HINKLEY Point has been approved as one of ten sites in England and Wales where new nuclear power stations can be built.

The announcement was made in parliament yesterday by Energy Secretary Ed Miliband, and should pave the way for energy firm EDF to submit a formal planning application next summer to build two new reactors at Hinkley Point.

Ian Liddell-Grainger, MP for West Somerset, said: “I’m absolutely chuffed. This is a momentous day for Sedgemoor and West Somerset.

“This will bring jobs and prosperity to the area for generations. Once again, we’re leading the way.”

EDF Energy chief executive Vincent de Rivaz welcomed Mr Miliband’s announcement as a “vital step on the road towards an affordable low-carbon future”.

EDF says it plans to build four reactors, two each at Hinkley and Sizewell – to provide power for ten million homes.

Hinkley is likely to become the first of the new generation of nuclear power stations to be completed, and should be operational by the end of 2017, provided it gets planning approval.

However, anti-nuclear group Stop Hinkley criticised the Government’s decision to allow an Infrastructure Planning Commission to determine planning applications for the new nuclear power stations.

The commission is seen a way of fast-tracking major infrastructure projects, but opponents say it can leave local people out of the decision-making process.

Stop Hinkley also called for a public inquiry into the justification for new nuclear power stations.

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