Three make list for new nuclear plants

The Government has confirmed sites in Lancashire, Cumbria and North Wales as being suitable for new nuclear power stations by 2025.

A site in Heysham, Lancashire, nominated by EDF Energy, land near to Sellafield in Cumbria, nominated by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, and the Wylfa power station in Anglesey, North Wales, nominated by the NDA and RWE, were among eight sites the Government wants to press ahead with.

Charles Hendry, Minister of State for Energy, said: "Around a quarter of the UK's generating capacity is due to close by the end of this decade. We need to replace this with secure, low carbon, affordable energy. This will require over £100bn worth of investment in electricity generation alone. This means twice as much investment in energy infrastructure in this decade as was achieved in the last decade.

"Industry needs as much certainty as possible to make such big investments. These plans set out our energy need to help guide the planning process, so that if acceptable proposals come forward in appropriate places, they will not face unnecessary hold-ups.

"The Coalition Government is determined to make the UK a truly attractive market for investors, to give us secure, affordable, low-carbon energy. These National Policy Statements are an important milestone."

The proposed nuclear plants form part of the Government's finalised energy national policy statements that were published following public consultation earlier in the year and will be debated in Parliament.

The Department for Energy and Climate Change said the date of the debate is subject to confirmation from Parliamentary authorities.

Alongside the national policy statements, the Department for Energy and Climate Change has published independent research into how noise from wind turbines is assessed in the planning process.

In response to the findings, the Department for Energy and Climate Change is in discussions with the Institute of Acoustics to establish a working group to develop best practice guidance for planners, developers and local communities.

Cllr Geoff Driver, leader of Lancashire County Council, said: "This is good news for Lancashire as it will help to keep very high-skilled jobs right here in the county.

"There are other benefits for the wider county economy, such as for Lancashire-based companies involved in the supply chain for the nuclear industry, as well as other goods and services that are needed to build and run any large facility.

"This decision could also have wider benefits for our universities, helping to attract students into the county to study and have good employment prospects within the industry.

"This also reinforces the national importance of the Heysham-M6 Link, a major strategic transport scheme for the county."

NuGeneration, a consortium comprising of energy firms GDF Suez, Scottish & Southern Energy and Iberdrola, is the developer behind the proposals in West Cumbria.

NuGeneration bought the site from the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority in 2009 with an aim to start construction of a new power station around 2015.

Partners behind the Sellafield site also include Britain's Energy Coast West Cumbria, Invest in Cumbria, Cumbria County Council, Allerdale Council, Copeland Council, Sellafield, Cumbria Vision and the North West Development Agency.

Rob Johnston, chief executive of Cumbria Chamber of Commerce, said: "From a business perspective we've been lobbying for this to happen for a while. A lot of work has been done by all the partners for the site in Sellafield so clearly we're very happy with the latest announcement.

"Within the priorities of the new local enterprise partnership for Cumbria, nuclear is a key sector we are developing and the partners pressed hard for the new generation of nuclear plants in West Cumbria."

Horizon Nuclear Power, a joint venture between E.ON UK and RWE npower, is the developer behind plans for the proposed new Wylfa power station.

The other five sites are based in Bradwell, Essex; Hartlepool; Hinkley Point, Somerset; Oldbury, Gloucestershire; and Sizewell, Suffolk.

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UPDATE: Adds comment from Cumbria Chamber of Commerce

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UPDATE: Adds comment from Lancashire County Council

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