Mersea could lose its proud island status if a new nuclear station is built at Bradwell.

Latest health and safety guidelines say emergency plans must be in place to evacuate residents living within a four-mile radius of N-plants.

If a Bradwell Mark II was built, West Mersea would be squarely in the danger zone.

If disaster struck when the Strood was flooded at high tide, residents would be unable to flee to the mainland.

The only practical solution would be to build a bridge or heightened road - meaning Mersea would, in effect, no longer be an island.

Seaview Avenue resident Ian Clarke, who opposes plans for a second plant, said: "A bridge or new road would cost something in the region of £10 million."

A spokesman for British Energy said any new plant would use more advanced technology than existing atomic stations, meaning safety regulations would be relaxed.

But the Nuclear Installations Inspectorate said it was too early to say what size of evacuation zone would be required.

British Energy has confirmed it is carrying out detailed studies of the site, but is yet to announce its conclusions.

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