Sizewell C environment and education plans take shape at East Suffolk Conference

By Marjorie Barnes | Published on 22 November 2021 | 5 min read
  • Plan outlined for biodiversity net gain in East Suffolk as independent research confirms that CO2 emissions from the electricity generated by Britain’s newest nuclear power stations will be even lower than wind and solar power. All three technologies will be essential in helping Britain achieve net zero carbon emissions.
  • Agreements signed with University of Suffolk and National College for Nuclear to ensure local skills growth and access to jobs in new nuclear build through to decommissioning projects

Over 200 business, education, third sector and environmental leaders from East Suffolk have gathered to hear about plans to increase skills and biodiversity in East Suffolk through the Sizewell C project.

The conference, entitled, ‘Sizewell C: Doing the power of good for East Suffolk’ addressed the role Sizewell C will play in East Suffolk’s economy, society and environment through the 2020’s and identify immediate and future opportunities to maximise the benefits.

The University of Suffolk and Sizewell C signed an agreement that will deliver support for the development of the Ipswich Waterfront Innovation Centre to include a Supply Chain & Logistics Academy. The partnership will also help develop the university curriculum to include higher/degree-apprenticeship opportunities needed by Sizewell C in areas such as digital skills, engineering, supply chain and logistics.  The agreement will also see Sizewell C work closely with the university’s highly regarded research department to track the social value the project has on the area.

The agreement signed with the National College for Nuclear will ensure relevant content for courses that will be delivered by regional colleges, so skills are in place for local people to work with the nuclear industry.  It will be known as The Eastern region of the National College for Nuclear network of colleges that would facilitate courses for those keen to work in decommissioning at Sizewell A, operations at Sizewell B, and new build with Sizewell C with an initial focus on Civil Engineering.

Julia Pyke, Sizewell C director said: “This is an exciting time where we are forming important local partnerships that will see us make the most of Sizewell C for local people and the environment.” Hugh Somerleyton, Founder of Environmental charity, Wild East Foundation, participated in the breakout session on ‘Protecting and Enhancing Sizewell’s Local Environment’ and spoke of the importance of industry and environment working together.

Humphrey Cadoux Hudson, Managing Director, Sizewell C, said: “We recognise the importance of the AON that we are working in and want to increase the biodiversity not just there but in other areas of east Suffolk so more people can enjoy nature and there is more room for greater biodiversity.”

Hugh Somerleyton, Founder of Wild East, said: “There is an urgent need for a multi-sector alliance to restore contiguous landscapes and regional scale, to gradually return 20% of Wild East to nature and to promote regenerative practice throughout agriculture, food and energy production and in the manner of our everyday lives to ensure a restored and regenerative planet.”

The Sizewell extended estate now includes an additional 250 hectares of land for wildlife, including Aldhurst Farm in Leiston and fen meadow habitat creation sites in Halesworth and Benhall. The project’s work so far is yielding good results and the 67hectare habitat established at Aldhurst Farm, which includes five lagoons, has been colonised by rare marsh harriers, which also breed at Minsmere.

Once Sizewell C is constructed, the nuclear licensed site will amount to 69 hectares – that’s less than 0.2% of the total area of the Suffolk Coast and Heaths AONB. Nuclear produces a lot of electricity from a very small land footprint leaving more room for nature.

The biggest threat to biodiversity is climate change. By lowering carbon emissions, nuclear energy will help to protect the natural environment.

Why nuclear is important in tackling climate change

New analysis has confirmed that CO2 emissions from the electricity generated by Britain’s newest nuclear power stations will be even lower than wind and solar power. All three technologies will be essential in helping Britain achieve net zero carbon emissions.

Like renewables, nuclear power is ‘zero-carbon’ at the point of generation but, as with all electricity generation, CO2 is released during construction, operation, and decommissioning.  A detailed and independently verified study into lifetime emissions was carried out for EDF by environmental specialists Ricardo Energy & Environment.  Known as a Lifecycle Carbon Assessment (LCA), the study follows internationally agreed standards and is thought to be one of the most detailed ever undertaken for a nuclear power station.

It showed that emissions from generating electricity are likely to be around 5.5g CO2e eq/kWh for both Hinkley Point C and Sizewell C.

By comparison, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s median estimate for offshore wind is around 12g CO2e eq /kWh and 48g CO2e eq /kWh for large-scale solar energy. All are drastically lower than coal at 820g CO2e eq /kWh and gas at 490g CO2e eq /kWh.

Posted by Marjorie Barnes

The Sizewell C comms team brings you news, updates, blogs and information on the Sizewell C project.