Unite, Prospect and GMB say Hinkley Point C will also help met UK’s low carbon energy needs

Tim Lezard

Unions have welcomed the news EDF is to build a new nuclear power plant in Somerset.

The £14bn plant in Hinkley Point in Somerset would power five million homes and create an estimated 25,000 jobs.

Unite national officer for energy Kevin Coyne said: “This is a significant milestone towards meeting the UK’s low carbon energy needs and the project will be a massive boost for jobs. The construction of Hinkley Point C will create thousands of skilled construction jobs for the next five years, and around 800 jobs in the operation of the power station over the next 60 years.

“Nuclear is a crucial part of a balanced energy policy, to stop the lights going out. We hope Hinkley Point C is just the first in a fleet of new nuclear power stations which would also create jobs in construction for the next 20 years.”

Prospect deputy general secretary Garry Graham said: “This welcome decision brings us a step closer to the construction of nuclear new build in the UK. This is good news for UK energy policy in terms of ensuring capacity, security of supply and a long-term move to carbon reduction.

“Today’s announcement also helps pave the way for long-term investment which will support and sustain highly-skilled and good quality jobs at a local and national level over the short, medium and long term.

“In order for this to become a reality it is now critical that agreement is reached on the ‘Contracts for Difference strike price’ to enable a stable platform to be created which will support the long-term investment needed.

“Without it, we risk letting a once-in-a-generation opportunity to power the country over the coming decades and avoid any gap in supply. The Chancellor has an ideal opportunity to provide clarity and allow the investment so urgently needed.”

Gary Smith, GMB National Secretary for Energy and Utilities Gary Smith said: This decision is a welcome and necessary step forward.

“However the delay in agreeing the price to be paid for electricity to be generated in the fleet of nuclear power stations we need is very damaging for investment, jobs and for a low carbon economy in the UK.

“Earlier this month the Energy and Climate Change Committee called on the minister to urgently come up with a contingency plan in case the nuclear industry does not deliver the new power stations we need.

“The state is required to guarantee the levels of returns on investment for electricity suppliers. Since this is so why not go the whole hog and have a fully accountable nationalised delivery body particularly in the nuclear sector.

“While seeking agreement with this nationalised French power supplier the government should also re-task the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority and re-name it as the UK Nuclear Development Authority to bring on stream some of the nuclear power stations we need. ”

 


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Tim Lezard

Campaigning journalist, editor of @Union_NewsUK, NUJ exec member; lover of cricket, football, cycling, theatre and dodgy punk bands

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