American-Japanese consortium considers Oldbury site

Plans for new nuclear plant

by John Le Couteur Bristol Evening Post, 1 May 2008

A NEW generation nuclear power station could be built at Oldbury-on-Severn to replace the current Magnox reactor due to be swit­ched off at the end of the year.

The American and Japanese consortium of Toshiba-Westinghouse is bidding to construct two nuclear power plants in Britain, one in Bradwell, Essex, and the other at Oldbury, South Gloucestershire. Energy Solutions, based in Salt Lake City, Utah, is developing plans for the Oldbury site with the consortium which will supply the nuclear technology.

The 51-hectare (122-acre) site at Oldbury is owned by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, the Gov­ernment agency responsible for decommissioning in Britain.

It is to sell its nuclear sites across the country to potential investors in nuclear energy, which is now favoured by the Government to meet the country's future energy needs.

The group has held talks with British and European power supply companies that could be potential partners in the new generation sites the Government estimates could cost £2.8 billion each to construct.

Oldbury, which has been generating sufficient electricity for both Bristol and Bath since it opened in 1966, is due to be decommissioned at the end of December with the loss of 400 jobs. Once the reactor is taken offline there will be a two-year defuelling process and a 20-year gradual dismantling of the buildings.

Despite the fresh interest in Oldbury, the site on the Severn estuary is near the bottom under consideration for new nuclear reactors.

When Joe Lamonby took over management of the site three years ago he said Oldbury would probably not be favoured for a replacement plant.

Proposals to reactivate Oldbury have been greeted with dismay by anti-nuclear groups, with Jim Duffy, spokesman for Shut Oldbury and Stop Hinkley campaign groups, expressing concern about the bid's proposed "odd money-saving design". He said: "It is doubtful regulators will have the resources to fully test and license this design in such a short period."


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Page Updated 03-May-2008