Sizewell C nuclear project will fail, says local Green MEP


Green Party Member of the European Parliament for the East of England Catherine Rowett has renewed her call for the Sizewell C nuclear project to be cancelled as a major new report labelled the project “implausible”.

The World Nuclear Industry Status Report 2019 is the authoritative report on the status of nuclear power plants worldwide. (1) It estimates that the cost of new nuclear power has increased by 23% over the last decade, while the costs of solar and wind have fallen by 88% and 69% respectively. Renewables now outcompete nuclear on the basis of price, carbon-reduction, and speed, and the report concludes that nuclear power “meets no technical or operational need that [renewables] cannot meet better, cheaper, and faster.”

Indeed, the report condemns nuclear’s role at a time when there is an urgent need for clean energy to deal with the climate crisis. It states that the “nuclear industry has become one of the most potent obstacles to renewables’ further progress by diverting demand and capital to itself”. Even existing nuclear power plants are now outcompeted, economically, by new renewables.

The report is particularly critical of the future of nuclear in the UK. It states that 2018 was “a pivotal year in the decline of the [nuclear] sector”, as power produced from nuclear fell significantly and the industry was beset by closures, construction delays and safety concerns. The report also highlights the “extraordinary cost of the U.K.’s proposed nuclear power program”, which it says are proving “prohibitive”.

Indeed, the problems in financing apply especially to the Sizewell C project in Suffolk. The report points out that the French company EDF, which is meant to build Sizewell C, will face similar problems to those at Hinkley Point C, but would be unable to rely on Chinese investment to move the project forward.

Responding to the report, Catherine Rowett MEP said, “This report proves there is no future in nuclear. Not only is nuclear power dangerous, it is also extraordinarily expensive, and will be totally ineffective in providing us the clean energy that we need.

“Continuing with Sizewell C when we know the nuclear industry is dying would be more than foolish. We have to remember that we are facing rising sea levels and there will be ever-greater risks of flooding, with disastrous effects, such as happened at Fukushima.

“Instead, we could be investing in clean, safe, wind, solar and tidal power. Our region has great potential for renewables, and I want us to be leading the way, not saddled with an outdated, failing timebomb like Sizewell.”

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