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Bradwell B - Is it necessary?

November 21, 2020 11:40 AM

As Bradwell B's designers edge closer to approval for their Hualong One design - recently receiving the seal of approval from the European Utility Requirements assessors - the first stage of consultations closer to home has drawn to a close too.

CGN European approval for reactor design

Bradwell B team recently announced that they received more than 2,000 responses from local residents: a response rate that was 43% higher than at the equivalent consultation for Sizewell C in Suffolk, and an incredible 97% higher than at the equivalent consultation for Hinkley Point C in Somerset. This sort of engagement is fantastic, but are they actually listening to local residents?

Maldon Lib Dems have huge concerns about the scale of the development. For comparison, its footprint is about the same size as the town of Maldon. A huge, historic and beautiful area of the Dengie Peninsular will be lost for ever. Then there's the ten year timescale for construction, and the impact of the 1000 - 1400 daily lorry movements (and that's before we look at issues such as the new overhead power cables and the geopolitical issues of the Chinese involvement).

Perhaps the biggest question is, "is it necessary?" Hinckley C was estimated already to have cost £22.5b in September 2019 and is now estimated to be around the £24b mark. That makes it possibly the most expensive thing on the planet, which will produce phenomenally expensive electricity. In recent years, the UK has become almost self-sufficient in power from renewables. We think the government should be investing in these low cost options for power generation, including in the development of storage technologies such as pumped thermal electricity storage; and in revisiting tidal and wave power technologies. The UK could have real "world beating" industries in these spheres, rather than spending billions on these hugely expensive and destructive nuclear power stations.

Colin Baldy, Chair, Maldon Liberal Democrats and ECC candidate.