The planned sites are at: Bradwell, Essex; Hartlepool; Heysham, Lancashire; Hinkley Point, Somerset; Oldbury, South Gloucestershire; Sellafield, Cumbria; Sizewell, Suffolk; and Wylfa, Anglesey. The sites are adjacent to existing power stations.

The plans, laid out in the finalised Energy National Policy Statements (NPSs), follow a public consultation and will now be debated in Parliament.

The decision to push ahead with nuclear power against the backdrop of the Fukishima disaster does not come as a surprise.

The government had earlier signalled that it would continue to consider nuclear as part of the UK’s future energy supply mix after nuclear chief inspector Mike Weightman concluded there was no need to curtail the operations of nuclear plants in the UK.

He said: “”The extreme natural events that preceded the accident at Fukushima – the magnitude 9 earthquake and subsequent huge tsunami – are not credible in the UK.”

Greenpeace has condemned the plans saying that nuclear power is expensive and naming sites is not a solution to dealing with radioactive waste.

Greenpeace climate and energy campaigner, Louise Hitchins, said: “It’s illogical, and possibly illegal, for the Government to keep pushing for a fleet of new nuclear reactors before we’ve even learned the lessons from the Fukushima meltdown.

“Countries around the world are dropping their nuclear programmes as costs soar. And a growing number of our European competitors have turned their backs on nuclear power after calculating that it’s just not worth the risk.”

The NPSs also outline plans for investment in new energy sources, including 33GW of new renewable energy capacity.

Minister of State for Energy, Charles Hendry, said: “Around a quarter of the UK’s generating capacity is due to close by the end of this decade.

“We need to replace this with secure, low carbon, affordable energy.

“This will require over £100 billion worth of investment in electricity generation alone”.

Alison Brown

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