Climate change could hit Sizewell

A REPORT commissioned by British Energy into the impact climate change could have on its nuclear sites across the UK has warned that Sizewell could be worst affected, it emerged today.

A REPORT commissioned by British Energy (BE) into the impact climate change could have on its nuclear sites across the UK has warned that Sizewell could be worst affected, it emerged today.

The study, carried out by the Met Office, found that in the “worst case” scenario stronger winds, 5 to 6C warmer temperatures and sea level rises could mean surge heights will increase by up to 1.7metres at Sizewell by 2100.

The least affected site was at Hinkley Point in Somerset, which could see surges increase by 0.9m.

However, despite the warning, BE bosses stressed there was no immediate threat and claimed the report forms part of an ongoing monitoring process.

David Norfolk, from BE's strategy team, said: “We understand the importance of climate change, and we're committed to environmental responsibility. That is why this study is important in keeping our knowledge of the potential impacts on our sites fully up to date.

“Although considerable rises in sea levels are predicted by the end of the century in the most severe scenario, a mix of measures including coastal defences, flood protection and plant design would ensure our sites are well protected from the effects of sea level rises.”

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The Sizewell B station is capable of supplying more 1.5 million households, which equates to around three pc of the UK's entire electricity needs.

The Met Office study used its regional climate models and builds on previous work completed in 2004 for BE on a smaller range of sites.

The report is the first stage of the study. The second stage will involve an engineering consultant looking at the effects of climate change on the coast.

Mr Norfolk added: “A strategy on sea defences for all of our nuclear power stations was developed as part of the original safety cases for operating the stations. The current defences in place are monitored on a regular basis to ensure they continue to offer adequate protection.

“We work in consultation with a number of agencies with an interest in sea defences across the UK to develop a long-term strategy for these sites that would take us forward into the decommissioning phase, as well as into potential new build.”

Are you concerned about the effect of climate change in Suffolk? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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