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Page last updated at 16:48 GMT, Thursday, 3 December 2009
Leiston exhibition on Sizewell C
By Andrew Woodger
BBC Suffolk

Sizewell B
The pressurised water reactor building at Sizewell B

A public exhibition's taking place in Leiston on plans for a new nuclear power station.

The government's committed to building more nuclear plants and Sizewell C is one of the options being considered.

"A new power station would mean high quality jobs for many years to come" said Lord Hunt, Labour's energy and climate change minister.

Opponents of nuclear power insist there will be huge cost to the taxpayer, despite the government denying this.

"Nuclear power is going to play a very important role in the future," said Lord Hunt.

"The future is a mixed energy supply which is low carbon. That's what nuclear and wind gives you."

Lord Hunt
Lord Hunt estimates Sizewell C could mean 9,000 construction jobs

"Nuclear is very safe and it's going to be done at commercial cost with no public money involved.

"It's home-grown energy, so the issues about energy security in the future - what better way to produce our own energy?"

Communities Against Nuclear Expansion (CANE) is a local Suffolk group opposed to Sizewell C being built and they claim the idea the cost will be borne by private companies is misleading.

"There is no way that this won't cost the British taxpayer, not least in the cost of decommissioning," said Deborah Arddizzone of CANE, who lives in Yoxford and has opposed nuclear power since the anti-Sizewell B campaigns of the 1980s.

"This is going to be the legacy to our grandchildren."

Exhibition and discussion

A public exhibition is taking place at Leiston's Sizewell Sports & Social Club 3-5, December 2009. On the Saturday morning there's a public discussion event between 10am and noon.

Electricity generation at Sizewell A ended at the start of 2007, while Sizewell B is due to come to the end of its life in 2035. Sizewell B is run by British Energy which is part of the French-owned EDF group.

Sizewell B
Sizewell B's turbines generate around 3% of the UK's electricity

If Sizewell is approved as a site for a new power station, then power companies will then tender for the contract to build and run it.

Lord Hunt said a decision on whether Sizewell gets its third reactor hasn't been made.

"No, any application to build a new nuclear power station has to go through rigorous process and I can assure you that, in terms of local input into that decision, the new infrastructure and planning commission will want to ensure there is strong local consultation," said Lord Hunt.

"This isn't a 'done deal'. What is for sure is we need to build some new nuclear power stations in this country."

CANE's Deborah Arddizzone is sceptical about the public exhibition and the commitment to renewable energies such as wind:

"It's a great shame they never thought about it 30 years ago when other people were trying to get alternative energy sources off the ground.

"Norway, Sweden, Germany and even France have all picked up on that.

"The British have remained resolutely against using anything significant like wind or wave power that might reduce the value of the standard electricity companies. It's all about big business."

Sizewell A and B from the air
Sizewell B uses sea water for cooling and driving the turbines

The planning process for Sizewell C would be much more streamlined. The public inquiry for Sizewell B was actually asking whether the UK should have more nuclear power.

The government has already made the decision that we will have more nuclear power plants, so the planning process would focus on local issues such as transport and other environmental impacts.

"We're at the first stage of actually consulting and Parliament will scrutinise the sites we think are suitable," said Lord Hunt.

"If this is a site that is appropriate to go forward, I'm absolutely certain that companies will want to come forward."

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