Currently Hinkley Point has got one power station in operation
A new nuclear power station at Hinkley Point has far-reaching consequences for residents in Somerset.
Protest groups are fearful of the risks like leaks and radiation levels from the proposed repository and reactors.
Local councils, however, see it as an opportunity for new jobs and the chance of major investment.
And the government says it is a way of tackling climate change and giving the country 'security of supply' and making Britain more energy self-sufficient.
Outline of the plans
Stage one of the public consultation by EDF Energy, the company which would build the reactor should it be approved, is set to begin on 16 November 2009.
It covers the associated works necessary to support a nuclear power station, like the roads and managing the transport of goods.
Some of the plans look at:
- Traffic management, which could include a bypass for Cannington, park and ride facilities, traffic calming and other road improvements
- Managing the transport of goods, which could include a temporary jetty at Hinkley Point, flood defence works, and upgrading Combwich Wharf, freight consolidation centres, site security
The next stage of the consultation is set to begin in March 2010 and will run until May 2010. This will be a honed down version of the current proposal which will take into account public feedback.
Stop Hinkley's view
The protest group Stop Hinkley has long campaigned against nuclear power in Somerset, on grounds that it is not cheap and is unsafe. They also believe that radioactive pollution has increased cancer deaths from Minehead to Burnham.
The group is also highlighting the fact that the new generation of power stations will store nuclear waste on site until a permanent repository is found - and this is an unknown length of time and, could potentially according to the group, take decades.
David Taylor, from Stop Hinkley, said: "It is a major concern. Of course the waste is more toxic than the waste we had before. It's going to be very long lived, and how can we contain nuclear waste safely over that period of time - 160 years?
"The technology doesn't yet exist and the reason they want to store it here is because they haven't yet found anyone in Britain willing to host a national repository."
Sedgemoor District Council's view
A new nuclear power station will have a direct effect on people living in the West Somerset and Sedgemoor district council areas and on the county as a whole.
The main concern voiced by Sedgemoor District Council is the risks associated with storing nuclear waste, and how well those risks would be minimised by EDF.
Kerry Rickards, chief executive at the council, said: "They've got to make sure they've covered the storage angle. They deem that as temporary storage but temporary in nuclear terms is 70 - 80 years.
"We, as a council, along with West Somerset [and] our colleagues at the county council, will be making sure that the contractor and government are aware that this is an increased risk for our communities and as such the communities need to get some benefit out of that."
Mr Rickards believes the council could receive a pay-off in the region of £10m, as well as £1.5m a year for incurring the risks of having a nuclear power station in the county. He was basing these estimates from the sums received by Copeland Borough Council in Cumbria about 18 months ago.
"We maintain the same view. There is a risk having a nuclear power station on your doorstep. We think we should be attracting many million pounds on the back of that.
"We are in very intense discussions with EDF to make sure there is a process set up and that we do attract many millions of pounds to assist us to set up a whole system of community projects.
"We will be pushing very hard to make sure we get the right deal for our area."
EDF Energy says the new nuclear power station, if built, will create up to 4,000 jobs during the construction and then up to 700 jobs for the next 60 years while the station is in operation.
The company says the new site would generate about six percent of Britain's energy needs, which is the equivalent of around powering 5m homes.
In response to concerns raised by Stop Hinkley and Sedgemoor District Council, the head of nuclear policy, Nigel Knee, said: "For any new power station any spent fuel will be stored on the power station site until a national repository is available.
"That's no different to what happens now with our with our Sizewell B power station in Suffolk which is the same sort of power station we are proposing at Hinkley Point.
"We're confident that we have the technology to store it safely as long as it needs to be until a national underground repository is available."
What do you think about plans for a new nuclear power station at Hinkley Point?
I have lived here for 8 months and only just heard about the plans for a lorry park & contractors park & ride adjacent to this new residential area. The traffic once off the M5 at Junction 24 is incredibly busy and more lorries & cars can only make matters worse. Why is agricultural land being considered for this purpose, next to newly built residential property?
This access road to Bridgwater must be one of the busiest, as well as the A39 from the west, so how can this proposal cause anything but more congestion on our roads in all directions. Bear in mind that we only have 2 exit points from these estates both on to the busy A38, at times the roads are grid locked. When the M5 has restricted use due to accidents (frequent in the summer months) vehicles leave the motorway to go through either Bridgwater or North Petherton and we can hardly get off the estate. Cars trying to avoid some of this are already using the road through Stockmoor Vilage and now we have a newly built school with access onto this road. I think this proposal needs to be withdrawn immediately.
Mary, Wilstock, North Petherton
There was originally a proposal for a 300 car park and ride site at Stockmoor village, but now it appears EDF are looking at one double the size just for their workers, alongside a HGV depot. This was not shown up when we moved in eighteen months ago and will have a dramatic affect on the amount of traffic at the A38 access we have as well as going through the Stockmoor development. Stockmoor was built, advertised and sold as a village development on the outskirts of Bridgwater and North Petherton, with home buyers believing that was what they were getting. EDF's plans can only turn it into an industrial site.
Tony Bruce, Stockmoor Parade, North Petherton
I live at Stockmoor Village. When we bought our house 2 years ago there was no mention on the local search that there was a proposal to turn land next to our homes into an industrial estate.
There was talk of a park-and-ride which we thought would be handy to go shopping in Bridgwater or Taunton or when we have to go for hospital appointments. Then we heard that the park-and-ride isn't going to be for the public but for workers at Hinkley, along with a HGV depot.
Surely the new road that could be built between Dunball and Hinkley should be made a prerquisite for the plans being allowed to go ahead, Sedgemoor Distict Council has the whip hand on this and should insist that this road be built to stop the local roads being gridlocked.
Getting out of our estate onto the A38 is nearly imposible already without the extra traffic this development would bring.
Countrymaid, North Petherton Somerset
Stockmoor Village on the outskirts of North Petherton has been in the process of being constructed for about three years and we have been living here for 2 of them.Up untill this weekend there is no-one to my knowledge who has heard of the proposal for the land being developed at Stockmoor by EDF.
This makes you wonder if EDF was hoping that no-one was going to find out untill it was too late to do anything about it.
Marilyn Kick, Stockmoor Village,North Petherton, Bridgwater,Somerset
It is only 85 miles from the former Royal Air Force Station at Wroughton in Wiltshire. Surely laying on buses and keeping people away from villages would be to the advantage of EDF. Please remember the problems that were caused by the building of Hinkley A.
why do they wont to go through my school when they can go round what would not effect anyone if it goes ahead it would ruin hundreds of kids education
Chris Adamson and Peter Warington, Brymore School
If the local council thinks nuclear power is worth having because they hope to get money to spend shame on them. If local people think it will be worth it to increase jobs in the area what makes them so sure it will be local our even English people they will employ. If everyone thinks of the short term benefit to there wallet rather than the long term threat to future generations then shame on you. WASTE COULD BE STORED NEAR YOU
Lesley Wheddon, Bridgwater
Why are large companies and councils allowed to ride roughshod over families, village communities and schools giving no regard to the lives they are ruining in the process. Cannington in particular will be ruined if this bypass goes ahead and Brymore School will lose 20 of its 30 acres of agricultural land. This will mean that it will no longer be able to keep its dairy herd and boys will lose a very valuable and unique learning experience. Many of these boys will not gain GCSE grades at C and above in academic subjects because they are more practically minded individuals who learn better through hands on experience and are able to gain NVQ level 2 qualifications in agriculture which are equivalent to a GCSE pass at grade C.
L Turner, Wrexham, Clwyd
I am a Year 10 border at Brymore School where the bypass is going to be built. I also live 15 miles from Cannington so this really affects me, my family, my classmates and my friends and neighbours.
EDF's bypass will take 20 acres of our 30 acres of pasture land. Our school is the only agricultural and horticultural specialist school for boys aged 13-18 and teaches us all kinds of land and countryside management skills to help us learn how to best manage our countryside for future generations. It is the best school in the world and is truly unique and all my classmates, and hundreds of old boys would agree that if our school was to close it would be a dreadful waste of a most amazing resource. It would also mean that the opportunities we receive would not be there for future pupils. It seems that green belt land is only safe when it suits the government and when it doesn't they can build whatever they like and rip up the countryside to suit their short term needs. Has anyone thought that the bypass won't be needed after the new power station is built? It is only needed whilst the building is in process but who's ever heard of them returning roads to pastureland?
Why would EDF even contemplate helping to close a school that holds the next generation of farmers and land managers? If you must have a bypass then build it from Dumball Wharf as everyone wants and stop trying to cut costs. Just something to think about EDF.
Alastair Weldon, Sampford Brett, Somerset
The proposed construction workers hostel, park & ride and freight transfer facility on the outskirts of our village will cause social problems, noise & light pollution. The intention is to substantially increase the village population and the majority of workers will be single men who will work hard and no doubt play hard as well as undisciplined. We will be turned into a "Frontier Town" for at least 10 years, and left with the legacy of the spoils. The proposed by-passes will not suffice as the increased heavy plant and incoming traffic will have to go through Bridgwater. A by-pass from Dunball to the existing Hinkley Point road is the only option. Last summer we endured the traffic problems with the bridge closure on the NDR by Chilton School. Hinkley traffic will snarl Bridgwater right up. The sites as suggested are on green belt land. There are 3 existing redundant ex-industrial sites in Bridgwater that would serve the purpose. The old BCL site would be ideally situated.
Alex Reed, Cannington
I am in favour of the Nuclear Power Station at Hinkley Point but I do believe the proposals for traffic, hostels and freight loading areas proposed for Cannington, Bridgwater and Williton will be detrimental to our somerset villages. I believe it will turn Cannigton into an industrial estate for at least 10 years. What we need is a dedicated road from the north of Bridgwater to Hinkley Point to alleviate all of the traffic problems now and in the future expansion of Hinkley Point. Why should Cannington, Bridgwater and Williton areas suffer because of the mistakes of years ago?
Roy Deakin, Bridgwater
if they make this bypass my school will lose it's farm and then the school will be shut down so think about that edf energy
Callum Cameron, Weston-super-Mare
so why the goverment saying yes to nuclear in this country they are stopping other countrys with nuclear war heads they dont need them a single bomb into hinkley has done the job for them if there was a war the first thing they would go for is the power stations
R Vaughan, Somerset
I have only just moved here from Middlesex, and I never would have come here had I have known about this. Our local searches turned up nothing about the existing power plant not to mention the possibility of a new one! What guarantees to residents have that some of the compensation money will come to them and not just go to the local councils? What guarantee is there that these jobs will benefit local residents and not be filled by people brought in from afar and abroad? I would like to take part in any meetings going on against this new build, please let me know times and dates! People come to this area to retire not to become affected by nuclear waste!
Thomas Hall, Minehead
The UK, and the world, urgently needs all the low or no carbon energy sources it can get. I am an advocate for all sustainable energy resources - including energy saving of course. Energy companies will seek the best solutions which include wind turbines, solar power and nuclear. They are best suited to large scale solutions (nuclear, clean coal + carbon capture, large scale desert solar) - communities and individuals can play their part on the smaller scale opportunities. There is no simple - or single solution, so let's just get on with the job, together.
Richard Hellen, Dursley, UK
There is no 'silver bullet' to the issue of meeting the ever-increasing demand for energy. What is needed is a balanced view of the issues and a balance in the use of the available technologies. I work in the nuclear industry so I guess it's no surprise that am I in favour of new nuclear build *BUT* I am also in favour of investment in other low carbon emission technologies. Each technology has their pros and cons, but what is absolutely vital is that we produce electricity safely whilst not increasing our carbon emissions. At this point in time, like it not, nuclear is clearly at the fore.
Pete Caldwell, Taunton, Somerset