Radiation Protection Today Winter 2021 - Page 22

Proposals for a Low Carbon Energy Hub at Sizewell C

Considerations of radiation protection and radioactive waste management are of course fundamental to the design of new nuclear power stations , which governments and environmental campaigners are increasingly recognising have an important role to play in reducing future CO 2 emissions . In this article , the authors discuss current proposals which would see the proposed new nuclear power station at Sizewell C making an even greater contribution to achieving Net Zero as the centre of a green energy hub .
Shekhar Sumit Programme Manager , Financing and Economic Regulation Team SZC ( EDF Energy )
Dr Pete Bryant Head of Environment , Decommissioning and Radiation Safety , SZC ( EDF Energy )
In order to meet the UK 2050 ' net zero ' emissions ambition there is a need to see the rapid decarbonisation of all sectors , including not only the energy sector , but heat , transport and industrial processes . It is widely accepted by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change ( IPCC ), International Atomic Energy Agency ( IAEA ) and United Nations ( UN ) that nuclear power has a role to play in tackling climate change . Simply put , it is one of the lowest producers of carbon dioxide compared with any form of energy generation . Throughout the life cycle of a nuclear power station ( including construction ) the levels of carbon dioxide generated are significantly lower than solar , geothermal or small scale wind .
Relative comparison of CO per unit of electricity
Data from Houses of Parliament , Parliamentary
Office of Science & Technology “ Carbon Footprint of Electricity Generation ” ( 2011 ) [ 1 ]
[ 1 ] Sizewell C recently commissioned a detailed analysis of the carbon emissions associated with the project based on the International Environmental Product Declaration standard and measured environmental impacts across the full lifecycle of the station , from the start of construction to the end of decommissioning – the assessment was independently verified by a third-party , providing additional confidence in its results , and found that the carbon emissions associated with Sizewell C would be less than half the median level attributed to large scale offshore wind by the IPCC .
Sizewell C ( SZC ) is a proposed new nuclear power station in Suffolk , UK . Once operational , SZC will be able to generate enough electricity to supply approximately six million of Britain ' s homes and will save 9 million tonnes of CO 2 emissions for every year of operation ( in comparison to a gas turbine station ). However , work is now ongoing to research the potential for SZC to play an even greater role in achieving Net Zero by making it the centre of an energy hub . Diverting some of the low-carbon heat generated by the plant to other technologies such as Direct Air Capture ( DAC ) or hydrogen production presents a unique opportunity to accelerate progress towards Britain ' s net-zero target .
Heat produced by nuclear power plants is not only low-carbon and available in large quantities , but it is also economically viable . A recent study by Columbia University found that heat from a nuclear power plant is the cheapest source of low carbon heat as compared against alternative sources .
SZC has been studying the feasibility of cogeneration in relation to the UK EPR design in order to support the project ' s energy hub ambitions and utilise the plant ' s primary source of energy ( heat ) before any efficiency losses are incurred through the conversion of heat to electricity .
In its current design as a plant configured to export only electrical energy , each unit at SZC
22 Radiation Protection Today www . srp-rpt . uk