BRADWELL Power Station bosses are to appear in court this week after an alleged leak from the site.

The legal action against site operators Magnox Electric Ltd has been taken by the Environment Agency and relates to an incident in 2004.

Rhiannon Williams, spokesman for Bradwell Power Station, confirmed the summons was received following a "voluntary disclosure" by Magnox.

It relates to an alleged leak of "effluent" from the site four years ago.

Power station representatives will appear at Chelmsford Magistrates' Court on Monday January 14.

She said: "We have fully co-operated with the Environment Agency following a voluntary disclosure by the company (Magnox Electric Ltd) in 2004 and the matter is now in the hands of our legal advisors.

"As such, it would be inappropriate to comment further at this time.

"Magnox Electric Ltd has a strong safety and environmental record and we take these matters extremely seriously."

Miss Williams refused to comment on the nature of the leaked substance, whether it was radioactive, of the leak was contained on site or ran into the River Blackwater.

A spokesman for the Environment Agency confirmed that action is being taken but was unable to clarify the charges being brought against Magnox.

Meanwhile, Miss Williams revealed clouds of steam spotted coming from Bradwell Power Station were due to a fault in the boiler system.

Residents reported seeing large amounts of steam rising from the site on December 26 but a spokesman for the site said it was down to a faulty steam valve.

Miss Williams said the problem was "immediately identified and the boiler was taken out of operational service".

She added: "The boiler is a stand alone unit that provides domestic steam for showers, heating etc as Bradwell no longer produces its own steam due to ceasing of generation.

"An investigation was carried out, minor adjustments made and the boiler has now been returned to service.

"At no point was there any risk to the public or the environment."

* Bradwell is waiting with baited breath to find out if it will be the site of a new nuclear power station.

The Government is expected to reveal in the next few days where the next generation of nuclear plants will be sited.

British Energy already owns land next to the current station.