MP to keep an eye on Hinkley

By Chris Alder, Somerset County Gazette, 24th May 2007

A NEW Government White Paper announced this week could have implications for Hinkley Point nuclear power station, according to West Somerset MP Ian Liddell-Grainger.

Mr Liddell-Grainger's comments come after the Government announced that planning regulations that have held up the building of major infrastructure projects are to be simplified, in a move that could pave the way for a new generation of nuclear power stations

A decision is expected soon on the possibility of a third nuclear plant - Hinkley C - at Hinkley Point.

Mr Liddell-Grainger said: "Major projects will be taken out of the main consultation process and pushed through as fast-track projects.

"(Hinkley Point) is of such significance that this White Paper could affect it should there be any major planning changes."

The Government has proposed a new Independent Planning Commission to rule on projects of national importance and speed up the planning process.

The news came ahead of the Government's Energy White Paper, also released this week, which promotes the merits of more nuclear plants, which have a small carbon footprint'.

Mr Liddell-Grainger added: "I will be keeping a careful eye on the situation."

Hinkley B station has re-started after a shutdown to allow for inspection, repair and the preparation of safety cases related to cracking in boiler tubes.

Campaigners condemned the reactor's new life extension after cracks in the reactor's graphite core were acknowledged by the National Installations Inspectorate last year.

Jim Duffy spokesman for Stop Hinkley said: "It's outrageous to grant a license to a reactor in this dangerous condition."

Hinkley A station is currently being decommissioned.


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