The Sizewell C Project

The views expressed in this page do not represent those of the Planning Inspectorate. This page consists of content submitted to the Planning Inspectorate by the public and other interested parties, giving their views of this proposal.

The Sizewell C Project

Received 20 September 2020
From Chris Wheeler

Representation

I fully support the PINS representations made by TASC and Stop Sizewell C. I strongly object to approval of the DCO application for Sizewell C on the following grounds (amongst others): 1. Need. The rapid increase in power delivery from renewable energy projects makes the need for a new nuclear power station unjustifiable. Battery banks, hydrogen storage, hydro power and CCGT stations etc. can augment renewable energy sources during periods of low output. 2. Nuclear Power is out of date. With other nuclear power plant proposals around the UK being abandoned by their sponsors it is likely that SZC would no longer be part of a viable industry and would therefore be both uneconomic and dangerous to operate due to the lack of niche skills and equipment over an extended period. 3. Spent Fuel Disposal. No arrangements are in place in the UK for the long-term storage of spent fuel and allowing it to be stored locally for an extended period in limited-lifetime casks in a flimsy structure at Sizewell would be both dangerous and unacceptable to the community. 4. Safety. The Fukushima-Diiachi disaster has demonstrated how easy it is for catastrophic nuclear accidents to occur, especially at nuclear plants close to the sea. There can be no confidence in the statements made in the application documents that sea level increases and greater storms will not pose a risk to a site that has already been shown by some experts to be likely to be underwater before the end of its lifetime. 5. Spent Fuel Ponds. The ‘hot’ fuel removed from the reactor during routine refuelling is extremely dangerous because if not constantly cooled it can overheat and burn with massive release of radioactivity. In the Fukushima-Diiachi disaster it was necessary for fire-fighters to risk their lives pumping water from the ocean to prevent the cracked spent fuel ponds from emptying and exposing the hot fuel rods. Without this action the evacuation of Tokyo might have been necessary. This level of risk is unacceptable adjacent to the populated areas of East Suffolk and I suggest is a fundamental flaw in the implementation of pressurised water reactors. 6. Design unproven. No European country has yet successfully completed a nuclear power plant of the design proposed, with time and cost overruns present at all current sites. Even counties with well-established nuclear fleets from previous decades (e.g. France) have lost key skills (such as specialist welding) required to safely construct the pressure vessels and containment. There can be no confidence in the safe construction of SZC. 7. Political Risk. Political relationships between the West and China are at a low ebb so any involvement of the Chinese state with SZC would represent a huge risk to the construction and operation of the plant. 8. Environmental Impact. And of course the greatest possible objection to SZC is its environmental impact on the Sizewell and surrounding area, including on the AONB and adjacent Minsmere reserve, road congestion, noise and disturbance to residents from overnight train movements, light pollution – the list is endless and I support the much more comprehensive lists generated and published by others. 9. Transport Infrastructure. If despite all the objections the project should be approved then it has to leave a worthwhile legacy for the future. As a minimum this must include dualling of the railway line between Saxmundham and Woodbridge and the construction of a Four Villages bypass, not just the Two Villages bypass currently proposed. 10. Better Uses for the Site. The renewable projects active in the East Suffolk have their own demands for land suitable for industrial infrastructure. Use of the proposed SZC site for these would be greatly preferable to the current proposal for inland sites. 11. Ongoing Radioactivity releases. The release of low level radioactivity from nuclear power plants presents a health risk to the community as there is no convincing proof that it does not cause serious illnesses. In particular I am concerned about Tritium gas releases which can eventually find their way into the drinking water (recent tests on local water supplies prove this) and thence into the environment including plants, animals and of course human metabolism. Building yet more nuclear power plants must inevitably increase these releases and I suggest we risk a similar problem to that of Climate Change with small releases over many years leading to terrible outcomes with unacceptable increases in rates of cancers, mutations and other health problems. C Wheeler CEng MIET MIEEE