Sizewell Stage 2 consultation: a pre-consultation document contains interesting changes, including an expansion of the geographical area of consultation and presumably impact from a single 20km range – the basis of the original EDF mapping – to a new 20-mile range and a new inner range of 10 miles.
This brings in Felixstowe (maybe the port is worried about huge extra lorry traffic like everyone else) to Grundisburgh, up to Eye and Beccles and Lowestoft. Hopefully the actual report will clarify.
Pre-publicity indicates also that 300 (presumably half of the daily 600 HGVs) will not be at Wickham Market park-and-ride. We may be lucky and learn where they will go.
And sage asks: will we get an honest account of the sea delivery facilities? Hinkley will have both a MOLF (marine offshore landing facility) and a permanent harbour at Combwich. Sizewell too, we fear – a bridge / harbour on the beach, plus the admitted MOLF.
Our sense is that this sudden, long awaited consultation, is a holding operation to give the appearance of EDF progress, and we won’t be surpised if it contains even more options on roads etc.
The reason is money: EDF, despite China as a partner, is not regarded as being able to start even Hinkley before 2019 (see also below).
Nine “temporary” construction phase developments are also flagged in this “updated” consultation document. “Temporary” means eight or 10 or maybe 15 years, of course.
The document also asserts that basic questions are not being consulted about because the government and Parliament have already decided Sizewell is a “potentially suitable” site.
This is more than likely to be challenged in due course since the basic law is different: it allows the planners to turn down at least one site on the list of potential sites.
These look sketchy, only covering traffic and accommodation issues and creating more options to keep the ball rolling. The documents are full of “still working on” and “if something proves unsuitable”; another option will be “consulted on”.
As they say, this consultation looks like being as long as the proverbial piece of string... Or (and/or?) maybe it is all designed to kick the Sizewell C and D project further into the long grass.
After all, they do not have the money now, or even prospectively, notwithstanding the China monies.
We’ll do a full analysis in time for the end of the consultation period, of course. But note that Aldhurst Farm is now definitely part of the nature mitigation strategy, there may be even more permanent land take from the Sizewell Belts SSSI, they’re cutting lorries from the park-and-ride at Wickham Market but not explaining where they will go. Woodbridge has come back into the frame for the park-and-ride options as well.
The only answer on lorries seems to be that they will stay on the roads, being fed into a new on-the-road management system.
Yoxford and Darsham look like getting more of the traffic burden in any case, and the B1122 villages have to face up to not getting an entirely new road.
Some anger has surfaced there already, while the four villages aren’t, as the Anglian headlined, getting a two villages bypass at all. It’s the fourth option, with only widening at Stratford St Andrew’s road bend looking at all real.
And, as one of our sage colleagues has been saying for some time, there will be a huge harbour facility on the beach and into the sdea at Sizewell.
The new maps show the beach entirely taken into the site. The “facility” is no longer a MOLF – marine offshore landing facility – but something else and permanent and big.
And, surprise, surprise, the reduced size – very modest – of the workers’ camp seems to be being compensated for by a “temporary” – means 10, maybe 15 years – caravan park next to Aldhurst Farm at the end of the main road out of Leiston to Sizewell.
Vincent de Rivaz, EDF’s chief executive, has admitted that Sizewell costs will be a big challenge – proof of EDF’s financial agony, and maybe that Sizewell is not as practicable as Bradwell, which China certainly wants for its own technology.
The Bradwell agreement puts EDF chief Rivaz’s response to Teresa May’s Hinkley go-ahead into sharp perspective.
Not picked up by the media as significant at the time (17.9.16 D Telegraph), he said EDF’s nuclear plans in the UK faced a series of “major challenges” and in a DT interview he added that there is a challenge to “make Sizewell significantly cheaper” than Hinkley.
That’s, of course, after the still mysterious fall in cost of Hinkley from the European Commission’s £24.5 bn to Rivaz’s new figure of £18bn, including £2bn inflation which, sage says, should be added to the EU figure too.
Not exactly comforting, given that the very costly EPR’s expense is supposed to be on safety engineering.
No wider comment so far on this crucial issue, but a discussion paper by academics at a London University (UCL) have explained that if the UK wants to export electricity to the EU (China’s Bradwell choice occurs here, and Sizewell facing across the sea to Europe), all of the environmental and Euratom and EU competition rules would still apply.
sage adds, the same would go for a European Court ruling on the Hinkley subsidy price.
Unlike oil and gas, electricity is not globally distributable, so any UK excess really has nowhere else to go. And we may want to import it too if a dominant UK nuclear industry proves, as we believe, very expensive compared to the EU’s price level. Here again the EU may not make it that easy, though big industry will put the pressure on.
Meanwhile Brexit and Climate Change (COP21 Paris Agreement) as an isssue is getting some press. Outside the EU, the UK could tear up its 2008 climate change law. Expect campaigns to stop this – and join them!
China Vice-Premier & Chancellor on Bradwell: part of the UK-loves-China programme, hyping because of Brexit, Hammond and Ma Kai agreed an assesssment of Bradwell for a Chinese reactor would now go ahead. It will take, they say, four years, but the whjole project could start rolling very fast. (Times 11/11/16).
It seems energy companies have been on a drive to win business rate appeals. Not clear why – other than the obvious.
A financial newsletter called ROOM 151 reveals that EDF Hinkley have had their rateable value reduced by £3.2 million with a really nasty knock-on for West Somerset District Council, who will lose the equivalent of £300,000 from their last year’s total local budget of £1.9m.
The Guardian newspaper (1/11/16) shows how important big power station – and big enterprises’ -rates are to local communities: Sizewell B is reported as paying their contribution based on rateable value of £28,283,000 last year, about half of which would be locally retained. (The Guardian cites rateable values and actual taxes paid).
P.S. The East Anglian Daily Times reports that all business rates across East Anglia are set to fall by 6% after a Government review (EADT 30/9/16).
Government proposals to “relieve” the nuclear regulator ONR and clean-up agency NDA from removing so-called low level waste from 17 old nuclear sites have caused a row, and rightly so.
Rubble and buildings will stay on the sites, which will no longer be called “nuclear”. Truth is they don’t know where to put it, have millions of tons of it, and fear taxpayers will kick up at the high costs of “safe” removal.
Sizewell A is supposed to have been cleaned up thoroughly – if that’s even possible – before these new proposals. But the story shows how the wind blows in the nuclear regulatory industry.
Secret government papers reveal taxpayers will have to pay for storing dangerous waste from EDF and other operators
The government has finally been forced to release a policy docuent after campaign pressures from Greenpeace and others showing that if – as is sure as houses – decommissioning and storage costs rise above an agreed cap, the taxpayer will foot the extra bill.
EDF, our only current nuclear operator, would have its contributions capped, moving the risk to taxpayers.
The argument is that if the true storage risks had to be met by EDF and two other companies to come they wouldn’t be able to attract any long term financing.
The cheek of it is that the contribution which EDF will have to pay is regarded as low and and is called a “risk fee”. A “no risk fee” would be more accurate. The public is nevertheless still told that nuclear operators must pay the full cost of decommissioning and their full share (?) of waste management and disposal (?) costs.
Meanwhile – the German government has told its four nuclear companies that they have to pay up – and quick – to a state controlled fund of €23.6 bn for waste storage. This is €6.2bn more than they originally offered. That’s 33% (ish), an indication of the scale of shortfall for the UK, which has a vastly bigger nuclear “fleet” ... not forgetting that UK taxpayers are/have been footing the total bill for the first era Magnox decommissionings already.
This is an ongoing story, difficult to pin down because the number of “off-line” French EDF reactors fluctuates, some for “maintenance”, some for “inspection”, some awaiting paperwork for inspection and, apparentl,y some maybe even “cleared”. Are there 20, 15, 12 sites, or actual individual reactors ? We’ll see if we can pin it all down.
But what is factual, and indicative, is that France is preparing contingency plans for serious winter power cuts.
And suspended its nuclear de-commissioning programme for old reactors.
The root cause seems to be the “too much carbon” in the steel reactor vessels and major pipeworks. This “too much carbon in the steel” issue may also connect to falsified documentation on major spare parts for reactors which seem to have been traded at world level between different reactor owners and types.
So, for example, the French regulators (ASN) earlier this year told the UK regulators (ONR) to check paperwork and parts for Sizewell B, whose only connection as machinery that anyone knew about was ownership.
It was constructed in the 1980s, came on line in 1995, was CEGB-owned and then sold to Brtitish Energy, which collapsed, selling off (cheap?) to EDF.
One can only suppose, reasonably, that Sizewell bought carbon-faulty steel parts from AREVA, the French nuclear engineers who work with EDF, have gone bust and been taken over by EDF. They would have commissioned the problematic steel from the big French foundry which supplies these specialist parts.
There is a lot more to come out of this story, including how this carbon-in-steel problem relates to other problems of safety uprating and old reactor life extension in France. And, given that EDF is now globally known to be very, very short of money and credit – and EPR customers – how do expensive downtimes and engineering problems and safety uprating costs – and decommissioning costs – feed into real prospects for what is supposed to be a big, steady, stable, long-life technology?
Answer? At a minimum, it doesn’t look very “sustainable”, or indeed, given these multiple crises, very “resilient”, either.
Anglia Coastal Forum and Theresa Coffey MP did a real dodge job at a big Snape conference a few weeks back. Boasting more money than ever before, Coffey, now a junior minister responsible for flooding, explained lightly how this took the form of the same money over five years, and an observer noted that the new budget might cover both inland and coastal flooding.
Coastal flood management issues had only a month before been the subject of a Government-commissioned study which bashed present multiple overlapping authorities and responsibilites and gaping holes – literally – in coastal flood planning.
Press comment has been speculating that inland flooding is the new priority, especially in Tory voting areas. East Anglia’s recently decided patchwork of priority zones neatly dodges round the Suffolk AONB and Sizewell coastline.
More to come, but this Forum was more self-congratulatory than productive. New buzzword is “natural capital”, whose realities (or unrealities) are shown by the Hazlewood Marshes story.
Coastal defence money is so short on the ground that when the sea wall south of Aldeburgh was breached three years ago, flooding Hazlewood Marshes, ecologists had to adapt to a change from existing freshwater marsh nature reserve status to a new “intertidal” status. Natural England said they had no adequate repair money, and Suffolk Wildlife Trust, the reserve managers, agreed the status change.
Most useful thing about the day was the publication of a report called “Suffolk’s Changing Coast”, sponsored by the AONB, the Heritage Lottery Fund and the “Touching the Tide” Landscape partnership, written by Liz Ferretti.