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Sizewell on list for potential new nuclear power stations

PUBLISHED: 07:47 16 April 2009 | UPDATED: 08:57 06 July 2010

The intense debate on nuclear energy was reignited yesterday when the government issued a list of 11 potential sites for a new generation of power stations, including Sizewell on the north Suffolk coast.

The intense debate on nuclear energy was reignited yesterday when the government issued a list of 11 potential sites for a new generation of power stations, including Sizewell on the north Suffolk coast.

Backers of nuclear power have insisted the new stations will help the UK meet its target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by a fifth by 2020 and by 80pc by 2050, as well as creating many new jobs and providing a boost to local economies.

Opponents, however, yesterday restated their fears over the safety of nuclear plants and how the radioactive waste is dealt with.

A month-long consultation period has now started over the proposals, nominated by companies interested in building the stations and initially approved by the government.

The prospect of a twin reactor Sizewell C plant, proposed by EDF Energy, has loomed large for several years and it is regarded as a prime spot because of the presence of existing grid connections and its close proximity to a community used to living with a nuclear station.

Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Miliband said: “Nuclear power is part of the low carbon future for Britain. It also has the potential to offer thousands of jobs to the UK and multi-million pound opportunities to British businesses.”

Along with Sizewell, the list of potential sites is Dungeness in Kent; Hartlepool; Heysham in Lancashire; Sellafield and Braystones in Cumbria; Wylfa Peninsula in Anglesey; Oldbury in Gloucestershire; Hinkley Point in Somerset and Bradwell in Essex.

Nine out of the 11 sites have already played host to a nuclear power station and the first wave of new facilities, known as EPF stations, could be built by the end of 2017.

However, Friends of the Earth energy campaigner Robin Webster said: “Nuclear power leaves a deadly legacy of radioactive waste that remains highly dangerous for tens of thousands of years and costs tens of billions of pounds to manage.”

Charles Barnett, chairman of the Shutdown Sizewell Campaign, added: “The government is going down the wrong path in proposing that we should have more nuclear power stations. They are not safe. With the heightened risk of terrorism, it's foolhardy to build more.”

Last month, the government announced the formation of a new watchdog to oversee the decommissioning and waste disposal funding arrangements for power stations - insisting taxpayers should not have to shoulder the costs.

The proposed development site at Sizewell is to the north of the current Sizewell B reactor and officers at Suffolk Coastal District Council are currently studying the plans, which could see a total of about 900 people employed at the existing and new plants.

Yesterday, a council spokesman said the authority recognised the importance of Sizewell as an employer, but admitted there were some concerns about the potential impact on the environment.

He added: “We are going through it with a fine tooth comb. We want to ensure that if the application was to proceed, it would be done with the best interests of the local community at heart. It's finding the right balance.”

The government is expected to publish its draft nuclear National Policy Statement (NPS) later this year and Suffolk Coastal's cabinet has resolved not to support or object to the Sizewell proposal until this is released.

EDF official Richard Mayson said: “Any new build at the sites would follow a full planning application process, including appropriate consultation with the local community.”

People can see the full applications for the proposed sites and make comments by visiting www.nuclearpowersiting.decc.gov.uk/ You can also write to: Office for Nuclear Development Public Comments, Freepost SEA 12430, Thornton Heath, CR7 7XT.

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