Local opposition to the construction of connections between nuclear power stations and the National Grid could undermine efforts to build new nuclear power stations a senior energy engineer claimed this week.
Developers have to seek permission to build grid connections, including electricty pylons, separately from permission to build the power stations.
The government last week published its shortlist of 11 sites that could be used to build new nuclear power stations. All but two are on sites with active or inactive reactors.
Members of the public now have a month to comment on the proposed sites before it is decided which sites will be prioritised for construciton.
Mott MacDonald energy director Simon Harrison warned that approval for the sites might not be enough to carry them through to construction. “One thing the process did not invite is how to link these things to the grid,” said Harrison. “Conventionally, you permit the plant to someone, and then to someone else you permit the transmission.”
This could be cause problems at sites at Kirksanton and Braystones in Cumbria where new pylons would need to be built. “Cumbria has less infrastructure and sites are close to the Lake District, which is an area of outstanding national beauty,” added Harrison. “To install pylons there is a significant challenge to public acceptability.”
The other shortlisted sites are at Hartlepool, Heysham, Dungeness, Hinkley Point, Sizewell, Sellafield, Bradwell, Oldbury and Wylfa Peninsula.