Meetings on nuclear debate

Monday, February 25, 2008

The public will get the chance to hear the outline proposals for new nuclear power stations at Sizewell and Bradwell next month.

British Energy is arranging public meetings “to keep people informed on the decision-making process and to hear views on the impact this may have on the area”.

People will also be able to learn about the four different reactor designs being considered.

The meeting about the potential for a new nuclear plant at Sizewell will be held in the sports and social club in King George's Avenue, Leiston, from 6.30 pm on March 11. The date and venue for the Bradwell meeting have yet to be announced.

Earlier this year the Government controversially agreed there should be a new generation of nuclear power stations - to help meet the UK's future electricity demand and avoid the need to create power by burning fossil fuels, a major source of global warming emissions.

British Energy is currently seeking a big business partner to embark on a new nuclear building programme which will include a Sizewell C and may also include a Bradwell B and further plants at Dungeness in Kent and Hinkley Point in Somerset.

A company spokesman said: “British Energy aims to be at the heart of any new nuclear build and has already started assessment work on a number of UK sites, including Sizewell.

“This is in order to develop knowledge of the sites and the environmental and economic impact of new nuclear build in these areas.

“Although there is still much work to be done before decisions on siting and technology are made, British Energy is keen to keep people informed on the decision making process and to hear views on the impact this may have on the area.”

Anyone wanting to attend the Sizewell meeting is asked to register with Niki Spatchett, community liaison officer at Sizewell B, tel.01728 653258 or email

Meanwhile, the Government has made clear that operators of any new nuclear power stations will be required by law to set aside sufficient funds for decommissioning the plants at the end of their operating lifetimes and dealing with their radioactive waste legacy.

Business secretary, John Hutton, said firms would also have to publish detailed decommissioning plans before construction began.

It was in the national interest to ensure taxpayers were protected from future clean-up costs, he said.

“Let me be clear - full means full. Funds will be sufficient, secure and independent. It will be a criminal offence not to comply with the approved arrangements and we are taking power to guard against unforeseen shortfalls,” he added.

Mr Hutton's statement follows concern that, as has happened up to now, nuclear operators will not have sufficient funds to pay for decommissioning and the bill will have to be picked up by taxpayers.

The bill for decommissioning the UK's existing nuclear plants is expected to top £73 billion.

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