reports Northern Secretary Peter Hain tonight ruled out the prospect of a nuclear power station being built in the North.

As Derry councillors listened to a proposal from businessman Robert Andrews to build a plant in the city, the British government moved to destroy any notion that the North would lose its status as a nuclear-free region.

A government spokesman said: “The Secretary of State has already made it clear that nuclear power is not going to happen in Northern Ireland.

“It would be ultimately his decision, even though we have no expectation that Derry Council would want to go down this route in this case.?

Mr Andrews is proposing a plant that could generate about 2,000 megawatt hours.

To generate the same amount of power using wind, he claimed, there would need to be 300,000 wind farms throughout Ireland.