Fiona Harvey Where the nuclear sites are


Source: DECC

The UK government has put out a list of possible sites for new nuclear power stations and the public can have their say, for the next month, on whether these sites are suitable.

The sites are all those of existing nuclear power plants, which should make local opposition more muted, as people who live near reactors tend to see them as job providers rather than huge threats.

But green groups are setting out to counter the government on all fronts with its nuclear plans. They will certainly comment, with local groups, on the sites. They are also likely to attempt legal challenges at as many points in the process as they can.

After decades in which corporate interests were often diametrically opposed to green lobby interests, in the past few years the two sides have had a rapprochement, with companies embracing green aims and green groups more willing to talk to businesses about the roles they can play in saving the planet.

Nuclear power is where the lobbies still, mostly, diverge. Business lobby groups and many companies, worried about keeping the lights on as the UK decommissions many of its existing nuclear and fossil fuel power stations, are in favour of new nuclear reactors. Greens are adamantly opposed, though a few outliers (eg James Lovelock) insist nuclear must be used as a low-carbon source of power.

The battle lines are, as yet, only being drawn up. Over the next few months and then years as the process of gaining planning permission and commencing building at the sites unfolds, the real opposition will begin.

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