Coastal erosion won’t jeopardise plans for a massive nuclear power station on the Suffolk coast – even if nightmare worst case scenarios for flooding come true, environmental experts have said. Surging sea levels due to climate change have sparked fears that Sizewell C could be cut off by the water, effectively becoming a so-called “nuclear island”. Even though Sizewell itself is above the flood level, with data showing that the coastline there only moves backwards and forwards between 20cm and 30cm every year, many surrounding areas are projected to be at greater risk in the years ahead. One map, from US-based Climate Central, showed that swathes of Suffolk’s coasts and estuaries could be below the annual flood level by 2050 – although its predictions do not take into account future flood defence strategies and barriers. Now, the Lowestoft-based Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (Cefas), which has been monitoring coastal erosion in the area for years and has data going back to the 1800s, said: “Really comprehensive data shows this section of the coast has been very stable.” The government agency, which is part of the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), said that even “extreme climate change and an extreme storm, with the biggest possible waves” would only lead to a “very small amount of water” coming over the defences planned to keep the station safe. Such storms only happen once every 10,000 years, it added. Tony Dolphin, senior coastal scientist at Cefas – which has been commissioned by EDF Energy to carry out regular monthly assessments of coastal erosion, using drones and hi-tech modelling – said that was “nothing the station can’t handle”.
East Anglian Daily Times 6th Aug 2020 read more »