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Politicians call for new look at third Dungeness power station

PUBLISHED: 14:02 25 March 2012

Dungeness power station.

Dungeness power station.

Archant

With Dungeness B station due to close there are calls for a third generation of nuclear power

As one era of electricity generation comes to a close with the recent demolition of Richborough’s cooling towers, there are calls to revive a new age of power at Dungeness.

Both Shepway and Ashford councils are lobbying for a third nuclear plant to be built at the site.

Dungeness A has already been decommissioned, and the B reactor is due to stop producing pwer in 2018.

Leader of Ashford council Peter Wood said: “The decommissioning of Dungeness B, coupled with the Coalition Government’s reluctance to approve development of Dungeness C, will have a profound, some claim calamitous impact not only upon Romney Marsh, but also upon much of Shepway and Ashford.

“That extends beyond the obvious loss of employment opportunities and embraces much of the social structure of the marsh and beyond.

“Schools, nurseries, public transport, health provision, local shops and businesses, clubs will all bear the brunt of this loss.”

Dungeness was not one of the first eight sites in the country where the Government is allowing new nuclear stations to be built.

It was kept off the list because of fears about the impact a new Dungeness C plant would have on the unique habitat in the area.

Shepway MP Damian Collins has consistently backed the idea of a new power station.

He said: “There is very strong support for it from residents on Romney Marsh. The Government have made clear the door is still open for Dungeness C. We have to satisfy the planners in regard to special habitat regulations at Dungeness and the power station would have to be built with minimum impact on those protected areas, but I believe that could be done.”

The Government has said if a power generating company was interested in building a new plant it would allow the planning process to go through to resolve any environmental issues at the site.

Mr Collins said: “If any power company wishes to invest in a new plant and take forward an application an resolve these issues that may be the best way to do it. In every other aspect the Government believes it is a good site.

“When Dungeness A was built they had planned for four generations of nuclear power happening at the site. The land for Dungeness C has already been marked out and a lot of that land was disturbed when they built the other power stations so it is not untouched shingle. To me, that is a compelling reason to say we should allow development to happen now.”

The MP also dismissed criticism from leading environmental campaigners that the main beneficiaries of the new nuclear build programme would be foreign companies.

He said: “People who work at Dungeness B now already work for a French company. We are looking at investment into the country that will build vital infrastructure and generate electricity onshore.

“It will train a lot of people involved in nuclear power for years as a result of that investment. The reason many of these companies building stations are French is because they have continued to invest in their nuclear industry and we have done nothing since the 1980s. I hope that this new investment will also mark the renaissance of the British nuclear industry.”

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