The Anonymous Widower

Sizewell C: Nuclear Power Station Plans For Suffolk Submitted

The title of this post, is the same as that as this article on the BBC.

A few points from the article.

  • It will provide enough electricity for six million homes.
  • It will create 25,000 jobs during construction.
  • Sizewell C will be a near replica to Hinckley Point C.
  • It will generate 3.2 GW of electricity.
  • It will be low-carbon electricity.

As a well-read and experienced engineer, I am not against the technologies of nuclear power.

But I do think, by the time it is completed , other technologies like wind and energy storage will be much better value. They will also be more flexible and easier to expand, should we get our energy forecasts wrong.

  • We will see higher power and more efficient wind farms, further out in the North Sea.
  • Massive energy storage systems, based on improved pumped storage technology and using new technology from companies like Highview Power, Zinc8 and others will be built.
  • Wind and solar power an energy storage are much easier to fund and financial institutions like L & G, Aberdeen Standard and Aviva have invested in the past for our future pensions.
  • If you want to go nuclear, small modular reactors, look to be much better value in the longer term.
  • I also don’t like the involvement of the Chinese in the project. History tells me, that all pandemics seem to start in the country!

It is my view that the biggest mistake we made in this country over energy was not to built the Severn Barrage.

My preferred design would be based on the ideas of Sir Frederick Snow.

There would have been a high and a low lake, either side of a central spine, behind an outer barrage.

  • Reversible turbines and pumps between the lakes would both generate and store electricity.
  • When proposed in the 1970s, it would have generated ten percent of the UK’s electricity.
  • A new road and rail crossing of the Severn, could have been built into the outer barrage.
  • A lock would have provided access for shipping.
  • It would have controlled the periodic, regular and often devastating flooding of the River Severn.

Some versions of the original design, even incorporated an international airport.

  • The runways would be in the right direction for the prevailing wind, with regard to take-off and landing.
  • Take-off would be over open sea.
  • High speed trains could speed travellers to and from London on an updated Great Western Railway.

I believe a modern design could be even better.

  • The central spine and the outer barrage would be the foundations for a large wind farm.
  • There would also be a large number of powerful floating wind turbines to the West of the outer barrage in the Severn Estuary.
  • A giant electrolyser on the central spine would produce hydrogen, that could be used to decarbonise the UK’s gas network.
  • A power interconnector could be built into the outer barrage to connect Wales to the nuclear power stations at Hinckley :Point.
  • A cluster of small nuclear reactors could be built on the central spine.
  • In the intervening fifty years, we have probably learned how to build a barrage like this, so that it can benefit birds and other wildlife.

I believe, it will never be too late to build a Severn Barrage.


May 27, 2020 - Posted by | Energy Storage, Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , , ,


  1. Given the preposterously high strike price agreed for Nuclear Power this cannot represent good value for money.
    If the UK Government ploughed Billions into SEMEC to develop production ready tidal turbines the baseload energy issue would be solved and they would be unnecessary.

    The big issue is storage of Nuclear Waste, Sellafield is already struggling, but, because it has to be secured for thousands of years, it is entirely uncostable.

    Comment by Tim Regester | May 27, 2020 | Reply

  2. I agree with you! I do wonder, if there’s some old fossils in the Department of Energy, who are still working with Harold Wilson and Tony Benn’s energy model for the UK.

    If they haven’t noticed, it’s the twenty-first century and baseload power can be provided by wind and other renewables linked to massive energy storage.

    Even redneck parts of Trumpland are realising that

    Could it also be, that they’ve got all the old Magnox and AGR fuel to keep for thousands of years, so they need more work for Sellafield?

    Sellafield used to be a customer of mine and some of the people I met from there, had unusual views.

    Comment by AnonW | May 27, 2020 | Reply

  3. As i see it we will always need baseload generation and only nuclear can provide carbon free so we need to maintain some capacity. Ideally we could do with a nuclear solution that can be flexed on output without losing too much efficiency but that seems to be an issue for this technology. Our real current challenge for carbon free is manage the high variability on wind 48hrs ago we had 8.6G wind and went as low as 0.4G within 24hrs – no energy storage currently can cover that sort of deficit so that means CCGT’s are going to be needed for quite a while yet. That said Highview Power offering looks quite scaleable but is clearly too expensive to build at scale without subsidies.

    The Severn barrage have little hope in todays over sensitive environmental world when the likes Greenpace are even campaigning against a solar farm in Nth Kent (Cleve Hill).

    Comment by Nicholas Lewis | May 28, 2020 | Reply

  4. […] summed up my attitude to nuclear power in Sizewell C: Nuclear Power Station Plans For Suffolk Submitted, where I said […]

    Pingback by Sizewell C Nuclear Plant Campaigners Challenge Approval « The Anonymous Widower | August 12, 2022 | Reply

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