EDF is beginning its community consultation on initial plans for a new nuclear power station on its site at Hinkley Point.
The programme includes a series of exhibitions, newsletters, briefing meetings and a website allowing members of the public to submit their views on the proposals. A freepost address and freephone hotline have also been set up.
EDF operates 58 nuclear power stations and is the world’s most experienced nuclear power generator. It is currently planning to build a third-generation nuclear power station on the 86 hectare site. The plant would generate around 1,600 megawatts of electricity – enough for about two million homes in the UK.
EDF’s current plans could create approximately 350 direct permanent jobs and over 2,000 temporary jobs during the peak construction period, as well as further indirect jobs.
New nuclear build in the UK is a major opportunity for UK workers and businesses. EDF expects the involvement of various UK based companies and employees in its new build programme to be considerable both during construction and operation.
EDF will be holding public exhibitions in Burnham-On-Sea, Williton, Stogursey and Bridgwater.
EDF will also attend the public meetings being organised by British Energy about its own plans at Hinkley Point.
Simon Dunford, EDF’s Hinkley Point Project Manager said: “EDF believes the challenges the country faces to provide secure and affordable energy while combating climate change can only be met by generating energy from a diverse range of sources. This should include renewables, clean coal, gas and nuclear as well as greater energy efficiency.
“We are totally committed to working with the local community from the outset of this exciting project to develop new nuclear at Hinkley Point. Our plans will provide jobs, investment and regeneration for the community, which providing low carbon electricity for the region.”
The consultation will focus on the scope of the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) EDF plans to carry out on its site, and on the Goverment’s Strategic Site Assessment (SSA) process for new nuclear power stations.
EDF plans to nominate Hinkley Point to the SSA process as a possible location for a new nuclear power station.
Any decision to build at the site will depend on a full planning consent process involving further public consultation in due course.
Detailed planning and construction of a new power station at Hinkley Point would take at least nine years from now, meaning a new power station at Hinkley Point could be operational by the end of 2017.
The initial public consultation programme will give local people the opportunity to highlight issues that are important to them and allow EDF to take these views into account at this early stage in developing proposals for Hinkley Point.
EDF is working closely with British Energy which is also currently consulting on their own plans for their own site at Hinkley Point.
In order to ensure the consultations are as clear as possible and to allow the community the maximum opportunity to discuss current plans with the potential operators, representatives of British Energy and EDF will each attend the other’s public events.
EDF has announced an offer to acquire British Energy Group plc and the British Energy board has recommended its shareholders accept it. The offer is still subject to final shareholder and regulatory approval.
If the EDF acquisition of British Energy is completed, the EDF Group hopes to build two new nuclear power stations at Hinkley Point in total on a combination of its sites and the adjacent British Energy site.