New Projects, Nuclear, Reactors

UK names ten sites for new nuclear build, sets out waste repository plan

9 November 2009 – The UK’s Department of Energy and Climate Change has approved ten sites and rejected Dungeness as a suitable site for a new fleet of nuclear power stations in a national policy statement (NPS).

Ten of the eleven sites nominated by industry in March have been assessed as potentially suitable for new nuclear deployment by the end of 2025: Bradwell, Braystones, Hartlepool, Heysham, Hinkley Point, Kirksanton, Oldbury, Sellafield, Sizewell and Wylfa.

Dungeness was nominated but has not been listed as the UK government does not consider that potential environmental impacts at this site can be mitigated. The government also has concerns about coastal erosion and associated flood risk at that nominated site.

Following an independent study in line with the Habitats Directive, three alternative sites were identified as worthy of further consideration: Druridge Bay in Northumberland, Kingsnorth in Kent and Owston Ferry in South Yorkshire. It was concluded that all of them have serious impediments, none of them is credible for deployment by the end of 2025, nor are they necessary for the UK’s plans, and they have not been listed in the draft nuclear NPS.

Meanwhile, radioactive waste from the new generation of nuclear power stations could be buried deep underground in a storage facility that could cost up to GBP18bn ($30bn).

Ed Miliband, the Energy Secretary, has given the green light to a plan to construct a “deep geological repository” for permanent disposal of the 200 tonnes of high-level waste produced annually by the ten new reactors.

Each reactor will produce about 20 tonnes of spent fuel per year, although the high level waste produced would be significantly less.

The store will also provide a permanent place for the stockpile of about 5000 canisters of high level nuclear waste from the country’s past civil and military nuclear programmes, which are housed in a temporary facility at the Sellafield plant in West Cumbria.