COMMENT: IMPLICATIONS OF NUCLEAR PLANT RULING
Western Daily Press, 16 February 2007
A High Court ruling declaring the Government's nuclear power policy as unlawful is a major embarrassment for Ministers.
Lack of public consultation led to Mr Justice Sullivan labelling it as unfair and misleading.
The likelihood that the Government will have to start from scratch and conduct a whole new review has been hailed as a victory by opponents of nuclear power.
But the judgment could also have serious ramifications for the West as question marks may now hang over the future of a new power station at Hinkley Point in Somerset .
The controversial facility has its critics who call for more investment in renewable, "green energy", such as wind power instead.
However, a new plant at the site near Bridgwater would create hundreds of jobs and bring millions of pounds into the local economy.
The financial benefits to the region's communities cannot easily be dismissed.
But concerns over nuclear power's safety record and the problems storing its deadly radioactive waste also cannot be ignored.
British Energy, which runs Hinkley B, insists it will push on with its plans for expansion, but yesterday's ruling may delay these, along with the Government's energy White Paper.
There are powerful arguments for and against nuclear power. But what is certain is the Government needs to learn its lesson and consult properly.