London: The application from the United Kingdom to set up its new nuclear power plant brings about controversies. The project has been encountering massive protest right within and out of the country. The proposed Sizewell C twin nuclear plant off the Suffolk Coast of England was submitted by the EDF (previously London Electricity Board). Followed by a delay due to the global pandemic, the board submitted a development consent for a 3.2-gigawatt twin reactor plant before the Planning Inspectorate on the 27th of May. The board claims the plant as one that would generate power to six million homes with very low carbon emission.
But the proposals have been facing huge opposition from the environmentalists and nature groups recently. The voice includes that from the Nation Trust and local campaigners who say that the government is in a haste to forward the proposal during the Covid- 19 pandemic inorder to minimize the opposition. Meanwhile EDF claims that the nuclear projects in collaboration with China would be an ample economic boost for the region and there would be 25,000 new jobs and 1,000 apprenticeships.
The project’s managing director Humphrey Cadoux Hudson says: “Sizewell C is a net zero infrastructure project ready to kick start the economy following the corona virus crisis”. On top of the economic benefits, Sizewell C will avoid 9 million tons of CO2 being pumped into the atmosphere each year. The project will play a key role in lowering emissions while helping the UK keep control of its low carbon future”, he added.
But the oppositions and the campaigners describe this as a ‘wrong project in the wrong place’. Their accusations include a range of concerns like reducing the investment from green energy sources, damage to tourism and nature and plans to store nuclear waste on the eroding Suffolk coastline. “Sizewell C would be an expensive bridge to nowhere: it will suck vital funds away from the technologies and projects that are more capable of truly transforming our energy landscape”, says Alison Downes, the campaign group’s head. The National Trust, Suffolk Wildlife Trust (SWT) and RSPB statements that the project would endanger area’s rare animals and weak habitats. In addition to that, the construction may disrupt the water levels in the nearby Minsmere nature reserve which is famous for being home to bitterns, water wolves and otters. “EDF have not presented us with sufficient evidence that these disastrous impacts can be avoided”, said Adam Rowlands, the RSPB’s area manager for Suffolks. “Without this evidence, we have been forced to conclude, given the levels of uncertainty, that the build must not go ahead given its anticipated impacts on the environment”, he added. The National Trust has written to the leaders of East Suffolk Council and Suffolk County Council to say it is “deeply concerned” about the plant’s potential impact on Dunwich Heath, an “irreplaceable stretch of the Suffolk coast”. EDF said it “takes its responsibilities to the environment and local communities seriously and our proposals will provide a biodiversity net gain to the area”. A spokesperson added: “We have a good track record of looking after nature around our operating power station at Sizewell B and have been awarded the Wildlife Trusts’ Biodiversity Benchmark in recognition of conservation work on the Sizewell estate.”