BRITISH Energy is expected to announce today that it officially hopes to build a nuclear power station in the North-East.

Following a meeting between Government and the Nuclear Development Forum this morning, British Energy, backed by its parent company EDF Energy, will nominate its five sites in England and Wales for new builds, including a plant in Hartlepool.

However, the North-East site is not expected to be included in its first phase, so will not become a reality for more than ten years.

British Energy’s plants in the South-East and South-West are expected to be first, but it will take at least five years for the licensing and planning stage, and then an additional five years for them to be built and commissioned.

However, Hartlepool MP Iain Wright said yesterday that he wanted to see a new plant built next to the current power station as soon as possible.

In launching Government’s new Real Help Now booklet, he said: “I think we should be pushing forward quickly to get a second power station in Hartlepool.

“Day by day, it becomes clearer that we need it and we need it now. I think in these dark days, when there is bleak news out there, we have to do what we can to make this country more competitive in the long-run. It’s about creating opportunities and creating jobs. We need to restore confidence.”

A spokeswoman for British Energy would not comment on the announcement today, but said it was estimated that 2,000 jobs would be created in the building of a new plant over five years, while 600 people would be needed to maintain it.

She said: “We believe the Hartlepool site has the potential for a new nuclear power station.

“We have got the skilled workforce who live locally, we have the coastal location, the suitable site, and the track record of running the existing site for 20 years without incident.”