A NEW nuclear power station at Shepperdine would have to be built with cooling towers up to 200 metres high, developers have confirmed.

Local residents, who oppose plans to build another nuclear power station near Oldbury, were dealt the blow at a public meeting held by Horizon, the company behind the proposals.

Derick Cottell, site development manager for Horizon, said: "It is not possible to have a direct cooling system for a new station at Oldbury because the site's electrical capacity is eight times the size of the existing station and will produce eight times the heat.

"If we were to put that heat into the estuary that would be unacceptable ecologically."

More than 120 local residents packed the Cossham Hall in Thornbury last Thursday to listen to Horizon's plans.

Objectors held a protest march through Thornbury before the meeting took place (see page three).

Horizon said the new station would need either three or four cooling towers depending on the type of reactor chosen.

The company said it had two options for cooling towers, either false draught towers, which would stand 70 metres high, but would have electrical fans inside making them noisy and more expensive.

The other option for the company are natural draught towers, which are 200 metres high, but create less noise and are cheaper to build.

Representatives from Horizon did admit though that there was division in the company about which would be more suitable for the Severn Vale.

Tim Proudler, planning and consents manager, said: "Derick, as an engineer wants the 200 metre high cooling towers, but I, as a planner, want the 70 metre towers because of the visual impact."

At the meeting the company also said it was looking at the Tytherington branch railway line for use during construction and operation of the station.

Reg Illingworth, chairman of Shepperdine Against Nuclear Energy (SANE), which organised the street protest prior to the meeting against the station and the cooling towers, said: "We came away from the meeting with more questions than answers."

However, there were some members of the public who spoke in favour of nuclear power and the need for a new power station.

Neil Halsall, Thornbury town councillor, said: "We must know that very soon a lot of the nuclear power stations are being shut down, coal stations are shutting down and there's going to be a gap, a gap between what we produce and what we demand.

"Some of us have a responsibility to the population."