NEWS that Hinkley Point B will now be able to generate electricity until 2016 has been both welcomed and criticised this week.

The announcement was made after owners British Energy confirmed it had completed the necessary technical and economic evaluation to see the plant extend its lifespan.

Station director Nigel Cann said it was great news for everyone at Hinkley Point B and people living in the Somerset community.

"The decision means we can continue to provide highly skilled jobs and bring major investment to the area," he said.

"It also shows that British Energy recognises the professionalism and commitment of our staff in safely supplying low carbon electricity for more than 30 years."

Bridgwater MP Ian Liddell-Grainger was also keen to add his message of support and gave the Mercury his reaction to the announcement "Congratulations to everybody in Hinkley," he said.

"This is extremely good news, it will secure hundreds of jobs for the next five years and it will also means we continue our nuclear capacity in Bridgwater."

But anti-nuclear campaigners Stop Hinkley railed at the announcement and suggested the extended lifespan was designed to attract investment for a Hinkley C plant.

"It should shut now. If not then an extra reactor safety system should be put in place to build in more protection," said spokesman Jim Duffy, "Although costing many tens of millions it might go some way to allay public fears."