Nuclear free in 25 years?

SIZEWELL A should be converted into a greenfield site within 25 years, a major new report said today.The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) has recommended the area be cleared by 2030, more than 70 years ahead of the current schedule.

SIZEWELL A should be converted into a greenfield site within 25 years, a major new report said today.

The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) has recommended the area be cleared by 2030, more than 70 years ahead of the current schedule.

Although the site is due to close at the end of the next year, the current time-scale would not have seen the land decontaminated and cleared until 2110.

But today the NDA recommended this plan be scrapped. The call was made in the publication of a new draft strategy for the decommissioning of Britain's 20 civilian nuclear sites.

It found speeding up the process of Sizewell A's closure would have various benefits, including utilising the skills of the current workforce in dismantling the site, making it available earlier for alternative uses and improving the visual sight of the area.

It is also hoped it will mitigate any impact on the environment in the area.

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Today's announcement has been welcomed by the Shut Down Sizewell Campaign.

Charles Barnett, chairman of the group, said: "We welcome this draft proposal and the idea of cleaning up the site and returning it to a greenfield site within 25 years.

"This is something we've been pressing for."

Tim Jones, spokesman for British Energy-owned Sizewell A, which employs around 450 people, said: "We welcome this publication and will make a full and considered response in due course.

"We're already using our considerable experience as site operators in supporting the NDA is delivering its objectives for the site."

It has been estimated the decommissioning of Britain's ageing nuclear power stations is likely to cost billions of pounds more than was estimated originally.

It is thought the total cost will be £56 billion - compared with the previous estimate of £48 billion.

An NDA spokesman said a series of meetings will be held during the consultation period in a bid to "stimulate a wide-ranging public debate".

The government has until March 31 next year to consider the proposals.

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