Discover the long-term benefits of Sizewell C’s water strategy for the region and how the power plant will pave the way for new low carbon technologies.

Despite the recent floods in the area, East Anglia is one of the driest parts of the country and has been classified by the Environment Agency as a Serious Water Stressed Area. Climate change and a growing population mean water supplies are likely to come under even greater strain in future – unless action is taken.

READ MORE: How Sizewell C is creating ‘living landscapes’ for wildlife

A planned new water pipeline, part-funded by Sizewell C, the 3.2GW nuclear power station due for construction on the Suffolk coast, is expected to help build a more resilient water supply for Suffolk by the early 2030s.

This month, as part of its water strategy plans, Sizewell C began formal negotiations with Essex and Suffolk Water, part of Northumbrian Water Ltd, to help fund the construction of a new water main for the region. This will make a significant contribution towards delivering greater water security for the area into the future.

The 28km pipeline route is expected to run from Barsham, near Beccles, to Saxmundham. It will provide water in excess of what the nuclear power plant requires, increasing water availability for the local area too.

East Anglian Daily Times: Julia Pyke, co-managing director at Sizewell CJulia Pyke, co-managing director at Sizewell C (Image: Sizewell C)

“Once operational, the power station will use less than 0.1% of the total water forecast to be needed in the East of England, while at the same time generating low carbon electricity for around six million homes,” says Julia Pyke, co-managing director of Sizewell C.

“Through our water supply plan for Sizewell C, we’ll be able to play our part in helping to deliver a secure and sustainable water supply for the area in the long term. The new mains pipeline will supply not just the power station but the wider community as well. As a result, by the early-2030s the area around Sizewell C is expected to have more water than it needs.”

READ MORE: Is there enough water to build Sizewell C?

In the meantime, the water needed for the construction of Sizewell C will come from a temporary desalination plant – a facility that removes salt from sea water and is used to supply drinking water to millions of people in drier parts of the world – on the main development site, located away from Sizewell Marshes SSSI and Sizewell beach.

East Anglian Daily Times: Sizewell C is set to develop a carbon capture project in LowestoftSizewell C is set to develop a carbon capture project in Lowestoft (Image: Sizewell C)

This month, Sizewell announced that it will power the desalination plant with zero carbon electricity from Sizewell B power station: an innovative move that will help further reduce the amount of carbon emissions produced during construction.

“This is another way we can reduce the impacts of construction and provide lasting benefits to East Suffolk,” says Julia. “Desalination will also become an important future technology in the UK as the effects of climate change put greater strain on water supplies in rivers and reservoirs, and we expect the technology used at Sizewell to become more widely used elsewhere.

“Developing the skills and experience in this technology now at Sizewell C is therefore important for the future.”

East Anglian Daily Times: The project also aims to introduce a fleet of hydrogen buses to transport construction workers to and from siteThe project also aims to introduce a fleet of hydrogen buses to transport construction workers to and from site (Image: Sizewell C)

Sizewell C is proposing a series of other measures to reduce carbon emissions during and after construction of the power station.

In September, the project announced the purchase of four hydrogen buses from Wrightbus in Ballymena as part of pilot project to test the vehicles. If the pilot is successful, Sizewell aims to operate a fleet of hydrogen buses to transport its workers to and from the main development site near Leiston.

READ MORE: How Sizewell C is helping Leiston go carbon free

The project, which is already set to be one of the biggest Net Zero projects in the UK, is also developing a Direct Air Capture facility in Lowestoft which will extract carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

“As well as improving infrastructure,” says Julia, “Sizewell C can be a bridge to some of the future technologies and skills that are essential to Britain’s energy transition, and all of that is based right here in Suffolk.”

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This article is part of the EADT's Clean & Green campaign, which aims to promote our region as the biggest in the UK and Europe for all forms of renewable energy.