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Last Updated: Wednesday, 17 May 2006, 11:14 GMT 12:14 UK
Hopes grow for new nuclear plant
Chapelcross towers
Hopes have been raised of a new plant at Chapelcross
The campaign for a new plant at Chapelcross near Annan has been boosted by the prime minister putting nuclear power "back on the agenda".

Workers have lobbied constantly for the south west Scotland site to be considered for a replacement station.

Local councillor Sean Marshall said it was the most "positive indication" yet that a Chapelcross 2 could be built.

He said public acceptance, a site licence and highly skilled workforce must help to support the scheme.

In a speech to business leaders Tony Blair said nuclear power was "back on the agenda with a vengeance".

The statement was welcomed by the councillor for the Chapelcross area.

"There are still problems convincing the Scottish Parliament but certainly that is the most positive indication we have had from the prime minister," Mr Marshall said.

"I totally welcome it," he added. "All the signs are if they are going to build they are going to do it on existing sites."

You have got an existing site licence and so many other advantages like public acceptance and a location suitable for a new nuclear plant
Sean Marshall
Chapelcross councillor

The old Chapelcross plant, which opened in 1959 and ceased generation in 2004, is currently being decommissioned.

However, Mr Marshall believes there is room for a new plant to be built on the site and that such a move would be welcomed.

"This site has enough room to start construction of a new station," he said.

"There is public acceptability here which is probably higher than most of the UK.

"You have got an existing site licence and so many other advantages like public acceptance and a location suitable for a new nuclear plant."

Workers have already travelled to Westminster to make the case for a new plant at Annan.

Mr Marshall believes locals would welcome the jobs that such a development could bring.

'Quality jobs'

The Corridor Regeneration Strategy (CoReS) has been set up to cope with the employment impact of the current decommissioning.

"In the Gretna, Lockerbie and Annan triangle there is 80% of the workforce of 400," said Mr Marshall.

"CoReS will struggle to get the quality jobs which is one of their main aims.

"Chapelcross 2 would probably fit the bill although there would be a reduced work force."

The prime minister's comments were also welcomed by Dumfries Labour MSP Dr Elaine Murray.

"This is good news for Chapelcross, although there will also be strong support for Hunterston and Torness as sites for replacement nuclear power stations," she said.

Tory MP David Mundell said the statement could have a big economic impact.

"This area benefited enormously from having the Chapelcross plant for over 50 years, which at the end of its life was bringing in 20m to the local economy and employing hundreds of people," he said.


SEE ALSO:
Blair nuclear speech under fire
17 May 06 |  Scotland
Blair backs nuclear power plans
16 May 06 |  UK Politics
Workers make nuclear plant case
29 Mar 06 |  Scotland
Chapelcross comes to a crossroads
07 Mar 06 |  Scotland
Bid to speed up nuclear run-down
11 Aug 05 |  Scotland
Aid for closed nuclear plant area
07 Feb 05 |  Scotland
Plan to ease nuclear job losses
06 Apr 04 |  Scotland
Nuclear decommissioning plea
07 Apr 03 |  Scotland


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