Western Daily Press, 31 December 2007

Ministers are expected to back plans for a nuclear reactor to be built in Somerset , despite a fresh legal challenge from environmentalists.

The first cabinet meeting of 2008 is expected to give backing to a new generation of power stations to be built at existing nuclear sites, including Hinkley Point, near Bridgwater.

Secretary of State for Business and Enterprise John Hutton is predicted to confirm the decision to the House of Commons on January 7, following a five- month public consultation.

He is not likely to say how many reactors across the country the Government would like to see built, and will leave it to the nuclear industry to decide.

The UK generates 20 per cent of its power from nuclear energy but nine of the country's 10 power stations are due to close by 2023.

Greenpeace, which overturned the Government's last attempt at building new power stations, leading to a second consultation, has launched a second legal action.

The plan is also likely to run into opposition from the Labour backbench.

Opposition group Stop Hinkley submitted a 28-page document registering its objection to any redevelopment.

Northavon Liberal Democrat MP and Shadow Environment Secretary Steve Webb said: "It's obvious that the Government has already made its decision.

"The whole process was as much of a sham the second time around."



Stop Hinkley Logo




Page Updated 02-Jan-2008