Green energy irony: Next-door nuclear plant wants to stop world's first clean coal power station

The Scotland Herald reports plans to build the UK's only new coal-fired power station with carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology suffered another serious setback this week after the French firm that operates near-by reactors warned that the proposed coal plant endangers the safety of the nuclear facility.

Scottish ministers have ordered a public inquiry into the £3 billion ($4.6 billion) Hunterston coal power station project after the local council rejected the plans in November following unprecedented public opposition.

The Scotland Herald reports that Ayrshire Power remains committed to the project at Hunterston in North Ayrshire but that EDF Energy has now lodged a formal objection:

EDF Energy says that the construction and operation of the controversial new plant could block the evacuation routes of staff and deprive its site of electricity and vital cooling water in an emergency. It is also worried that discharges from the coal plant could compromise reactor cooling systems.

In October the Longannet carbon capture and storage project , the last one standing in the UK government’s long-running £1 billion ($1.6 billion) CCS demonstration programme also fell through.

The setbacks to what was supposed to be the world's biggest showcase for CCS will damage proponents of the technology – where CO2 emissions are sequestered underground – and the so-called 'clean coal' lobby.

Only two small coal CSS pilot projects exist worldwide: Schwarze Pumpe in Germany and Mountaineer Power Plant in West Virginia.

A 2011 European roadmap for energy use showed the use of coal for power generation dropping dramatically and that within 20 years all homes on the continent could be powered by wind-generated electricity.