Anti-nuclear campaigners yesterday began mobilising public opposition to any attempt to site new nuclear power stations in the South of England, including Brighton, Oxfordshire and Somerset.
A study commissioned by the Government recommended that nuclear generating plants should be "strategically placed" for connection to the transmission grid and to supply electricity to large areas of demand, ruling out more remote locations.
The Jackson Consulting report disclosed that the Department of Trade and Industry has been working on the planning assumption that 10 new reactors will be built, most of them likely to be sited in the South of England.
John Sauven, a director of Greenpeace, said the Government would face a "huge amount of opposition" over attempts to build nuclear plants in the South.
He said other environmental groups were likely to join forces with Greenpeace. "Are people going to want nuclear power stations next to Brighton or Oxford? You have to question where the Government thinks it is going to build these things," Mr Sauven said.
The Government's dilemma on finding locations for a new generation of nuclear plants deepened when Alex Salmond, the Scottish First Minister, declared his backing for green energy generation, like hydro, wind, and biomass.
Mr Salmond, heading a minority Scottish National Party administration, dismissed new nuclear power stations in Scotland as "pie in the sky''.
Ministers believe that the devolved administration in Wales will also oppose nuclear stations there.
The confidential Government paper, disclosed after pressure from Greenpeace, recommended a new generation of plants at existing or redundant civil and military nuclear power stations.
But it acknowledged many of these would be unavailable for years or would be unsuitable because they had limited connections to the national grid. Instead, 60 existing coal or gas-fired power stations should be considered - and even "greenfield sites" as a last resort.
Last Mod: 25 Mayıs 2007, 11:45