Alok Sharma, British secretary of state for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy is "of the view" that the proposed Sizewell C nuclear power plant project is not likely to have significant effects in any other states outside of the UK, the UK's Planning Inspectorate said yesterday. Sharma's conclusion followed a screening assessment of likely significant effects on the environment in other states from the project in accordance with Infrastructure Planning (Environmental Impact Assessment) Regulations 2017.

The Sizewell C project design (Image: EDF Energy)

EDF Energy applied to the Planning Inspectorate for a Development Consent Order (DCO) to build the plant on the Suffolk coast of England in May. The application followed four rounds of public consultation that began in 2012. In its statement yesterday, the Planning Inspectorate provided information about possible transboundary environmental impacts according to international conventions as part of its review of the DCO application for Sizewell C.

"Taking into account the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) Convention on Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) in a Transboundary Context (the Espoo Convention) and the UNECE Convention on access to information on environmental matters (the Aarhus Convention), the UK government has chosen to inform all signatory states and their public of the Proposed Development and invite their participation in the decision making process," the Planning Inspectorate said.

"The public in any other state who may be interested in this Proposed Development can provide their representation(s) to the examination of any application by registering as an 'interested party'," it added.

The DCO application triggered a 28-day period during which the Planning Inspectorate will assess whether the application is complete. Documents are not made public at this stage. If the application is accepted, the period for public registration will be extended to make it easier for people to participate. Full public examination is not expected to begin until the autumn. The Planning Inspectorate said yesterday that the closing date for registration as an interested party in the application is 30 September.

The proposed Sizewell C project includes two UK EPR units with an expected net electrical output of about 3340 MWe. The project comprises the main nuclear power plant facility, offshore works and associated development. It also includes the relocation, demolition and replacement of certain existing ancillary facilities associated with the operational Sizewell B nuclear power plant.

Phased construction of Sizewell C is anticipated to take 9-12 years, the Planning Inspectorate said, and once completed the new plant will have an operational design life of 60 years followed by a period of decommissioning.

Adopted in 1991 in the Finnish city of Espoo and entered into force on 10 September 1997, the Espoo Convention sets out the obligations of signatory parties to assess the environmental impact of certain activities and in doing so, notify and consult other parties on all major projects where the project under consideration is likely to have a significant adverse environmental impact in that state.

Adopted in 1998 in the Danish city of Aarhus and entered into force on 30 October 2001, the Aarhus Convention establishes a number of rights of the public (individuals and their associations) with regard to the environment. The parties to the Convention are required to make the necessary provisions so that public authorities (at national, regional or local level) are able to participate in environmental decision making.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News

Date: Thursday, 09 July 2020
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