A list of 11 sites that could be potential hosts to new nuclear power stations in the UK has been published by the Department of Energy and Climate Change.
Members of the public now have one month to comment on the proposals before a nuclear planning consultation takes place later this year.
The Nuclear Industry Association’s chief executive, Keith Parker, welcomed the news, saying that the announcement demonstrated a key step towards a new fleet of nuclear power stations for the UK.
For its part, EDF proposed five sites – at Hinkley Point in Somerset, Sizewell in Suffolk, Heysham in Lancashire, Hartlepool on Teesside and Dungeness in Kent.
EDF Energy owns land at each of these sites and also at Bradwell in Essex, a site nominated by the NDA, and the Wylfa Peninsula on Anglesey, which was jointly nominated by the NDA and RWE.
EDF’s new nuclear build director of planning and external affairs, Richard Mayson, said: ‘EDF Energy intends to build four new EPR pressurised water reactors in the UK, with the first to be operational by the end of 2017, subject to a robust investment framework being in place.’
The company has indicated that it would like to build the four EPRs at Sizewell and Hinkley Point, with two reactors at each site.
For its part, RWE npower nominated two sites – located near Braystones to the north of Sellafield and close to Kirksanton in Cumbria – for consideration into the government’s nuclear assessment process.
Stuart Dagnall, nuclear development manager for RWE npower, said: ‘We have nominated two potential sites for a new nuclear power station in Cumbria. The government will finally decide on which sites in the UK are appropriate for possible nuclear development early next year.’
Finally, energy giant E.ON nominated a potential nuclear site at Oldbury in Gloucestershire. E.ON previously announced that it had formed a joint venture with fellow energy company RWE npower to develop new nuclear power stations in the UK. Between them, the companies already have 20 nuclear power stations operating around the world.
The Oldbury site was nominated jointly by E.ON and the NDA, which also suggested that Sellafield in Cumbria might make a suitable site for any new reactor.
Upon publication of the potential list of homes for new nuclear build, secretary of state for the Department of Energy and Climate Change, Ed Miliband, said: ’I want to listen to what people have to say about these nominations and I encourage people to log on to our website, read the information and let us have their comments.’
Following the one-month public comment period, information from the public will be used alongside the advice of regulators and other specialists.
Sites that are judged to be potentially suitable will then be included in a draft National Policy Statement (NPS) on nuclear power, which will be published later this year for public consultation.
The NPS will set the framework upon which the new independent Infrastructure Planning Commission’s decisions on new nuclear power will be made.