WEST Somerset Council has clarified its position on nuclear power, after it was claimed the authority had agreed to oppose the building of a new power station at Hinkley Point.

Local anti-nuclear group Stop Hinkley had welcomed findings released by pressure group Nuclear Free Local Authorities, which suggested the council had endorsed an anti-nuclear policy last April.

Campaigners celebrated the news, predicting that West Somerset's opposition to the scheme would prevent the Government from bypassing a public enquiry into the building of a new Hinkley C.

They said the decision would be "a set back" to Hinkley B owner British Energy, currently in talks about sharing the £2billion construction cost for a new power station on the site.

But council spokesman, Stacey Beaumont, said although the council's Local Plan Policy did say the council opposed further nuclear development, it did not include the replacement of existing stations once they had been de-commissioned.

She said: "The Local Plan Policy EN/5 states the council will resist the development of further nuclear power generation capacity at Hinkley Point.

"The policy does, however, allow for the site's nuclear power generation capacity to be replaced.

"The council does not have a policy that states it will oppose the construction of a new nuclear power station at Hinkley Point if it is to replace Hinkley A or B stations, providing it does not exceed their generating capacity."