Hinkley Point B nuclear power station safety zone reviewed

Image source, Rick Crowley
Image caption, The safety zone for Hinkley Point B is being considered by Somerset County Council

People close to Hinkley Point B in Somerset are being asked whether the emergency planning zone round the nuclear plant should be altered.

Currently the zone has a two-mile (3.5 km) radius, which includes Stogursey village and some smaller communities.

But the government has asked local councils to review whether that should change.

Anti-nuclear campaigners say the zone should not be made any smaller, on safety grounds.

Image source, PA Media
Image caption, Hinkley Point C is under construction

Earlier this year, the government changed the law, which means local councils now have responsibility for setting the size and shape of emergency planning zones instead of the Office for Nuclear Regulation.

If there was a radiation leak, a series of measures would be taken for those living within the emergency zone.

This includes evacuation advice and the issuing of iodine tablets.

A new report from EDF Energy says the zone should cover at least 1km, but has not stated any recommendation.

'No houses'

Anti-nuclear campaigner Roy Pomfrey, from Stop Hinkley, said: "I certainly don't want the zone to be made any smaller.

"In France, stable iodine tablets are being issued to anybody within 20km (about 12.4 miles) of a nuclear reactor."

Another resident, Jill Bone from Stogursey, said: "I don't think it should be made smaller. If there was a problem it would be quite widespread.

"If they put in a 1km zone, there are no houses over there so you need to take in the nearby villages."

The county council says it will be guided by public opinion and the zone would only be made smaller if residents wanted this.

Hinkley Point has three nuclear power stations: A was decommissioned in 2000, B is operational, and C is under construction.

A final decision is due to be made later this year.

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