INVESTIGATION work is set to begin in July on land in Shepperdine that could become the home of a new nuclear power station.

Energy giant E.ON, which owns the land, has said the work will include seismic studies to investigate the best location for the foundations of the new station.

E.ON started to buy land in Shepperdine last year and has also bought land from the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority next to the existing Oldbury power station to make room for a new nuclear plant.

Emily Highmore, spokeswoman for E.ON, said: "The work will be carried out by external contractors and will include the removing and testing of small quantities of earth using drilling rigs and will take around four months to complete.

"While site investigation work is underway we will also continue the ecological studies we started last year to assess flora and fauna activity across the nominated site.

"These studies will contribute towards the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) which will evaluate the effects of the proposed new power station on the environment and local area.

"It will consider both the construction and operational phases of the development, and will form part of an Environmental Statement which would accompany any future planning application."

The company said it plans to release the EIA later in the year so local people can comment on its findings.

As well as ground works E.ON has said it is also starting to look at the physical look of the power station, which if approved by government, could be in operation by 2018.

Ms Highmore said the company was looking at two design options and also considering the need for cooling towers despite being next door to the Severn Estuary.

She said: "The existing power station discharges cooling water directly back to the estuary, but because the new generation of nuclear reactors produce far more electricity, the need for cooling is greater.

"As such, a new nuclear power station at Oldbury would use cooling towers to reduce the temperature of its cooling water to sustainable levels before returning it to the estuary.

"We will be carrying out a detailed study to consider the implications of various types and heights of cooling tower, including visual impact."

A representative will be at the next Oldbury Parish Council meeting to be held at Oldbury Memorial Hall on Tuesday, July 7 (7pm).