Essex N-plant plan revealed

BRITISH Energy has bought land next to the decommissioned Bradwell nuclear power station with a view to building a new reactor there, the EADT can reveal today.

By Roddy Ashworth

BRITISH Energy has bought land next to the decommissioned Bradwell nuclear power station with a view to building a new reactor there, the EADT can reveal today.

The site, opposite Mersea Island, has been earmarked as a potential home for a new power facility if the Government decides to include nuclear generation in its UK Energy review, due to be published by the end of May.

But campaigners have already said they would fight any proposals for a new N-plant in the county.

A spokeswoman for British Energy, the largest electricity generator in the UK, said the firm was currently seeking partner organisations with which to establish new nuclear plants.

It said that despite a judicial review obtained by Greenpeace, it was likely the Government would back nuclear power “as part of a balanced energy mix”.

Most Read

She added that the Bradwell site was one of many owned by the company and would not necessarily be chosen for a new station.

But she said that it had many advantages over previously unused sites, including both infrastructure and access to water.

She explained: “The Bradwell site, along with all the others we have in the UK, has potential for new nuclear generation.

“We will be carrying out site surveys ourselves, but the Government will also carry out strategic site assessments.

“These sites are our assets, and we are an attractive partner - we have the staff with the appropriate knowledge, relationships with the local communities, the sites have the seismic suitability, links with the power transmission network and transportation links, such as railway lines.

“Nuclear is virtually CO2 free and have many layers of security - while we will certainly not be complacent we don not believe the terrorist threat is as great as some people fear.”

But yesterday local Friends of the Earth co-ordinator Paula Whitney, who lives on Mersea Island, said residents would fight against any new proposals for a new nuclear plant at Bradwell.

“The site is hugely threatened by a rise in sea levels, it is very vulnerable to flooding and it is on an earthquake fault-line.

“The island is very antagonistic about it. We are down-wind from the site, and if something happened we could not escape.

“There is a very good fighting force here from different parts of the community - we are very strong and we will fight it.”

John Jowers, a Colchester borough councillor for West Mersea, said: “Mersea will be totally against this. People just don't want it, but reality stares us in the face - why did they not take the huge pylons going to Rettendon down when they shut the old one down in 2002?

“The thing is, the Magnox was a small station, and even with that there were concerns about heating up the river.

“I don't think this is on. We have had 40 years of it, and we have had our scares. I think we've done our bit.”

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter