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Consultation opens on new nuclear power station after ‘important changes’

Alan Jones, PA Industrial Correspondent
·4-min read

A 30-day consultation has opened on plans for a new nuclear power station, with “important changes” after feedback from local residents.

EDF Energy pledged to increase rail and sea deliveries during construction of Sizewell C in Suffolk while “significantly” reducing the number of lorry journeys.

The company said they were important changes to plans submitted to the Planning Inspectorate in May.

The update follows publication of the Government’s 10-point plan for tackling climate change, including £525 million to help develop large and smaller-scale nuclear plants, and research and develop new advanced modular reactors.

The measures include advancing nuclear as a clean energy source, across large-scale nuclear and the next generation of small and advanced reactors, which the Government says could support 10,000 jobs.

EDF said it was making important changes to its proposals after listening to feedback from the two local authorities in the region as well as residents, MPs and other stakeholders.

In a notification submitted to the Planning Inspectorate, Sizewell C said it was proposing changes which include increasing rail and sea deliveries during construction to reduce the number of HGVs on local roads.

Humphrey Cadoux-Hudson, Sizewell C managing director, said: “We take the feedback from the councils, MPs and local people extremely seriously and would like to make these updates to our proposals in good time so they can be considered by the Planning Inspectorate and all interested parties during the next phase of this process.

“We hope these changes will give even greater confidence to local communities that the benefits of this project for Suffolk will far outweigh the potential impacts during construction.”

EDF said other steps to improve the benefits for Suffolk include an increase in the number of apprenticeships from 1,000 to 1,500.

Mr Cadoux-Hudson said Sizewell C was the only large-scale nuclear project ready to begin construction, delivering the always-on low-carbon power Britain needs.

“Sizewell C will be a great British project. It will copy the UK-adapted design being built at Hinkley Point C, with 70% of the value of engineering and construction contracts going to suppliers based in this country, and can be majority-owned by British investors. When it gets the go-ahead, it will create thousands of jobs,” he added.

Alison Downes of Stop Sizewell C said: “Despite heavy briefing by EDF and the nuclear industry, the Prime Minister’s 10 Point Plan has given no green light to Sizewell C, nor any suggestion on how it might be funded.

“The pledge of £525 million to be split between large, small and advanced reactors is a drop in the ocean compared to the £20 billion cost of Sizewell C.”

The Unite union said it was disappointed there was no specific reference to give the go-ahead to the development of Sizewell C.

Assistant general secretary Gail Cartmail said: “We welcome the commitment to nuclear as an important low-carbon element of the energy mix, but we also need meat on the bones as to how these projects are to be financed and brought forward to completion.”

Sue Ferns, deputy general secretary of the Prospect union, said: “The Government’s commitment to a green economy is welcome but this plan is not yet the green jobs revolution we need.

“All of the points in the plan are sensible, especially those on renewables, hydrogen and nuclear, but they will quickly need both detail and funding to make them into a reality.

“In particular the commitment to new nuclear is important but we still need a clear commitment to building Sizewell C and a whole generation of new plants.”

A spokesman for the Sizewell C Consortium, a group of around 150 companies, unions and other organisations backing the project, said: “Sizewell C is the only large-scale nuclear project that is ready to start and it will provide jobs and apprenticeships during this parliament.

“It will boost the economic recovery and over the lifetime of the project will create tens of thousands of jobs in the UK industrial heartlands.

“We urge the Government to commit to Sizewell C.”