Homage to Sizewell

Sizewell A, one of the UK's power stations, is due to shut down at the end of this year. Construction began in 1961, and it was fully operational in 1966.

Five years to build it. Perhaps Mr. Blair should be told.

The Greens, too..

Sizewell has been operational for 40 years; twice its design life - an astonishing record - quietly producing cheap electric power.

Over that time it has produced 100 million megawatt hours of electricity.

If that energy had been produced by a coal fired power station it would have formed an enormous amount of greenhouse gas.

Let's see how much would have been produced.

A megawatt hour is 3600 x 1000,000 joules, or 3600MJ.

394 kJ of heat are formed from burning 12 grams of carbon

394 MJ are formed from 12 kg of carbon

So 3600 MJ (a megawatt-hour) comes from burning about 120 kg of coal.

We multiply by 3 to get the mass of carbon dioxide - 360 kg

Multiply by three again, to allow for 33% efficiency of the power station - which gives about 1000 kg.

So a megawatt hour of electrical energy, from coal, gives about a ton of carbon dioxide.

Sizewell has therefore prevented the release of 100 million tons of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere. Thatís about 2 tons for every member of the UK.

The benefit to the environment of not releasing all that greenhouse gas to the atmosphere must be enormous.

When Sizewell goes, what will replace it?


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