Third nuclear power station at Hinkley?

Burnham Weekly News, 13 th October 2005

Hinkley Point C could be coming ever closer to reality following reports Prime Minister Tony Blair has privately disclosed he is in favour of more nuclear reactors.

At the recent Labour Party Conference the Prime Minister told delegates global warming was too serious for the country to become split on - questioning how much longer it should rely on others for energy.

Martin Pearce, the spokesman for British Energy, which owns and runs Hinkley Point B, said the firm would be in favour of a new station.

"A lot hinges on what the Government decides next year. In terms of British Energy as a company coming through financial restructuring we are looking now to prove ourselves as a profitable company coming forward" he said.

"We have got no birthright to a new nuclear build. In terms of a new nuclear build we would certainly support the UK going forward. In terms of Hinkley C there was planning permission granted for it but it would have run out in 1997. The whole process would have to go through again."

The power station has always been a centre of interest for people living in the area - the benefits of its power generation often in juxtaposition with worries from nearby residents. Campaign group Stop Hinkley is dedicated to the removal of nuclear reactors from the Bristol Channel and the Severn Estuary.

Jim Duffy, co-ordinator of the organisation, admitted he was concerned about the possibility of another station and what he saw as recent Government leaning to the form of energy. He told the Weekly News "The field is still there next to Hinkley A. It could be built in that area next to where the wind farm could be." he said.

"We are pretty worried about it. The fact Tony Blair has mentioned it at the Labour Party conference - as none have done before - was very bold. We would be concerned about the emissions from any power station." he added.

But David Meechan, spokesman for the Department of Trade and Industry, denied any plans for a new build - saying all forms of power would be looked at.

"At the moment there are not any plans to build any more." he said. "Tony Blair mentioned at the conference that there was going to be an energy review but that is not just nuclear."

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