A CAMPAIGN group from Shepperdine is calling on the government to hold a public inquiry into the potential health implications of new nuclear power stations.

Members of Shepperdine Against Nuclear Energy (SANE) have asked Ed Miliband, the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, to hold the inquiry following a public consultation on new nuclear station designs.

This consultation, called the Regulatory Justification, looked at whether health risks associated with new nuclear power stations were outweighed by the economic, social and environmental benefits.

Campaigners from Shepperdine, which is near the Oldbury site identified as a possible location for new nuclear build, have criticised the Justification document claiming it was too technical and not enough time was given for people to respond.

SANE members have also said only one public meeting was held during the consultation period, which they believe was overshadowed by other government-led consultations, such as the National Policy Statement on the need for nuclear power in the country.

Reg Illingworth, chairman of SANE, said: "An inquiry is essential as there has been no open scrutiny of the draft Justification decision.

"An inquiry will allow for cross examination of evidence on the health impacts of routine operations, accidents or terrorist attacks on reactors, spent fuel stores and waste disposal."

Steve Webb, Northavon MP, said: "There are two separate issues here. One is the reactor designs. We are going through this whole approval process but they haven’t decided which reactor design they are going with, and neither of the two being considered has been approved for use in the UK before.

"The other issue is procedural. There is a legal concept to do with these different National Policy Statements and whether they have been properly justified.

"The argument is that these things have been produced out of nowhere without proper justification."

A spokesman for the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) said it would not be announcing its conclusions from the consultation until later this year and this would include whether or not a public inquiry would be held.

The spokesman said: "We are confident that we are running an open and transparent consultation process, in Regulatory Justification as in other parts of the new nuclear process."