Cat no. 652

Opportunity at Sizewell

Running time21:39 Colour Sound 1982 Sizewell, Suffolk

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The advantages of nuclear power as an energy resource and the employment that the Sizewell site will provide,.


DocumentaryScience and Technology

Reporter Peter Fairley introduces the film, standing outside the existing Sizewell 'A' power station. There are shots of the surrounding countryside and then interior shots of the Sizewell 'A' station. The commentary explains that the need for power will rise in the next twenty years. 10 billion extra units will be needed by 1990 and 40 billion by the year 2000. In addition one third of plant will need to be replaced by the beginning of the 21st century.

The film considers alternative sources of energy. Wind power is examined in most detail. A map shows that 1000 windmills, stretching from Orford to Southwold, would be needed to replace one nuclear power station. The film mentions wave and tidal power and geo-thermal power in passing. It looks at coal fired electricity, at the time producing 80% of the UK's electricity and highlights the problems in continuing the rely in this source; namely finite resources and rising cost.

The film also considers oil fired electricity. A burning oil tank in the Middle East illustrates the problems inherent in this solution. These are seen by the film as being mainly political. A graph emphasises that nuclear power is the cheapest form of power.The nuclear power station at Calder Hall is shown. Built in 1956 this was the UK's first nuclear power station. A map shows the nine nuclear power stations built since and the four more proposed. A model explains what the PWR will look like and a series of working models show how it will work. This is explained by Peter Fairley. A PWR will be 30% cheaper to build and between 15% and 39% cheaper to run. Peter Fairley explains why Sizewell has been chosen as the site for the PWR. It is already connected to the national grid, because of Sizewell 'A'. The extra power is needed in East Anglia. The ground around Sizewell is sufficiently stable. The CEGB already owns the site. The commentary goes on to explain that there are 100 PWRs in the world in 16 different countries. A lot of people are pleased with it. A map shows most of these to be on mainland Europe and in the USA. At this point the film doesn't mention Three Mile Island, although this issue is tackled later.

There are shots of shops and street scenes in Leiston. These are followed by an interview with the former Town Clerk of Leiston, Stan Bonham, who explains the advantages he perceives for the area from the Sizewell power stations. Shots of the A12 at Yoxford and of Saxmundham and Theberton illustrate expected changes to the infrastructure of the area. There are shots of Leiston Middle School and of the children crossing the road to catch the bus and of a hostel that will house the proposed extra work force. The commentary stresses that the majority of materials and of the workforce will be local. 3000+ will be needed to build Sizewell 'B' and there will be over 400 permanent jobs. Jeremy Sorenson, Senior Warden of the RSPB reserve at Minsmere dispels fears about the effect on nature as the film shows shots of the Minsmere Reserve at the point it borders the power station.

A long sequence seeks to dispel fears about PWRs related to the incident at Three Mile Island in the USA in 1979. These are roundly dismissed by Peter Fairley who places his and our faith in the Nuclear Installations Inspectorate; unless the PWR is safe, they won't grant it a licence.There are shots of the fishermen on Aldeburgh beach, illustrating the safety measures that will be introduced to monitor any radiation. Safety is emphasised once again, Peter Fairley assuring the audience that an explosion is literally physically impossible. The film finishes by summing up the perceived benefits of the Sizewell 'B' reactor.

Featured People:

Stan Bonham, former Town Clerk of Leiston; Peter Fairley; Jeremy Sorenson, Senior Warden, RSPB, Minsmere

Featured Organisations:

CEGB; Leiston Middle School ; Nuclear Installations Inspectorate ; RSPB

Featured Buildings:

Calder Hall Nuclear Power Station; Leiston Middle School ; Sizewell 'A' Nuclear Power Station

Central Electricity Generating Board (CEGB)

Peter Fairley

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