Desalination plant planned for Sizewell C construction

02 November 2023

A temporary water desalination plant, powered with electricity from Sizewell B, is planned to meet the water requirements for the construction of the Sizewell C nuclear power plant in Suffolk, UK. A new water main is expected to provide a permanent supply in the early 2030s.

The planned Sizewell C plant (Image: EDF Energy)

Desalination is the process of removing salt and other minerals from sea water to create water to the quality required – such as potable drinking-quality or industrial grade water. The temporary desalination plant would provide a reliable, continuous source of water while a permanent water transfer main is completed.

To reduce the impact of the plant on the local environment, Sizewell C Company said it is in discussions with EDF Energy Nuclear Generation Limited to agree a supply of zero-carbon electricity from neighbouring power station, Sizewell B.

"This will reduce the need to run the desalination plant using electricity from the grid or from generators and will help reduce the amount of carbon emissions produced during construction," Sizewell C Company said.

Operating continuously, the temporary plant could produce up to 4000 cubic metres of potable grade water per day. Water production will be in response to construction demand and generally substantially less than this.

"The project is continuing its discussions with the region's water companies about building a mains pipeline to provide the power station with a permanent water supply," the company added. "This new supply will provide more water than Sizewell C needs to operate so it will benefit other users in the community."

"This is another demonstration of our commitment to reduce the impacts of construction and to provide lasting benefits to East Suffolk," said Julia Pyke, co-managing director of Sizewell C Company. "Our desalination plant will run on clean energy and combined with our long-term plan for water, will help build a more resilient supply in the East of England. It will also allow us to gain experience and skills in a technology which will become more widely used as we deal with the consequences of climate change."

The plan is for Sizewell C to feature two EPRs producing 3.2 GW of electricity, enough to power the equivalent of around six million homes. It would be a "replica" of the Hinkley Point C plant, under construction in Somerset. EDF Energy submitted a development consent order (a planning application) for the plant in May 2020, which was granted in July last year.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News