E.ON, the German utility, has earmarked two greenfield sites in Kent as possible locations for new nuclear power stations.
The company is considering using its existing oil-fired power station at the Isle of Grain, near Sheerness, and its coal-fired plant at Kingsnorth, near Ashford, as sites to develop nuclear reactors, The Times has learnt.
E.ON, which said last month that it wanted to build two new nuclear stations in Britain using French technology from Areva, would prefer to develop any new reactors on existing nuclear sites that are owned by either British Energy or the Government through the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority. It views this as the ideal solution because most of these sites have receptive local communities and the planning process is less likely to be subject to local opposition and lengthy delays.
However, E.ON is considering using its own brownfield sites at the Isle of Grain and Kingsnorth as fallback options. Both existing plants are due to close by 2015 because of the European Union’s Large Combustion Plant Directive (LCPD), which places strict limits on their emissions.
E.ON plans to build a new, gas-fired combined heat and power plant at the Isle of Grain and a “clean” coal-fired plant at Kingsnorth, but land clearance work for the new plant at Grain has only just begun, while the Government has not approved the plant at Kingsnorth. The Kingsnorth scheme has provoked a public outcry because it would be the UK’s first coal-fired power station to be built in more than 20 years.
Of the two E.ON sites, the Isle of Grain is viewed as a stronger candidate for an application for a new nuclear power station because it lies on the coast and is relatively far from large population centres.
However, E.ON is considering nominating both sites as potential candidates for new nuclear stations before a deadline for applications of this autumn set by the Government.
The Department for Business will assess all of the proposed sites for new nuclear plants and will open a public consultation on a draft list next spring.
E.ON also owns a coal-fired power station at Ironbridge, Shropshire, that is due to close by 2015. It is considered a very unlikely candidate for a new nuclear plant because of its proximity to the Ironbridge Gorge world heritage site.
(Source: The Times Online)