On the 15th October, Together Against Sizewell C (TASC) wrote to BEIS pointing out that the nuclear power developer behind Hinkley Point C and the notional Sizewell C plants was justifying its TV ad claim that it is the ‘biggest producer of carbon free electricity’ by referencing a BEIS website in which the claim of ‘zero carbon’ was made for renewables and nuclear.
In a response to TASC received on the 25th November, Director of Nuclear at BEIS, Stephen Speed who also co-chairs the BEIS/NGO nuclear forum acknowledged the error, stated, ‘….we agree with your argument that the environmental impact table of the Fuel Mix Disclosure report could cause confusion. I have asked for the report to be amended with a line that explains that the table relates only to generator emissions in the operational phase and does not include emissions related to the fuel supply chain or maintenance activities.’
Despite the fact that TASC would still contest the assumption that even generator carbon emissions are zero, the concession from BEIS is a good interim result.
Commenting on the agreement to alter the information on the website, Pete Wilkinson, Chairman of TASC, said today, ‘This acknowledgement from BEIS is welcome and important. At a time when the future of nuclear power in the UK is in the balance, removing official support for the zero carbon claim changes the game, and fundamentally exposes nuclear power’s climate change credentials as insignificant. The word ‘zero’ can no longer be used when referencing nuclear power and carbon.
‘Moreover, it forces EdF to desist in making the assertion which they had hitherto justified by pointing to a BEIS website which upheld their misplaced claim.
‘It may also, finally, force our local MP, Dr Therese Coffey, to drop the phrase as well. Incredibly for a Secretary of State, she has used the zero carbon claim in her response to the EdF planning application which the inspectorate will be examining next year and has refused to meet members of TASC on the grounds that our anti-nuclear views are ‘well known’. Such an attitude is rude, facile and possibly in breach of the Parliamentary Code.’