision has still to be taken on the best route for storage of ILW from Hunterston B and EDF is still looking at a range of options including the shared use of the Hunterston A ILW store. But to ensure the site can move into de-fuelling with no unnecessary downtime, applications are being lodged now to speed up the process should EDF decide to build a new store.

Discussions are also reported to be underway between BEIS, EDF Energy and the NDA, to examine the future decommissioning of the AGR fleet when it is time for the reactors to come off line. As yet no decisions have been made, and those discussions continue.

But it’s not just Hunterston B and Hinkley Point B which are causing sleepless nights for EDF. As Emily Gosden, writing in The Times, points out, all of “the AGRs are scheduled to close permanently between 2023 and 2030, but all also have graphite cores that bring their lifespans into doubt.”

  1. All the AGRs will eventually exhibit some form of cracking towards the end of life says Richard Bradfield, chief technical officer for generation at EDF Energy: “There are two irreplaceable components on an advanced gas-cooled reactor: the graphite and the boilers.”
  2. Hartlepool and Heysham 1 Hartlepool and Heysham 1 are both due to shut-down in 2024. Although they were entered into the capacity market auction for October 2023 to September 2024 and EDF says “we are confident they will operate to their scheduled closure date of 2024, they exited above the clearing price and therefore did not secure agreements. The revenues at the clearing price did not provide sufficient reward to take on the risk of penalties arising from non-delivery.” (5)

Heysham 1 Power Station was recently served with an improvement notice by the Office for Nuclear Regulation after contravening safety regulations regarding the pressure systems of their nuclear reactor. The notice was served on June 4 after shortfalls were discovered in the examination and inspection of the Reactor 1 pressure vessel. Nuclear reactor pressure vessels feature hundreds of sealed penetrations which must be routinely inspected to ensure they are free from defects. Out of the 600 penetrations in one of the reactors ONR found that EDF Energy had failed to examine 11 penetrations within the intervals specified in the written maintenance scheme. EDF must comply with the improvement notice served to them by the ONR and complete the 11 overdue examinations by December 18, 2020. (6)

Dungeness B On 27 August 2018 Dungeness B shut down Reactor 22 for its planned statutory outage. On 23 September 2018 Reactor 21 was also shut down for the planned double reactor outage. Both reactors have been shut since. The regular inspections on the reactors in Kent in late summer 2018 identified the need for repairs on steam pipes. The inspections showed that seismic restraints, pipework and storage vessels associated with several systems providing a safety function were found to be “corroded to an unacceptable condition” according to ONR. (7) Measures are being taken to eliminate the corrosion, including the upgrading of more than 300m of pipeline associated with reactor cooling systems and renewal of numerous seismic pipework supports and remediation of carbon dioxide storage vessels. On 26th February 2020 EDF Energy announced further extended outages at the two reactors The Dungeness B21 reactor was due to come back online on April 20 but the outage was extended to July 18. The Dungeness B22 unit was previously due back online on May 2 but that was extended to July 8. The dates given now are 21st September and 11th September. (8)

  1. The boiler design at Dungeness was “very different” to the other AGRs and probably would be the life-limiting factor for the plant. However, EDF says the issues are “manageable” and that the company aimed to present a safety case shortly to seek to restart in September. (9)
  2. Torness and Heysham 2 The Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) published its Project Assessment Report which allows Torness and Heysham 2 to continue operating for the period 2020 – 2030. (10) The Ferret website reported that cracks in the graphite core are now expected to start appearing six years sooner than previously thought (11)
  3. ONR said that the cracking could cause debris to inhibit vital cooling of highly radioactive reactor fuel beginning as soon as 2022 rather than 2028. It said Torness and Heysham 2 will be able to keep operating until 2030 – but only if inspections to check for cracks are intensified. ONR promises to “robustly challenge” the plant’s operators, EDF Energy, to ensure that it “remains safe”.
  4. Campaigners fear that Torness will become increasingly unsafe, and warn it may have to close down sooner than expected. EDF, however, insists that the station will keep generating electricity safely until 2030. NFLA has called on ONR to keep Torness under close scrutiny. “These safety reservations surrounding the Torness periodic safety review need to be cleared up as soon as possible,” said the group’s Scotland convenor, SNP Glasgow councillor, Feargal Dalton. “Whilst EDF is having to spend large resources trying to persuade the regulator that it is safe to restart the Hunterston B reactors, this report emphasises that similar issues with ageing are likely to arise at Torness over coming years.” Councils would press ONR “to forensically scrutinise what look like significant weaknesses in the EDF safety case,” Dalton added. “In the meantime, the Scottish Government should start discussions about a ‘just transition’ for the workers at both Hunterston and Torness so that Scotland can move to a safe, sustainable and nonnuclear economy as quickly as possible.”

ONR made nine recommendations to remedy major “safety shortfalls” at Torness and Heysham 2 and raised 41 minor matters with EDF. These include “weaknesses” in health reviews, as well as issues with “structural integrity”, “corrosion management” and “cyber security”.

Although no cracks have yet been detected, ONR inspectors pointed out there was a significant difference in the design of Torness and Heysham 2 compared to that of Hunterston. The newer stations have seal rings between the graphite bricks that make up the reactor core. ONR quoted EDF saying that there could be “a systematic failure” of the seal rings after cracking. “This could lead to debris with the potential to challenge the ability to move or adequately cool fuel,” said ONR. “If keyway root cracking predictions are realised, then the safety case is unlikely to remain robust for the next ten years periodic safety review period,” observed ONR inspectors.

It could, in fact, be cheaper to build new renewable capacity rather than continue to operate these ageing reactors. This could soon be the case with Torness, especially if it has to keep being turned on and off to inspect the graphite core. Scotland clearly needs to be prepared for the possibility that Torness might be forced to close not long after 2022.

  1. Flexible Return Dates
  2. Paul Brown asked EDF “At what point do you cut your losses and close the stations permanently?” but failed to get a sensible reply. On Dungeness B it said: “For the past two years we have undertaken a major investment programme at Dungeness to secure the station’s longer-term future. Since the start of the year we have made great progress in tackling some of the complex problems our works identified. However we still have further engineering works to complete, and a detailed safety case to finalise, before we ask for restart approval from our regulator. Our present position for estimated return to service is 11 September for Reactor 22 and 21 September for Reactor 21.”

Stephen Thomas, professor of energy policy at the University of Greenwich, commented on the constantly postponed start-up dates for the ageing reactors: “It is clear, given that shutdowns expected to take two months are now expected to take two years or more, that EDF has found huge unanticipated problems”, he said. “It is hard to understand why, when the scale of the problems became clear, EDF did not cut its losses and close the reactors, but continues to pour money into plants to get a couple more years of operation out of plants highly likely to be loss-makers. It is depressing that ONR, which has a duty to keep the public informed on such important issues, chooses to hide behind bland statements such as that it will take as long as it takes, and that it will not comment on EDF’s decisions.” (12)

June 20, 2020 Posted by | politics, UK | Leave a comment

Covid-19 pandemic being used to prevent proper public consultation on Bradwell nuclear project

Ecologist 17th June 2020, Bradwell B, a proposed nuclear power plant, appears to be moving forward to its construction phase during the Covid-19 pandemic without proper public consultation.

China General Nuclear Power Group (CGN), a Chinese state-owned energy corporation, and Électricité de France (EDF), are seeking to build a new nuclear power plant in Bradwell-on-Sea, opposite Blackwater Estuary Natural Nature Reserve on the Essex coast. A statement released by JAN (Japanese Against Nuclear) UK stated: “The companies cancelled two-thirds of the planned public consultation events due to the Covid-19 pandemic. But the pandemic should not be used to avoid the legal requirement of public engagement.

 

June 20, 2020 Posted by | legal, UK | Leave a comment

Sizewell nuclear power station could become a dangerous nuclear island

No2NuclearPower 16th June 2020, Letter to The Times (unpublished) Rachel Fulcher Suffolk Costal FOE:

The Sizewell C debate is salty indeed (Alistair Osborne, 10/06/20). Anyone taking a brisk walk along the Suffolk coast around Sizewell can see clearly how unstable and dynamic it is. Defensive anti-tank blocks from World War II spill down the collapsed cliffs, and here and there the remains of a
pill box, once aloft, can be seen lying on the shingle. ‘Dragons’ teeth’ have disappeared under the sea and then re-appeared before being finally removed – some by EDF ironically. Signs warn of cliff falls, yet, sadly, a man was killed not long ago walking his dog along the beach.

EDF Energy maintains that the two offshore sand banks will continue to protect the nuclear power stations at Sizewell from storm surges for the projected lifetime of Sizewell C, including the long-term storage of high-level nuclear waste. What madness is this? Local swimmers and sailors know only too well how these shift and change. Once you could swim out and stand on one – no longer possible as it has eroded and flattened.

Equally, as Nick Scarr correctly points out, and as our own in-depth researches demonstrate, the two banks have been moving apart, allowing the larger waves to reach the shore during storms.

The power of the sea should not be under-estimated. At nearby Thorpeness, thought to be stable due to the out-lying coralline crag, houses are now teetering on the edge, despite the revetment hastily put in place. Gabions are already rusting away and the huge sand bags have been tossed about by the waves. EDF Energy says in their consultation documents that their new defences would guard Sizewell C against projected climate change and sea level rise.

Even if that were the case, which cannot be proven, what would be the result of these? For a
start, they would cause ‘coastal squeeze’, preventing natural roll-back and resulting in flanking erosion and flooding. Not only would this put at increased risk villagers living either side of the station, but the RSPB’s flagship reserve of Minsmere immediately to the north and Sizewell
Marshes SSSI at the rear.

Indeed, this would leave a highly unsafe nuclear island. Water in the wrong place at a nuclear power station can have devastating consequences, as the catastrophe at Fukushima demonstrates only
too well. Let’s hope that the Planning Inspectorate puts the precautionary principle in place and turns down this hazardous development.
http://www.no2nuclearpower.org.uk/news/campaign-update/sizewell-debate-turns-salty/

June 18, 2020 Posted by | safety, UK | Leave a comment