Published: June 23, 2011
Expansion of Hinkley Point nuclear power station moves step closer

The multi-billion pound expansion of Hinkley Point power station near Burnham-On-Sea came a step closer on Thursday (June 23rd) when the government announced the nuclear plant is on a list of eight sites deemed suitable for new power stations by the year 2025.

The announcement comes despite the Fukushima disaster in Japan when the future of nuclear was called into question in several countries when the huge earthquake and tsunami caused a meltdown in the reactors with radioactivity leaking from the plant.

The plans have still to be debated and voted on in Parliament, but Ministers expect that, with a pro-nuclear majority in the Commons, the plans will win a final go-ahead later this year.

Energy Minister Charles Hendry said: "Around a quarter of the UK's generating capacity is due to close by the end of this decade. We need to replace this with secure, low carbon, affordable energy."

However, Andreas Speck from Stop New Nuclear, an alliance of eight pressure groups opposed to the nuclear expansion, said campaigners would continue to fight the proposals.

He said the group would continue to oppose the plants "more than ever" and will also blockade the Hinkley Point site during a demonstration on 3rd October.

"We believe the nuclear programme is not safe - and Fukushima is the latest example of that - but it's also not needed," he said.

Friends of the Earth also argues the UK's energy needs should be met through "clean renewable power", adding "The government is obsessed with putting a new nuclear millstone around Britain's neck."

EDF spokesman Gordon Bell told Burnham-On-Sea.com that Thursday's announcement was "a key step in the planning process."

He added: "We now look forward to the Parliamentary vote to ratify the National Policy Statements before the summer recess. On that vote, we are encouraged to note the broad cross-party support on the need for new nuclear, which has been re-stated by senior politicians from all the main parties in recent weeks."

In March, Sedgemoor District Council expressed a number of concerns about the Hinkley Point expansion, as reported by Burnham-On-Sea.com here.

 


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