Environment Agency issues three new environmental permits to NNB Generation Company (Sizewell C) Limited for a new nuclear power station at Sizewell in Suffolk

The Environment Agency has issued three new environmental permits today to NNB Generation Company (Sizewell C) Limited for a new nuclear power station at Sizewell in Suffolk. The permits are required for the station to operate and will allow it to:

  • dispose of and discharge radioactive waste (radioactive substances activity permit)
  • operate standby power supply systems using diesel generators (combustion activity permit)
  • discharge returned abstracted seawater (from the cooling water system and 2 fish recovery and returns systems) and other liquid trade effluents (including treated sewage effluent) to the Greater Sizewell Bay – North Sea (water discharge activity permit)

NNB Generation Company (Sizewell C) Limited applied to the Environment Agency for three environmental permits in May 2020. The Environment Agency consulted on the application from July to October 2020 and on their proposed decision and draft permits from July to September 2022.

Each of the three permits is an important regulatory permission that the company requires to operate Sizewell C nuclear power station. They include the limits and conditions that the company needs to put in place to ensure high standards of environmental protection during commissioning, operation and decommissioning.

The company will need to continue to apply for a range of environmental permits relating to site investigation, construction works and for relevant “associated developments” such as workers’ accommodation.

The Environment Agency’s Sizewell C Project Manager, Simon Barlow, said:

“Today’s decision to issue the three permits for these operational activities comes after 10 years of pre-application discussions, three years of technical assessments and two public consultations. In reaching this decision we carefully considered all the responses from a wide range of stakeholders in the local community, national organisations and statutory consultees.

“I would like to thank everyone for contributing their evidence and views and attending our consultation events. We will continue our engagement with the local community as the company moves forward with its plans for construction of the nuclear power station.

“The documents we are publishing today provide detailed explanations of our decisions, show how we have considered all the relevant factors and explain our reasoning. By granting these permits many years ahead of Sizewell C operating, we can positively influence the design, procurement, and commissioning of the power station, whilst also ensuring that people and the environment are protected.”

The decision documents, a public summary and permits are available on the Environment Agency’s website.

If you would like to sign up for Environment Agency e-bulletins about the work and regulation of the Sizewell C project, contact [email protected]

About us

The Environment Agency is the independent environmental regulator for the nuclear industry in England. We make sure that nuclear power stations meet high standards of environmental protection.

The Environment Agency regulates specific environmental matters at nuclear sites in England by issuing environmental permits. These permits cover site preparation, construction, operation and decommissioning.

Any company that wants to operate a nuclear power station must show that it can build, commission, operate and decommission it safely and securely, whilst protecting the environment and managing radioactive waste.

We also work closely with the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR), which regulates the safety and security aspects of the Sizewell nuclear sites.

We have previously worked with the Office for Nuclear Regulation to carry out Generic Design Assessment (GDA) on the design proposed for Sizewell C, known as EDF-Areva’s UK EPR™. That assessment process ended in December 2012 and the Environment Agency and ONR concluded that the reactor design is ‘acceptable’. This means that people and the environment will be properly protected if this reactor design is constructed and operated in the UK. This design is currently under construction at Hinkley Point C in Somerset.

As well as regulating the proposed site, through these environmental permits, the Environment Agency also provides advice and information to the Planning Inspectorate, including the protection of water quality and ecology, and flood and coastal risk management.

What happens next

There will be further opportunities to input into our decision-making for environmental permits for this site.

NNB Generation Company (Sizewell C) Limited will need to apply for a range of environmental permits relating to site investigation, construction works and for relevant ‘associated developments’ such as workers’ accommodation. We may also receive applications for changes (variations) to the 3 operational permits and for other environmental permits related to work at the site.

For further information about our role in nuclear new build, visit our website.