The prospect of a second Bradwell nuclear station opening was today condemned by some residents.

North Essex politicians have welcomed the news, which could pave the way for Bradwell to be operating in ten years.

Government backing was yesterday given for a new generation of nuclear plants.

Business secretary John Hutton said nuclear power will play a key role in future energy policy.

British Energy said it has already secured transmission connection agreements with National Grid, from 2016 onwards, for Bradwell, Sizewell, Hinkley Point and Dungeness.

Mr Hutton's announcement was today greeted with alarm by some West Mersea residents.

Ian Clarke, of Seaview Avenue, said he was concerned about the impact of a Bradwell Mark II.

He pointed out that the existing plant - though decommissioned - will be a feature of the landscape for years to come, while plans were also recently approved for a wind farm to be built at Bradwell.

"If a new power station goes ahead, on top of everything else, the landscape will change from natural to industrial," he said.

Islander Paula Whitney, Colchester co-ordinator for Friends of the Earth, said she was concerned about the threat of nuclear contamination from any new plant.

"Our local response is shock that the Government can contemplate such environmental and economic madness to allow new nuclear power stations," she said.

John Bouckley, Colchester councillor for West Mersea, said nuclear opposition was far from universal.

About 28 people he spoke to on the island were in favour of it while one was against the development.

North Essex MP Bernard Jenkin said he welcomed the Government announcement, but added: "New nuclear stations require the support of local communities."

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