Clean-up bill shock for Hinkley campaigners

Bridgwater Mercury, Wednesday 11 January 2006

ANTI-NUCLEAR campaigners have urged the government to rethink plans for a new Hinkley Point C after it was revealed the cost of cleaning up the old Hinkley Point A could total more than £1.1billion.

The Nuclear Decommissioning Agency, formed last April to clean up Britain's power plants, told the Mercury that the "costs could be higher" than initially estimated.

Reports suggest that the estimated cost of decommissioning the country's 20 old nuclear power stations will rise from £56billion to over £70billion.

When the exact costs of cleaning up the closed stations are published in April, the equivalent charge to every adult and child in Britain could increase from £800 to around £1,000.

An NDA spokesman did not believe the costs would total £70 billion but acknowledged "experiences in other countries said costs would rise".

The revelations were seized upon by Sedgemoor's anti-nuclear campaigners attempting to block plans to build a third reactor on the Hinkley Point site.

The site is considered a likely location for a new station because planning permission was given in the past, while decommissioning work on the British Energy owned Hinkley Point B will begin in 2011.

Stop Hinkley campaigners feel the costs being paid for power produced so long ago should stop the Government building more stations.

Spokesman Jim Duffy said: "Nuclear power is not economically viable because every nuclear project taken on so far has cost more than predicted.

"The people who want to build power stations say they can't without subsidies, so the taxpayer will have to dig into their pockets to get a Hinkley Point C built.

"It's certainly worrying to impose a new generation of nuclear power stations on the taxpayer.

The £56 billion decommissioning cost doesn't include building storage units* for dealing with the nuclear waste."

Mr Duffy also said the idea to build a new plant in the area "smacks of madness" because it would cause severe traffic problems.

People living near Hinkley Point A have been warned they could witness up to 180 more lorry movements a day because a new waste store is being built in Cannington** as part of the decommissioning process.

Mr Duffy added: "It's a colossal imposition on a small place like Cannington and they will probably have to go through Bridgwater as well."

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Notes:

* Long-term or 'permanent' storage units - Hinkley's n-waste units will be temporary.

** The ILW storage is being built at Hinkley not in Cannington but the 140 (not 180) daily lorry movements will pass through Cannington according to the December meeting of Cannington Parish Council.

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