Sizewell plant flooding warning

Coastal flooding could threaten the future of the nuclear power station at Sizewell, according to a report released yesterday by environmental campaigners Greenpeace.

Coastal flooding could threaten the future of the nuclear power station at Sizewell, according to a report released yesterday by environmental campaigners Greenpeace.

A study commissioned by the group suggests that rising sea levels could cut off the Suffolk site from mainland Britain, making it more difficult to respond to an emergency there.

But British Energy, which runs the power station, said the study was desk-based and insisted that work carried out on its behalf by the Met Office showed the site was well protected.

The Greenpeace study was carried out by scientists from the Flood Hazard Research Centre at Middlesex University and has led to calls from the group for the site to be decommissioned and cleared as soon as possible.

Nathan Argent, nuclear campaigner for Greenpeace, said: “A sea level rise would flood the whole area and that would make it more difficult to respond to an emergency as well as leading to security issues,” he added.

But a spokesman for British Energy said the company had confidence in the safety of Sizewell and its other sites in the future.

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“British Energy understands the importance of climate change which is why we asked the Met Office, as leading experts in this field, to make a detailed assessment of environmental change and the impact that may have on all of our sites,” he said.

“The Met Office study used its regional climate models and builds on previous work and data studies carried out at all of our power stations over a number of years.

“The study suggested that although considerable rises in sea level are predicted by the end of the century, even in the most severe scenario a mix of measures including coastal defences, flood protection and plant design would ensure our sites are well-protected from the effects of sea level rises.”