Third Sizewell plant given government approval

A third nuclear power station at Sizewell has been given government approval along with seven other sites in the UK.

The Department of Energy and Climate Change decision paves the way for EDF Energy to advance its plans to build twin European pressurised reactors on land it owns to the north of its existing Sizewell B site.

If approved after a long planning process, the new station should be worth up to �700m to the Suffolk economy during its six to seven-year construction process and provide jobs for up to 5,000 people.

Once completed the Sizewell C plant could employ between 700 and 900 people, most of whom will live in north Suffolk, and generate an estimated �40m for the local economy.

Yesterday's national policy statements on energy, which listed eight sites where nuclear power plants can be built by 2025, were welcomed by the region's MPs.

Peter Aldous, MP for Waveney, where many future Sizewell C workers will live, said: 'I welcome the news. One thing we're trying to do is improve the energy security of this country and create an energy coast in Suffolk. The way forward is a combination of both nuclear and offshore renewables and Sizewell C would play an important part in that.

'What we need to do is speed up the planning process to ensure we get the benefits as soon as possible. We obviously need full scrutiny and proper safety in place, but planning for large infrastructure is taking a rather long time. Enquiries can take years.

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'It is important everyone can have their say but we must streamline the process.

'The jobs created both during construction of a new plant and after the opening with Sizewell C up and running should come to local people. That means a dialogue with EDF to address what they are looking for in terms of skills and making sure people in and around Lowestoft have those skills.

'That is how we'll get the full benefit from this.'

Therese Coffey, whose Suffolk Coastal constituency covers Sizewell, said it was 'positive news' for the region.

The release of the national policy statements on energy follow a extensive consultation earlier this year which received more than 2,500 responses.

The government says the eight new nuclear power plants are needed to replace existing ones which are due to go off-line by 2025 and currently generate 20pc of the nation's electricity needs. There is also pressure to cut down on greenhouse gas emissions.

The energy policy statements will now go before MPs for a vote.

A spokesman for EDF said: 'This is a key step in the planning process for all types of energy infrastructure. ‪

'We now look forward to the parliamentary vote to ratify the policy before summer recess.

'On that vote, we are encouraged to note the broad cross-party support on the need for new nuclear plants, which has been re-stated by senior politicians from all the main parties in recent weeks. We also look forward to publication of a white paper on energy market reform before recess.'

Anti-nuclear campaigners fear the new Sizewell C plant could be an accident waiting to happen, especially in the light of the Fukushima nuclear accident after the Japanese tsunami.

Charles Barnett, chairman of Shutdown Sizewell Campaign, said: 'Don't they know what happened at Fukushima?

'The same thing could happen here. Not by tsunami but by some accident or act of terrorism.

'It is an absolute folly to build any more plants but this has been accentuated by money and greed.'

The other seven sites deemed suitable for new nuclear power plants were Bradwell, Essex; Hartlepool; Heysham, Lancashire; Hinkley Point, Somerset; Oldbury, South Gloucestershire; Sellafield, Cumbria and Wylfa, Anglesey.

anthony.carroll@archant.co.uk

lauren.rogers@archant.co.uk

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