CAMPAIGNERS claim plans to build a nuclear power station off the coast of Essex could collapse before the end of the year.

The Blackwater Against New Nuclear Group says there is growing “hostility” towards proposals to build a power station in Bradwell and believes the scheme could even be shelved in the coming weeks.

Group chairman Prof Andy Blowers made the bold claim after seeing Japanese firm Hitachi pull out of plans to build its own nuclear power station in north Wales.

He says Hitachi’s decision underlines the “huge expense” associated with building nuclear power stations and believes the Bradwell B project will be binned because of the costs and scale of opposition.

Both Colchester and Maldon councils have rejected planning applications for the power station in the past month.

The applications were jointly submitted by the China General Nuclear Power Group, also known as CGN, and energy firm EDF.

A spokesman for the Blackwater Against New Nuclear Group said: “CGN is now fully aware of the mountain it has to climb to get anywhere near planning permission for its massive nuclear juggernaut, which will utterly destroy the environment and wellbeing of the Blackwater region.

“Widespread public protest and influential councils have produced a powerful coalition of outright opposition to the proposals.

“Its progress will not be straightforward and will take years to complete.

“By the time it could start operating, it will be a white elephant, unnecessary, uneconomic and redundant.

Prof Blowers added: “It is conceivable that the Bradwell B project could collapse in weeks. Or, it may take much longer before CGN realises persistence is futile.

“Whatever happens, the loss of the project in north Wales suggests the writing is already on the wall.”

A spokesman for the Bradwell B project brushed off suggestions it could collapse and insists the plans are progressing.

He said: “UK Government policy is to deliver Net Zero carbon emissions by 2050, a period in which electricity usage in the UK is expected to double. New nuclear power stations produce low carbon electricity when the wind doesn’t blow and sun doesn’t shine and are integral to the UK having a low carbon energy mix which includes renewables. Our focus continues to be on progressing Bradwell B, and we are making important progress having recently completed a first round of public consultation.

“We are working hard to taking account of people’s feedback ahead of presenting revised proposals in our next stage of consultation.”