Western Daily Press, 25 October 2007

Plans for a new generation of nuclear power stations have been hit by a series of obstacles, according to leaked reports published yesterday.

The Government has signalled its backing for new reactors - almost certain to include one at Hinkley Point in Somerset .

But the leaked documents said the proposals may have to be put on hold because of a shortage of experts to carry out design assessments for the new plants.

The papers also show there are problems with the disposal of nuclear waste.

The idea had been to invite councils to bid for the right to store the waste in their area, in return for incentives. But it is feared the only council prepared to take such a controversial and divisive step would be the one in Cumbria where Sellafield is based.

And if that were the only council to apply, it could demand huge extra funding, which the Treasury is reluctant to agree.

The Western Daily Press has reported how Magnox Electric, the firm behind plans to build a low-level radioactive waste site at Hinkley Point, has submitted a scheme for a benefits fund to be set up as compensation.

Anti-nuclear campaigners say the cash incentives are a pay-off for the sacrifice of public safety and held a meeting in Watchet this week on the issue.

Meanwhile the Prime Minister insisted yesterday Britain remains committed to the EU's target for 20 per cent of energy to come from renewable sources by 2020.

But Gordon Brown admitted each member state had yet to be given an individual figure to get to the overall target.


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