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I will live 90 minutes away from a nuclear plant

By: Sabrina Clarke

· Sustainability


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I have always associated nuclear energy with bombs, war and weapons. I think in part because of the action movies I love; someone is always trying to get their hands on nuclear weapons (which proliferation is very real), and because the great philosopher Tupac said, "They have money for wars, but can't feed the poor." I associated nuclear energy with negativity. However, like with most things, nuclear energy is a source; how it is used depends on who controls it.

Suffolk, England, is getting a nuclear plant, Sizewell C. According to the Financial Times, Sizewell C is on track to raising £20 billion from private investors. The UK government has committed £1.2bn and has a 50% stake alongside EDF. I don't live in Suffolk, but it's about a 90-minute drive from me. Sizewell C's proximity made me think about nuclear energy and its social and economic sustainability impacts differently.

Nuclear Energy is

✔️ clean
✔️ a low-carbon source
✔️ isn't weather-dependent
✔️ a highly regulated industry
✔️ releases less radiation in the environment than any other energy source

BUT- radioactive nuclear waste is poisonous, and who controls its weapons is dangerous.

What are the social and economic sustainability impacts of Sizwell C?

-Once completed, Sizwell C will create jobs
-Residents will have a continuous energy source
-Mismanaged waste will be catastrophic for the community in the short and long term

-Increase in energy costs that impact the local community during construction
-Decrease in energy costs once completed
-Boost to the Suffolk and UK economy once completed

While my perspective on nuclear energy is evolving, energy sources that replace fossil fuels are required and there is no perfect solution.