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Government approves eight nuclear sites

The UK’s nuclear new build programme received a boost today as climate secretary Chris Huhne gave the green light to eight of 11 proposed plant sites as well as approving reactor designs in principle.

Mr Huhne’s announcements came as he launched the Government’s consultation on the coalition’s revised draft national policy statements on energy earlier today.

The eight sites, which have been approved for new nuclear reactors before 2025, are:

  • Bradwell, Essex
  • Hartlepool, Borough of Hartlepool
  • Heysham, Lancashire
  • Hinkley Point, Somerset
  • Oldbury, South Gloucestershire
  • Sellafield, Cumbria
  • Sizewell, Suffolk
  • Wylfa, Isle of Anglesey

Plans for power stations at Dungeness in Kent and Braystones and Kirksanton in Cumbria have been shelved until at least 2025 with Mr Huhne citing their potential impact on the local wildlife and environment.  

Mr Huhne also announced the regulatory justification of the two competing nuclear reactor designs – Westinghouse’s AP1000 and Areva’s EPR.

EDF is planning to use the EPR for its power stations to be built at Hinkley Point and Sizewell while Westinghouse and Areva are still competing to become Horizon’s reactor supplier. Horizon’s first proposed plant will be at Wylfa.

The secretary also issued statements giving more detail on the Government’s policy of no subsidy for new nuclear power and how it expects nuclear developers to clean up its sites.

As part of his announcement Mr Huhne said the UK’s future energy mix would consist of both nuclear and renewables.

Mr Huhne said: “I’m fed up with the stand-off between advocates of renewables and of nuclear which means we have neither. We urgently need investment in new and diverse energy sources to power the UK. We’ll need renewables, new nuclear, fossil fuels with CCS, and the cables to hook them all up to the Grid as a large slice of our current generating capacity shuts down. The market needs certainty to make this investment happen, and we are determined to clear every obstacle in the way of this programme.

“So today we are setting out our energy need which will help guide the planning process, so that if sound proposals come forward in sensible places, they will not face unnecessary hold-ups. And I am making clear that new nuclear will be free to contribute as much as possible with the onus on developers to pay for the clean-up”.

In a move that was widely predicted, Mr Huhne also said that no Government funding would be made available for the £30bn Severn Barrage scheme.