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Impacts on critical national infrastructure

A power station at work.

What is the risk?

British Energy (BE) wanted to know if climate change could affect the UK's network of power stations, particularly those on the coasts which may be vulnerable to sea-level rise. We were asked to specifically look at nuclear power stations.

What have we done?

Our models project a range of sea-level-rise scenarios based on a number of variables. We looked at best and worst case forecasts, as well as the most likely outcome to establish the levels of risk to all of the UK's power stations.

What's the conclusion?

Our research suggests that, by 2100, storm surge heights may increase dramatically - by up to 1.7 metres in the most affected areas of Suffolk, where the Sizewell B nuclear power plant is located. Based on this advice, BE is developing a long-term strategy for its sites.

David Norfolk, from BE's strategy team, said at the time: "We understand the importance of climate change, and we're committed to environmental responsibility. That is why this study is important in keeping our knowledge of the potential impacts on our sites fully up to date. Although considerable rises in sea level are predicted by the end of the century in the most severe scenario, a mix of measures including coastal defences, flood protection and plant design would ensure our sites are well-protected from the effects of sea-level rises."

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