EDF’s Nuclear New Build director of planning Richard Mason has said that there is “inherent support” among the Somerset community for the company’s new nuclear power plant at Hinkley Point.
Mr Mason told the Marketforce Nuclear Industry Forum that the company was undertaking a huge infrastructure operation in the area comprising road improvements and campuses for workers building the plant.
“It is an absolutely massive commitment,” said Mr Mason. “It’s as challenging as organising the power station itself.”
He believed that the benefits to the community from building the plant “are huge” and said local residents realised this.
“There is inherent support in the area for new nuclear. The vast majority of comments are about local issues. I hardly spend any of my time dealing with nuclear issues.”
Mr Mason was keen to stress that EDF was sending much time putting together a “very detailed environmental appraisal” and thorough consultation process, because “the five-to-seven years of construction will be quite demanding for the local community”.
Mr Mason hailed “a stunning change” in the perception of nuclear. “Haven’t we come a long way in the last five years,” he said. “Governments might change, but the facts about energy needs do not. Nuclear has a huge role to play as part of a balanced energy mix.”
He added: “We welcome the commitment of the government to take forward new nuclear. We regard the coalition as a very positive thing. We are very supportive and confident that we can deliver new nuclear without public subsidy.”