Protesters fighting the proposed expansion of Hinkley Point power station near Burnham-On-Sea have this week joined a new nationwide group that aims to halt the development.

Communities Opposed to New Nuclear Energy Development (CONNED) brings together groups around seven sites earmarked for possible development – Hinkley Point, Sizewell in Suffolk, Bradwell in Essex, Wylfa on Anglesey, Oldbury In Gloucestershire, Sellafield in Cumbria and Hartlepool in County Durham.

The aim of the group is to raise public awareness about the consequences for health, the environment, safety and security of potential new nuclear power developments, as well as supporting alternative energy, say organisers.

The alliance is supported by national campaign groups including Greenpeace, the Nuclear Consultation Group and Nuclear Free Local Authorities.

At Hinkley Point, EDF has already dug trenches and boreholes across a 430 acre stretch of countryside, and now wants to begin earthworks.

“It’s clear that the industry wants to give the impression that everything is signed, sealed and delivered, hoping that the opposition will fade away,” CONNED spokesman Crispin Aubrey told Burnham-On-Sea.com.

“In fact, this is far from being the case. Opposition is strong and some investment analysts even argue that it will be extremely difficult for the companies to finance these expensive white elephants.”

“A series of hurdles still have to be overcome by the companies wanting to build new nuclear plants before they even get planning permission. These include regulatory approval for their new reactor designs, agreement on how much they will contribute towards decommissioning and waste costs and, crucially, building consent from the Infrastructure Planning Commission. All these will take much more than a year.”

He added: “CONNED argues that the country is in danger of sleep-walking into a future where Britain is once again in hock to an industry with a massive legacy of dangerous waste and a voracious appetite for public subsidy.”