Information regarding three new environmental permit applications for the proposed Sizewell C power station site, Sizewell, Suffolk, IP16 4UR

Closed 2 Oct 2020

Opened 6 Jul 2020

Overview

The Environment Agency is the independent environmental regulator for the nuclear industry in England. It makes sure that nuclear power stations meet high standards of environmental protection. Find out more about our work at Sizewell C (SZC) at:  

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/sizewell-nuclear-regulation

 NNB Generation Company (SZC) Limited (the applicant) has applied to us for three environmental permits and we are starting the process of deciding if permits should be granted or refused, and if granted, the conditions they should include. 

Any company that wants to operate a nuclear power station will have to show that it can build, commission, operate and decommission it safely and securely, whilst protecting the environment and managing radioactive waste. 

We are seeking your comments on these permit applications that we have received under the Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations 2016 for a proposed site at:

Sizewell C (SZC) power station, Sizewell (near Leiston), Suffolk, IP16 4UR 

The type of regulated activities and the permit applications received from the applicant are:  

  1. A new Radioactive Substances Activities environmental permit application (reference EPR/HB3091DJ/A001): this is for the proposed disposals of radioactive waste to air, water and by transfer. Following our determination of this application, we will only issue an environmental permit if all legislative requirements are met. Any granted permit will require the operator to minimise the radiological impact on people and the environment.
     
  2. A new Combustion Activities environmental permit application (reference EPR/MP3731AC/A001): this is for the proposed operation of diesel generators to be used to provide back-up electrical supply at the site. Following our determination of this application, we will only issue an environmental permit if all legislative requirements are met. Any granted permit will require the operator minimise the impact of this plant on people and the environment.
     
  3. A new bespoke Water Discharge Activities environmental permit application (reference EPR/CB3997AD/A001): this is for the proposed discharges of cooling water and liquid process effluents during operation of the power station. Following our determination of this application, we will only issue an environmental permit if all legislative requirements are met. Any granted permit will require the operator to minimise the potential for pollution, thereby protecting the environment and human health. 

If you have an interest or are concerned about these proposed environmental permit applications, you have a chance to provide your comments. Advice about what aspects and issues we can and cannot take account of is provided below:

We can take account of

  • Relevant environmental regulatory requirements and technical standards.
  • Information on local population and sensitive sites.
  • Comments on whether the right process is being used for the activity, for example whether the technology is the right one.
  • The shape and use of the land around the site in terms of its potential impact, whether that impact is acceptable and what pollution control or abatement may be required.
  • Information that we have not been made aware of in the application, or by correcting incorrect information in the application

We cannot take account of

  • Issues beyond those in the relevant environmental regulations.
  • Anything outside the remit of the Environmental Permitting Regulations, e.g. the proposed location of the site, which is done by the local authority via land use planning.
  • Whether a site should have a formal designation under Habitats Directive or other conservation legislation.
  • Whether the activity should be allowed or not as a matter of principle. For example we will not consider whether nuclear power generation is an appropriate process or whether alternative methods of generating electricity should be used instead.
  • Land use issues, or sustainability challenges, even if it is argued that changing the location of the activity would improve its environmental performance.
  • The impact of noise and odour from traffic travelling to and from the site.
  • The legally defined process we follow to determine a permit.
  • Comments about the Government’s Energy Policy

Next steps following this consultation:

  • Our experts review and technically assess the three permit applications
  • We review all of the comments submitted to us
  • Once we reach our draft decisions we publish these and hold a further public consultation (minimum 12 weeks)
  • We then review all of the comments submitted to us
  • We make our decision about whether to grant each permit

Audiences

  • Anyone from any background

Interests

  • Water quality
  • Permits
  • Nuclear
  • Environmental permitting
  • Installation
  • Radioactive substances regulations