Bradwell N-plant 'already decided'

CAMPAIGNERS claimed last night the Government had already decided to build a new nuclear power station on the Essex coast - before public consultation even begins.

James Hore

CAMPAIGNERS claimed last night the Government had already decided to build a new nuclear power station on the Essex coast - before public consultation even begins.

Blackwater Against New Nuclear Group (BANNG) said the impact of flooding, storm damage and coastal erosion on a new site at Bradwell could be “catastrophic”.

The Government is currently considering where the next generation of nuclear power stations could go is assessing potential locations across the UK.


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Professor Andrew Blowers, the chairman of BANNG, claimed the decision had already been taken, with the Government now “busily setting out” its criteria to justify the selection.

He said there were a series of factors which should automatically rule out Bradwell, which lies just across the River Colne from Mersea Island.

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However, British Energy, which owns the land, said the decision would be based on facts and claimed the Bradwell was a “strong candidate” for a new nuclear plant.

Prof Blowers, a Mersea Island resident, claimed there were a number of good reasons to rule out a Bradwell B, including:

n Seismic risk - Bradwell was at the epicentre of a large earthquake in 1884.

n The close proximity of people - The site is within 4km of Mersea and its 8,000 population.

n Proximity to military activities including the Fingringhoe ranges and Colchester Garrison, which he claims are “too close for comfort”.

He said: “It's difficult to understand why 'flooding, tsunamis, storm damage and coastal processes' shouldn't automatically rule out a site.

“Who, in their right mind, would even consider building such a hazardous activity as a nuclear power station on the lowest lying of all the proposed sites where, one report states, direct inundation is a possibility and which is vulnerable to subsidence, rising sea level and rollover of the Blackwater estuary?

“Even if it proves possible at great expense to protect Bradwell, the resulting impacts on the surrounding coasts could be catastrophic.”

Prof Blowers said he believed the consultation was merely another stage in “clearing the pathway” for new nuclear power stations on existing sites.

“Far from being the best, or even acceptable locations, these sites are the soft political option.

“They are in nuclear-friendly ownership with British Energy and the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority desperate to sell them.

“They are in areas already blighted by nuclear activity with local communities allegedly longing for the jobs and investment new nuclear might bring.

“So, having already chosen its sites, the Government is now busily setting out criteria by which it hopes to justify its selection.

“A more detailed and critical examination will reveal just how preposterous it is to put new power stations and nuclear waste stores on sites on crumbling coastlines.”

But last night British Energy said that, based on facts and hard evidence, Bradwell was a suitable site.

A spokesman said: “Within the strategic siting assessment the Government has set out objective criteria that they will use to assess potential new nuclear build sites.

“British Energy is carrying out extensive work on its sites, including Bradwell, so that when final siting decisions are made they will be done so based on a comprehensive understanding of the facts.

“From what we know so far we believe the Bradwell site will be a strong candidate for new nuclear build.”

The Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform was contacted last night, but no-one was available for comment.

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