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Government to confirm new nuclear sites

The government will today confirm the sites for the next generation of nuclear reactors in the UK.

In the first major announcement on the future of nuclear in the UK since the Fukushima disaster in Japan, the government will outline a series of locations deemed suitable for new power stations.

Last year, the government proposed new plants at eight existing nuclear sites - Bradwell, Essex; Hartlepool; Heysham, Lancashire; Hinkley Point, Somerset; Oldbury, South Gloucestershire; Sellafield, Cumbria; Sizewell, Suffolk; and Wylfa, Anglesey - and turned down another three.

Today’s confirmed list, along with wider policy statements on energy, will be debated and voted on in Parliament.

Energy minister Charles Hendry said: “Nuclear is vital for our energy security now, and we want it to be part of the energy mix in the future.

“Investors need certainty so we will be making clear that nuclear has a key role going forward alongside renewables and clean coal and gas.”

The government is planning the new suite of nuclear reactors to maintain electricity supplies and cut greenhouse gas emissions as an old generation of power stations are shut down.

The future of nuclear as a power source for countries around the world was called into question earlier this year after the Japanese earthquake and tsunami rocked the reactors at Fukushima, leaving radioactivity leaking from the plant.

But energy secretary Chris Huhne signalled last month that plans for new reactors in the UK were on track. An initial report from nuclear chief inspector Mike Weightman ruled out the need to curtail the operation of nuclear power stations in the UK light of the situation in Japan.

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