The National Policy Statements on Energy consultation, which closed yesterday (January 24), in part aims to encourage more nuclear power station investment.

As the consultation closed energy and climate change minister, Chris Huhne, toured and gave his full backing to two potential nuclear power station.

Mr Huhne toured the Hinkley B nuclear site in Somerset and viewed the location for another nuclear fuelled power plant.

The new station, which is backed by EDF Energy and British Gas parent firm Centrica, has the potential to add £100 million a year to the local economy during construction and £40 million every year when it’s up and running.

Subject to consent EDF and Centric have plans to build two new power plants at Hinkley Point.

Mr Huhne was also on hand to cut the ribbon on EDF’s new £3 million into the Energy Skills Centre, which it hopes will train 1000s of new green professionals.

Mr Huhne said: “A new nuclear power station at Hinkley Point has the potential to make an important contribution to the UK’s future low carbon, secure energy supplies.

“I’ve been impressed with the level of public engagement from the communities around all eight of the sites assessed by the Government as potentially suitable for new nuclear power.

“The consultation period ends today. Ministers will now consider all responses before putting a final list to Parliament for approval, after which companies like EDF Energy will be able to come forward with formal planning applications.

“It’s important local communities benefit from energy projects. Making the most of local skills is going to be crucial, and I’m encouraged to see EDF Energy’s support for Bridgwater College’s new Energy Skills Centre.”

EDF Energy’s chief executive, Vincent de Rivaz, added: “We want Somerset people to have the maximum opportunity to benefit from our plans.

“Our investment in Bridgwater College is designed to ensure people and businesses in the local community can develop the skills they need to secure jobs and contracts on our project.”

Luke Walsh

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