Published: March 22, 2011
Japan's nuclear crisis 'won't hold up Hinkley expansion' says EDF

Power firm EDF Energy has said this week that Japan's nuclear crisis is unlikely to significantly delay its plans to expand its Hinkley Point power station near Burnham-On-Sea.

Energy secretary Chris Huhne last week asked chief nuclear inspector Mike Weightman to review the safety of nuclear power and hinted that the Government could back away from its use.

There had been concerns that a major safety review sparked by events in Japan could slow down Britain's nuclear plant rebuilding programme, affecting the creation of new jobs.

However, senior executives at EDF say they are confident they will still complete the projects at Hinkley Point and Sizewell virtually on schedule, according to the national media reports this week.

They said they have received 'signals' from the Government that the crisis would delay Britain's nuclear programme by a couple of weeks at the most.

EDF boss Vincent de Rivaz said while the industry needs to learn lessons from the disaster in Japan, it should not delay its progress.

"It is totally right that the nuclear incident unfolding at the moment should trigger so much attention and concern. The events in Japan do not change the need for nuclear in Britain. The critical task in front of us today is to deliver a secure, clean and affordable energy mix," he said.

Japan's Fukushima nuclear plant was damaged by the earthquake and tsunami and has been close to meltdown. It has also leaked radiation.

Protest group Stop Hinkley last week called for the whole Hinkley expansion programme to be axed following the incident, as reported here.

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