Hinkley plans welcomed by Burnham's MP
Burnham Weekly News, Wednesday 11th November 2009
THOUSANDS of school-leavers in the Burnham area could get new job opportunities after plans for another Hinkley Point nuclear power station took a massive leap forward this week.
Hinkley Point has been included on a government shortlist of ten sites in England and Wales where new nuclear power plants can be built.
The announcement should pave the way for energy firm EDF to submit a formal planning application next summer to build two new reactors at Hinkley Point.
Burnham and Highbridge MP David Heathcoat-Amory believes the decision presents a 'real opportunity' for the future of local industry.
He told the Weekly News: "If the reactors eventually get permission it will create 4,000 jobs during the construction phase which we can take advantage of here in Burnham and Highbridge.
"I think this is a real opportunity to set Somerset up as a centre of excellence for nuclear engineering."
But Mr Heathcoat-Amory issued a word of caution, adding: "Safety must be a priority, no shortcuts or risks must be taken - but I believe it can be done."
EDF hailed the government's decision as a "defining moment on the road to secure, affordable and low carbon energy for UK consumers".
The firm hopes to build four reactors, two each at Hinkley and Sizewell - which it says would power ten million homes and could be operational by 2017.
However, Stop Hinkley campaigners say the fast-track planning system used by the government for major projects such as Hinkley could leave local people out of the decision-making process.
The group has also called for a public inquiry into the justification for new nuclear power stations.