ANNETTE Brooke MP has said she will fight to protect jobs and secure the future of decommissioning at UKAEA Winfrith following a meeting with staff.

The MP for Mid Dorset and Poole North visited the former nuclear research site yesterday with district and county councillor Fred Drane.

It follows the news that 110 jobs could be lost following a major funding cut, which could then bring decommissioning at the site - due to be completed by 2013 - to a grinding halt.

Annette Brooke told the Echo she had come away feeling passionate' about the situation, particularly in the light of the government's move towards a new nuclear power station programme.

"One of the arguments against that is that we haven't dealt with the radioactive waste from the past. How can you even contemplate a new generation of power stations until you have done that?"

She added: "I can see something so short term about this. A lot of money will have to be spent to keep the site safe, but decommissioning is something that will have to be done eventually, when it will be much more expensive and the jobs will have been lost."

She said she would raise the profile of the UKAEA Winfrith plight at national level.

Union representative at the site Austin Kinnane said: "We are really relying on MPs like Annette. This has offered us a brief glimmer of hope."

Cllr Fred Drane said: "I think it is appalling to treat people like this."