DTI report revealed to Greenpeace says that the proximity to National Grid would be key factor in location of power stations

The dreaming spires of Oxford could be joined by the cooling towers of a nuclear power station nearby, according to confidential government plans.

A study commissioned by the Department of Trade and Industry said that sites in Oxfordshire, Brighton, Bristol and the Midlands were being considered for the new generation of nuclear power stations.

Nuclear power station

The DTI report was held back until yesterday’s Energy White Paper but was then disclosed to environmental lobbyists Greenpeace.

The report says that proximity to the National Grid should be the main factor in deciding where nuclear power stations should be built. It is thought Harwell, a former military site near Didcot in Oxfordshire, is the best available location at present.

Nuclear reactors built away from the coast need vast cooling towers such as those used by conventional coal and gas-powered stations.