Western Daily Press, 28 November 2007

Protest groups have condemned British Energy's announcement that Hinkley Point power station in Somerset is one of four favoured sites for a new nuclear reactor. Stop Hinkley and Parents Concerned About Hinkley restated their opposition to the plant near Bridgwater when the energy giant's preferred options were announced yesterday.

Sizewell in Suffolk , Dungeness in Kent and Bradwell in Essex were the other sites earmarked for redevelopment.

But Stop Hinkley co-ordinator Jim Duffy said it would be "dreadful" for the local communities and the environment if it was allowed to go ahead.

"We have suspected for some time that Hinkley was going to be one of the favoured sites for nuclear new build," he said.

British Energy announced yesterday the National Grid had agreed to create extra capacity on the electricity network for up to 10GW of power generated by new reactors at the favoured sites from 2016.

A Government decision on the future of nuclear power is expected in the New Year and British Energy has commissioned geological, environmental and marine studies to assess the impact of building new stations at its existing eight plants.

Mr Duffy and his fellow campaigners say dangers of radiation, problems with storing waste and having a potential terrorist target on the doorstep are reasons they would like to see Hinkley safely decommissioned over the next few years.

Hinkley Point B is due to be decommissioned in 2011, unless British Energy can pump millions of pounds into it and extend its lifespan.

Stop Hinkley submitted a 28-page document registering its objection to any redevelopment during the recent public consultation.

Jo Brown, of Parents Concerned About Hinkley, said it would be "appalling" if a new reactor was built, likely to be called Hinkley C.

"I think British Energy is trying to bounce the Government into making a decision before the public consultation has even been considered," she said. "It's just a PR exercise."

She believes renewable energy options being mooted in the West, such as the Severn Barrage or the Atlantic Array - 350 turbines in the Bristol Channel - would produce enough energy for the region.

British Energy chief executive Bill Coley said: "Our existing sites all have potential for replacement nuclear and indeed we have suitable land at all locations."

The company also published details of the kind of reactors preferred and for flood defences to protect the coastal sites from climate change.


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Page Updated 28-Nov-2007