Page last updated at 09:08 GMT, Wednesday, 31 March 2010 10:08 UK

Anglesey protest over plans for new nuclear power plant

Campaigners protest against a new nuclear power station on Anglesey
Protesters dispute economic and safety claims for a new nuclear plant at Wylfa

About 30 campaigners have held a protest over plans to build a new nuclear power plant on Anglesey.

It follows the announcement on Tuesday by the Horizon Nuclear Power company that it wants to see a new station on the island by 2020.

It would replace the current nuclear reactors at Wylfa which are due to halt electricity generation in December.

But the protesters, gathered at Menai Bridge, dispute claims over the economic benefits and the safety.

Horizon Nuclear Power has said it will apply for planning consent in 2012 to build a reactor on the island to produce up to 3,300Mw of electricity.

The nuclear developers, which is joint partnership between RWE npower and E.ON energy companies, said the new plant would deliver 800 high quality permanent jobs, rising to 1,000 during maintenance and up to 5,000 jobs during construction.

Anglesey council estimated it could bring £8bn to the local economy.

The development has been warmly welcomed by the council, the island's MP Albert Owen, and also its assembly member, Ieuan Wyn Jones.

Wylfa nuclear power station
The current Wylfa power station can continue production until December

But opponents have questioned the economic arguments and raise concerns over safety issues.

A statement from the group People Against Wylfa B (Pawb), added: "As the British general election draws closer, it is important that politicians across the parties are not deluded by economic arguments for building a new generation of nuclear power stations.

"The problems associated with nuclear power are far too numerous and serious for any government to decide to give substantial financial assistance to the large companies who wish to build new nuclear power stations."

Potest banner
The protesters held a banner objecting to the plans

Horizon said it is currently considering two potential types of nuclear reactor for the Wylfa site, one by French designers Areva known as an EPR, which is used by the generating firm EDF. The other is from Westinghouse, called a AP1000 reactor developed in the United States.

However, in December, the Health and Safety Executive said there remained concerns over some design issues with both reactors, which would need to be resolved before it gave its approval to any plans for the plants in Britain.

The issues relate to information on how the reactors would deal with severe accidents and how they may be affected if hit by an aeroplane.

But the safety regulators also said they were optimistic that the "generic design assessment" process could be resolved, though there remained a risk of delays in granting its approval.

However, campaigners on Anglesey have also raised questions about the type of nuclear fuel that may be used at the reactors.

"If the AP1000 or EPR were built, the doubly hot and radioactive waste compared to waste produced in current reactors would have to be stored on site for 160 years," said Pawb.

"What right do companies such as EDF and Horizon have to transfer risks in terms of cost, safety and health threat to future generations by producing such radioactively poisonous nuclear waste?"

The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) is conducting a 15-week consultation about the proposals.

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Daily Post North Wales News: Protest over plans for Wylfa B power station - 1 hr ago
Wales Online WAG to press for a public inquiry into N-plant proposal - 23 hrs ago
World Nuclear News Horizon picks its first nuclear site - 43 hrs ago
Utility Week Wylfa named as lead site for Horizon's nuclear new-build programme - 48 hrs ago
Interactive Investor German rivals plan Welsh reactor by 2020 - 50 hrs ago

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