British Energy company says flood defences would be required if nuclear powerstations were built on existing sites

British Energy is considering eight of its sites as possible locations for next generation nuclear plants but said flood defences would be needed to protect them.

Dungeness powerstation
Credit: Matt FM
Dungeness powerstation

The firm named Sizewell in Suffolk, Hinkley in Somerset, Bradwell in Essex and Dungeness in Kent as preferred sites for the new reactors.

It said it had already reached agreement with the National Grid to create extra capacity for up to 10 gigawatts generated at the sites, starting in 2016.

The firm also singled out Heysham in Lancashire, Torness in East Lothian, Hunterson in Ayrshire and Hartlepool as possible locations.

The announcement was part of a review from British Energy on site work needed to combat climate change based on research from engineering consultancy the Halcrow group.

The report concluded that flood defences could make replacement build “a feasible option” at all the sites in spite of fears that coastal areas are at risk from rising sea levels.

But the firm said grid access was likely to be an important consideration in choosing sites. Local flora and fauna, landscape, marine ecology and air quality will also be examined.

The government is expected to clarify its nuclear policy next year.