Sizewell C has announced the construction of a temporary desalination plant, which will provide the project with the water it needs until a connection to the main supply can be secured in the early 2030s.
With the UK’s ageing fleet of eight nuclear power stations needing to be replaced, and only EDF’s Hinkley Point C undergoing construction, Sizewell C will play an important role in backing up renewable energy in the switch away from fossil fuels. The project is expected to be finished by 2036 at the latest and will provide 7 per cent of the UK’s electricity needs.
Desalination is expected to become an important future technology in the UK as the effects of climate change put greater strain on water supplies in rivers and reservoirs.
To reduce the impact of the plant on the environment, Sizewell C is in discussions with EDF Energy Nuclear Generation to agree on a supply of zero-carbon electricity from the neighbouring power station Sizewell B.
This will reduce the need to run the desalination plant using electricity from the grid or from generators, and will help lower the carbon emissions produced during construction.
The project, which is 50-50 owned by the UK government and EDF Energy, is continuing its discussions with the region’s water companies about building a mains pipeline to provide the power station with a permanent water supply.
This new supply will provide more water than Sizewell C needs to operate so it will benefit other users in the community, the operators said.
Julia Pyke, co-managing director of Sizewell C, said: “This is another demonstration of our commitment to reducing the impacts of construction and to provide lasting benefits to East Suffolk.
“Our desalination plant will run on clean energy and, combined with our long-term plan for water, will help build a more resilient supply in the east of England. It will also allow us to gain experience and skills in a technology that will become more widely used as we deal with the consequences of climate change.”
Sizewell C said it was also proposing a series of other measures to reduce carbon emissions during and after the construction of the power station.
These include operating a fleet of hydrogen buses to transport workers to the site and the development of a Direct Air Capture facility in Lowestoft, which will extract carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
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