Professor says climate change is the 'overriding issue' for the proposed Bradwell B nuclear site

By Charlotte Lillywhite

16th Sep 2021 | Local News

Aerial perspective of the proposed Bradwell B nuclear power station
Aerial perspective of the proposed Bradwell B nuclear power station

The chair of a group against the nuclear site proposed for Bradwell B has said that climate change is the "overriding issue" threatening its future.

Prof Andrew Blowers, chairman of Blackwater Against New Nuclear Group (BANNG), said that change in climate should be at the heart of discussions on building the new nuclear power stations proposed for Bradwell B and Sizewell C on the East Anglian coast.

Speaking at a hearing on policy at the Sizewell C Examination, he said: "Far from being a solution to the problem of climate change, new nuclear power stations like Sizewell C and Bradwell B, on the fragile and vulnerable east coast, are likely to become victims of the inevitable, imminent and irreversible consequences of global warming."

Prof Blowers, who is an emeritus professor of social sciences at the Open University, said there is "little justification for these huge structures in terms of need".

He added: "But, regardless of need, given the threat to the integrity of the sites and the risks to present and future generations and environments, the proposals should be scrapped forthwith."

He criticised the examination process for favouring "legalistic debates controlled by developers" rather than the "real and present danger that climate change poses for the security and viability of projects in such unsuitable locations".

The recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report, published in August, found that human-induced climate change is "already affecting many weather and climate extremes in every region across the globe".

It said: "It is virtually certain that global mean sea level will continue to rise over the 21st century."

Prof Blowers said: "The impacts of climate change on sea level rise, storm surges and coastal processes could render these east coast sites unviable.

"This would pose a threat to the security of the highly radioactive wastes remaining stored on site until the latter half of the next century."

He added: " It seems inconceivable that the defensive structures can survive intact into the unknown but worsening conditions of continuing sea level rise and extreme events that are inevitable in the future.

"There can be no possible justification for inflicting this legacy on our coastal communities now and in the future."

CGN and French energy giant EDF are partners in the Bradwell B Power Generation Company - the company formed to bring about Bradwell B.

The site is proposed for Bradwell-on-Sea in the Maldon district.

A spokesperson for the Bradwell B Power Generation Company said: "Building Bradwell B is the single biggest contribution Essex can make in the fight against climate change.

Nuclear has a critical role to play in decarbonising electricity, providing continuous reliable low carbon power, day and night, rain or shine.

"A recent UN report explicitly states that the world's climate objectives 'will not be met if nuclear technologies are excluded'. Just a few days ago the UK had to rely on re-starting a coal station to make up an energy shortfall, making it clear the urgent need to invest in nuclear.

"As a responsible developer, we also take climate change into account when developing our project. This includes using the latest data and working with experts and regulators in our analysis to design a nuclear power station which is safe through operation and decommissioning."

The comment process which allows the public to provide feedback on the UK HPR1000 reactor technology planned for use at Bradwell B is due to close tomorrow (Friday, 17 September).

Comments can be made via the UK HPR1000 website using the link here.

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