Nuclear Debate Sizewell Yes or No to more nuclear energy in the region?
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The current situation


More nuclear power for Suffolk? This website asks for your views on the nuclear debate, and how you think it could affect the future of our county.

The Government is reviewing the need to start building new nuclear power stations. It is likely that the stations would be built on existing sites where there is the necessary skill-base available and public opposition is thought to be less likely.

The UK’s 12 existing nuclear power stations currently provide a fifth of the country’s electricity. Coal-fired plants produce 30% of our power – also set to close within the next 20 years. Unless new nuclear power stations are built there will only be 3 stations still in operation by 2020. One of these will be Sizewell B, set to shut down by 2035.

As coal-fired and nuclear power stations close, they will need to be replaced by other sources of energy which could include new nuclear power stations, a mix of renewable energy sources, and gas-fired stations. The latter would further increase Britain’s dependency on imported gas. While the ‘dash for gas’ in the 1990s helped reduce carbon emissions, a reliance on gas could now only be sustained by a massive increase in gas imports from Russia and the Middle East, inevitably threatening the UK’s security of supply.

The Government's current target is to cut c02 emissions by 20% below 1990 levels by 2010. On current projections, it is unlikely that this target will be achieved. Britain’s carbon emissions have risen for 2 years running.

Nuclear’s position as a reliable energy source is without doubt, but understandable concerns exist about waste and the cost of building new nuclear power stations. A new nuclear programme would take at least 10 years to generate its first power – five years in planning and 5 years in construction.

If new nuclear power stations are to be built, it’s important that community and stakeholder involvement be concluded by the end of 2006 – this means that a dialogue needs to start now. Click on Have Your Say to get involved.

KEY FACTS

  • The UK’s first nuclear reactor, opened by the Queen in 1956 at Calder Hall in Cumbria, closed in 2003
  • Supplies of uranium – the metal used to generate nuclear power – are expected to last another 50 years at current rates of consumption
  • Construction of Sizewell B began in 1988, and became operational in 1995. It is expected to remain open until 2035