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Sizewell B nuclear power station in Suffolk, England

Hilda Murrell was a British botanist and campaigner against nuclear power and nuclear weapons. She was abducted and found murdered ten kilometers from her home.


The Sizewell nuclear power stations, run by British and French company EDF Energy, are a cluster of nuclear power stations. Sizewell A, the first set of reactors, was decommissioned in 2006. Sizewell B, for which the proposal was accepted in 1987 and was completed building in 1995, is now the main set of reactors and is currently the UK’s only commercial pressurized water reactor power station. The Sizewell stations have been contentious from the beginning. Plans to build Sizewell C in the same site have been contested, delayed, canceled, and started again many times owing to controversy and interference from antinuclear activists spanning across decades and activists’ entire lifespans [15, 10]. 

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Sizewell B nuclear power station in Suffolk, England
Country:United Kingdom
State or province:Suffolk
Location of conflict:Sizewell
Accuracy of locationHIGH (Local level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Nuclear
Specific commodities:Electricity
Project Details and Actors
Project details

Sizewell B is the UK's only commercial pressurised water reactor (PWR) power station and is operated by EDF Energy. Sizewell B commissioned in 1995, and first synchronised with the National Grid on 14 Feb 1995. It has a thermal power of 3479 MW and an electrical output of 1,195 MWe, though this is dependent on seawater temperature. As with many other PWRs, Sizewell B operates on an 18-month operating cycle, i.e. at or near 100% output continuously for around 18 months, followed by a month's shutdown for maintenance and refuelling. Sizewell B was designed for a commercial life of 40 years (i.e. to around 2035) but similar stations elsewhere have been granted extensions to 60 years (

Project area:100
Level of Investment for the conflictive project232,813,800
Type of populationRural
Affected Population:245,000
Start of the conflict:26/01/1987
End of the conflict:06/05/2005
Company names or state enterprises:Electricité de France (EDF) from France
Relevant government actors:East Suffolk Council
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND)
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityHIGH (widespread, mass mobilization, violence, arrests, etc...)
Reaction stagePREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups mobilizing:International ejos
Local ejos
Social movements
Local scientists/professionals
Fisher people
Forms of mobilization:Artistic and creative actions (eg guerilla theatre, murals)
Community-based participative research (popular epidemiology studies, etc..)
Creation of alternative reports/knowledge
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Official complaint letters and petitions
Public campaigns
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Noise pollution, Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems, Other Environmental impacts
Potential: Floods (river, coastal, mudflow), Soil erosion
Health ImpactsPotential: Violence related health impacts (homicides, rape, etc..), Deaths
Socio-economical ImpactsPotential: Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors
Project StatusIn operation
Conflict outcome / response:Criminalization of activists
Deaths, Assassinations, Murders
Court decision (failure for environmental justice)
Violent targeting of activists
Project temporarily suspended
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:No
Briefly explain:Murrell had been working to prevent the construction of Sizewell B, which was built in 1995 despite the inquiry and still operates today. The antinuclear movement in Suffolk continues to battle the construction of Sizewell C to partial success, but proposals keep coming back.
Sources & Materials
Juridical relevant texts related to the conflict (laws, legislations, EIAs, etc)

East Suffolk Council. Economic impact study on Sizewell (2016)
[click to view]

[2] The Times. Life for killer of nuclear activist Hilda Murrell (Booth 2005)
[click to view]

[3] Independent. Man jailed for peace activist’s murder (Bennetto 2005)
[click to view]

[4] The Guardian. Hilda Murrell murder (Townsend 2012)
[click to view]

[5] BBC. Hilda Murrell: Killer's cell mate says others involved (2012)
[click to view]

[6] The Guardian. Death in the time of conspiracies (Davies 1994)
[click to view]

[7] BBC. Hilda Murrell: A Rose of England (2009)
[click to view]

[14] BBC. Sizewell: RSPB Minsmere nature reserve fears 'environmental impact' on wildlife (2020)
[click to view]

Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

Song: 'The Rose Grower' by Attacco Decente
[click to view]

Song: Oi Polloi - Resist The Atomic Menace
[click to view]

Campaign to find justice for Murrell's "real killers"
[click to view]

Meta information
Contributor:Dalena Tran, ICTA, [email protected]
Last update06/02/2020
Conflict ID:4937
Legal notice / Aviso legal
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