Hinkley in doubt?

Bridgwater Mercury, 20th Feb 07, By Helen Rossiter

THE likelihood of a new power station being built at Hinkley Point has changed course this week, after a High Court judge slammed the Government's push for nuclear power.

On Thursday, environmental campaigners Greenpeace won a High Court bid to force ministers to rethink a programme to build a new generation of nuclear power stations.

Mr Justice Sullivan said the consultation process before making the decision last year had been "seriously flawed" and "misleading".

The ruling came two days after the owner of Hinkley B, British Energy, announced it was looking for potential new partners to help build new atomic plants in the UK .

They confirmed these plans did include the Somerset site.

A British Energy spokesman said: "We are very disappointed with the ruling, although this must not detract from the fact that the country is facing a forthcoming and very serious energy gap if current capacity is not replaced.

"We believe nuclear should continue to be an important part of the UK 's energy mix.

"The process appears to be at issue but the principle remains that nuclear is an essential part of the UK 's energy mix."

But co-ordinator of Somerset anti-nuclear group, Stop Hinkley, Jim Duffy, welcomed news of the High Court's decision.

He said: "This knocks back any credibility the nuclear project ever had.

" Downing Street took over what should have been a scientific consultation and bent the process to promote Tony Blair's plan.

"The High Court has seen through that illegal sham.

"Hinkley C now looks more doubtful and certainly much further in the future."

The group say the Government should return to proposals made in the previous 2003 Energy Review.

"This stated we should promote renewable energy coupled with energy conservation and micro-generation of electricity," added Mr Duffy.

"It doubted the contribution of nuclear power to a sustainable energy policy that would help climate-change and said there were unresolved questions around creating more nuclear waste, and on public acceptability."


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