Sizewell C: Consultation starts on controversial third nuclear reactor on Suffolk coast

An artists impression of Sizewell C nuclear power station. Credit: Sizewell C

The consultation into whether a new £20 billion nuclear power station should be built on the coast has started.

The Environment Agency has begun a 12-week public consultation on three environmentalpermits for the operation of the proposed Sizewell C nuclear power station in Suffolk.

In January, the Government announced £100 million of funding to support Sizewell C's continued development, with the move aimed to attract further financing from private investors.

Sizewell C says the plant would power the equivalent of about six million homes, and would support up to 10,000 jobs in Suffolk and across the UK.

However, campaigners say that the environmental impact that the plant would have outweighs this.

In May hundreds of protesters gathered to oppose the building of the nuclear power station. They say the environmental impact will be devastating for the area.

There are already two nuclear reactors on the Suffolk coast at Sizewell close to Leiston, but only one is still operational.

The company applied for the three environmental permits in May 2020 and the Environment Agency consulted on those applications from 6 July 2020 to 2 October 2020.

Each permit is an "important regulatory permission"that the company requires for the operation of the power station.

If granted the permits would allow Sizewell C to; dispose of and discharge radioactive waste , operate standby power supply systems using diesel generators , and, discharge cooling water and liquid effluent into the North Sea.

An artists impression of what the site will look like. Credit: Sizewell C

The Environment Agency's Sizewell C Project Manager, Simon Barlow, said: “The company has applied for these permits many years ahead of the station operating.

"If we grant these permits early in the project, it will help us to positively influence the design, procurement, and commissioning of the power station, whilst also ensuring that the environment and wildlife is protected.

"We want our decisions to be better informed through consultation and want to hear people’s views on our proposed decisions."

Public drop-ins will be held, as part of the consultation, where people can meet someone from the Environment Agency.

The decision on the plant was recently delayed by the government with Paul Scully, a minister at the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy saying they needed more time.

Negotiations between the Government and French project developer EDF started last year.

The final decision is due to be made at the start of 2023.

Public drop-ins will be held, as part of the consultation, where people can meet an Environment Agency specialist.