Optimism over new Dungeness nuclear power station

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionEDF says it wants to extend the life of Dungeness B by 10 years

There are "reasons to be optimistic" that a new nuclear reactor could be built in Kent, an MP says.

Damian Collins, Conservative MP for Folkestone and Hythe, said a new smaller reactor could fit on the existing Dungeness site.

He said the decommissioning of Dungeness A would free up land, which could be used for a third reactor.

In 2009, the previous government dismissed the site as a location for a new nuclear power station.

Mr Collins said: "I think there are reasons to be very optimistic that we can get a new power station at Dungeness. The government has always said 'the door remains open'."

He said the Dungeness site was constrained in size by surrounding protected sites, including an RSPB reserve.

"New technology, which is seeing smaller reactor types developed, could suit Dungeness very well."

'Important wildlife habitat'

An EDF spokesman said it felt the site had "the potential for new nuclear development in the future".

The RSPB said the Dungeness peninsular was home to rare plants, birds and animals including bitterns, ringed plovers and lapwings.

A spokesman said: "Its unique shingle ridges are internationally important for plants and wildlife and it is crucial that the character and biodiversity of this fragile habitat is preserved."

Dungeness B started operating more than 30 years ago. It is currently scheduled to close in 2018, but EDF hopes to extend its life for a further 10 years.

In March, one of the two reactors at Dungeness B was shut down as part of a £25m maintenance plan.

Mr Collins said: "They're likely to get the 10 year extension. It's just a case of going through the normal safety checks."

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites