'We will consult on new N-plant'

NUCLEAR power chiefs have promised Essex residents a full public consultation will be held later this year to look at plans to build a new power station at Bradwell.

Elliot Furniss

NUCLEAR power chiefs have promised Essex residents a full public consultation will be held later this year to look at plans to build a new power station at Bradwell.

Nigel Knee, of British Energy, gave a presentation on nuclear power at the East Essex Area Forum in Colchester yesterday.

Mr Knee was questioned by green campaigners and local councillors about the plans for a new power station at Bradwell to replace the old one that is currently being decommissioned.


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British Energy already operates eight nuclear power stations in the UK and earlier this year the Government outlined plans to build more.

Mr Knee said Bradwell fitted the bill for a new power station and allayed the fears of one member of the forum who feared rising sea levels would see a new power station “sink into the sea”.

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He said: “I think it's a pretty poor show if we can't build some flood defences. We won't get a license to operate if we can't prove that the site will be adequately protected.

“We will hold a series of public meetings in areas directly affected later in the year. We will also publish the details of these meetings locally as soon as we can.”

Among those quizzing Mr Knee were representatives from action group BANNG (Blackwater Against Nuclear New Build) and the Colchester and North Essex branch of Friends of the Earth.

BANNG's representatives asked Mr Knee whether it was sound to rely on supplies of uranium from Australia and said there would be long-term issues with quality.

Mr Knee said it was unwise to rely on the “volatile” prices of fossil fuels and that there was an estimated reserve of about 85 years' worth of uranium at economically viable rates.

He added: “I don't say that nuclear is the sole thing we should be doing, but it's crazy not to do one of the things that we already have and know much about.”

Paula Whitney, of Friends of the Earth, put a number of points to Mr Knee about the impact the site would have on the north east Essex area and said she was disappointed that no other groups had been given the opportunity to present on alternatives to nuclear power during the forum.

However chairman Mick Page, of Essex County Council, said other groups and energy providers would be given a chance to speak in depth at future meetings.

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