Bridgwater Times Front Page, 5 June 2008

Work on a new nuclear power station next to Hinkley Point could begin as early as 2012, the Bridgwater Times can reveal.

Two representatives of French energy giants EDF this week talked exclusively to the Bridgwater Times about its plans for the site.

EDF has bought land from a number of owners, which includes some of the area earmarked for the proposed West Hinkley Wind Farm.

And the representatives said experts were now looking at options for the site and carrying out investigations to see if it was suitable for a nuclear reactor.

One of the men, who did not wish to be named, said: "The Somerset site is big enough for one reactor - it's several tens of hectares. We are also looking into options for a wind farm."

The men revealed that EDF hopes to build four or five nuclear plants in the UK and so far has bought two possible sites - the land near Hinkley and a location near Anglesey in North Wales .

They confirmed investigations into the land's geology and the environment were now going ahead and if the company decided Hinkley was suitable for a nuclear reactor, planning consent would be sought and public consultations would be held.

Work could begin on building a reactor in 2012 and take five years to complete.

EDF has 58 reactors in France and is building a European Pressurised Water Reactor in Flamanville in Normandy .

This is based on 20 years' experience of French and German power plants and a similar design is likely to be built near to Hinkley.

The spokesmen said the company was committed to securing an energy supply and, at the same, addressing the challenges of climate change with low carbon output.

While investigations into the land's geology are going ahead, EDF is meeting Sedgemoor District Council and West Somerset Council to discuss the way forward.

Sedgemoor corporate director Doug Bamsey said: "We are positive in our desire to work with EDF and any other organisation looking at the future of Hinkley.

"We are keen to ensure there is a proper opportunity for communities to understand what is proposed and to have their say."

The company already has a foothold in the UK as its subsidiary, EDF Energy, employs more than 12,000 people, including 2,000 employees in the South West.

Meanwhile, EDF has been named as a likely contender to buy a stake in British Energy, which owns Hinkley B and is investigating building a reactor on its own land. .


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Page Updated 06-Jun-2008