Views sought on Sizewell C nuclear power station permits

The Environment Agency is seeking feedback from the community and national stakeholders on applications for three environmental permits required for operation of the proposed Sizewell C nuclear power station.

EDF SZC Co is looking to build a new nuclear power station next to Sizewell B in Suffolk.

As well as regulating the proposed site, through these environmental permits, the Environment Agency also provides advice and information to the Planning Inspectorate on a whole manner of subjects, including the protection of water quality and ecology; and flood and coastal risk management.

These three permits were submitted to the Environment Agency last month. They cover the controls that EDF SZC Co need to put into place to ensure high standards of environmental protection during commissioning, operation and decommissioning.

The three main operational permits sought are for: disposals and discharges of radioactive wastes; operation of standby power supply systems using diesel generators; and discharges of cooling water and liquid effluent into the North Sea.

Consultations on the three permit applications are running at the same time in order to give people a clear opportunity to find out about all the relevant information through one process.

The consultation on the application will run from 6 July 2020 for 12 weeks.

The Environment Agency must decide whether to grant or refuse the issue of the permits. If it grants a permit, the Environment Agency can include conditions to ensure proper protection of people and the environment.

The Environment Agency’s Nuclear New Build Project Manager, Simon Barlow, said:

These applications represent the culmination of 10 years of pre-application discussions with EDF SZC Co. We welcome people’s views on these permit applications and will carefully consider their comments before we progress to the next stage of our decision making process.

As these applications relate to the disposal and discharge of radioactive waste; operation of standby power supply systems using diesel generators; and discharges of cooling water and liquid effluent into the North Sea they will all have implications for the environment and should be rigorously examined – hence our consultation.

After we have reviewed the applications, our next stage will be to conduct a further consultation on our draft decisions, when members of the public will have another opportunity to provide us with their comments.

We appreciate that there are currently limitations on people’s movements and accessibility challenges due to the coronavirus pandemic, so we will be taking measures to ensure everyone can have access to the relevant documents and direct contact with Environment Agency officers, to ask questions and discuss their concerns.

The environmental permit applications for Sizewell C can be found here.

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