That’s the outlook for a spectacular stretch of coastline should new reactors be built there
“The Essex coastline is remarkable for its length, at 350 miles the longest of any county in England, its more than thirty islands, and its estuaries, like the Blackwater, extending the sea miles inland,” writes Andy Blowers. “And yet, its very character is threatened by the proposed new reactor project at Bradwell B.”
The Bradwell B nuclear power station would be a joint two-reactor project of the French government energy company, EDF, and China General Nuclear Power Group (CGN). The proposed design is the Chinese HPR1000. The project has not yet received its Development Consent Order and is vigorously opposed by the local community and by environmentalists and scientists.
“What is to be lost, should Bradwell B come to pass?” Blowers asks. “First and foremost will be the sense of openness and space, for this coast is a place where land, sea and sky meet; the vast East Anglian sky with endlessly changing weather, the daily theatre of blue and grey sky, scudding clouds, tranquil and stormy, sometimes a golden sunrise or a glorious glowing sunset.
“Beneath is the restless sea, the ebb and flow of the tide revealing for a while the mud and gravel of the foreshore, draining and refilling the creeks, eroding and replenishing the mudflats and saltmarshes. This vast panorama, the essence of the Essex coastal scene, would be utterly destroyed by a massive nuclear complex, with cooling towers pluming to the sky, discharges polluting the waters and the air and earthworks disrupting the land.”
The threat at Bradwell is similar to that for the proposed Sizewell C new nuclear plant site in neighboring Suffolk, also a joint project of EDF and CGN. (The Sizewell reactors will be French EPRs.) Both projects are on fragile, low-lying coastal sites vulnerable to inundation and will be increasingly exposed to the impacts of climate change in the form of sea level rise, storm surges and coastal processes. And both are situated in areas of considerable environmental importance and sensitivity that would be severely compromised by nuclear development.
That is why Blowers, an international expert on radioactive waste management and sustainable development, has written to the Sizewell C Examining Authority declaring that both Bradwell B and Sizewell C should be abandoned as a whole now to avoid falling victim to the catastrophic impacts of climate change later.