Sizewell C on the cards

SIZEWELL C power station came a great deal closer today after the government confirmed that a new generation of nuclear plants will be given the go ahead.

SIZEWELL C power station came a great deal closer today after the government confirmed that a new generation of nuclear plants will be given the go ahead.

Trade secretary John Hutton told the House of Commons that the case for a new generation of atomic power stations was “compelling.”

No sites for new stations were announced, but it is known that British Energy, which operates all the modern nuclear stations in Britain, is looking at Sizewell and Hinkley Point in Somerset as possible sites for new nuclear plants.

The company may enter into a partnership with another energy giant - possibly French government-owned EDF - to develop and new generation of plants using similar technology to Sizewell B.

Mr Hutton told the House of Commons: “I am giving the go ahead today that new nuclear power should play a role in providing UK with clean, secure and affordable energy is in our country's vital long term interest.

“Set against the challenges of climate change and security of supply, the evidence in support of new nuclear power stations is compelling. We should positively embrace the opportunity of delivering this important part of our energy policy.

Most Read

“I therefore invite energy companies to bring forward plans to build and operate new nuclear power stations.

Mr Hutton invited energy companies to bring forward plans to build and operate new nuclear power stations as part of the UK's strategy for a secure, diverse, low carbon energy mix.”

Mr Hutton made clear there would not taxpayers cash for the building of new nuclear power stations or the cost of decommissioning them or disposing of radioactive waste.

His Cabinet colleague Hilary Benn also published an document outlining how the government would choose the sites for geological disposal of radioactive waste - but his officials made clear that no decision on locations for the nuclear dumps had been taken.

The move prompted anger from anti-nuclear groups.

Friends of the Earth director Tony Juniper said: “The decision to encourage the construction of new nuclear stations in the UK is both irrational and unfortunate.

“It is irrational because the economics do not stack up and because renewables and energy efficiency could meet our needs more quickly and sustainably.

“It is unfortunate because the nuclear option will limit our ability to lead in the exciting and fast growing new markets for modern energy sources. And that is bad news for the UK economy and jobs.

“The UK could be a world leader in developing a low carbon economy, and the Energy Bill is a crucial opportunity to show how the Government intends to deliver it.

“Climate change is the biggest threat the planet faces. If the Government is serious about tackling it we must stop tinkering in the margins put in place strong policies to support renewable energy. We need a revolution in the way we meet our energy needs.”