The threat to 10,000 jobs in the nuclear supply chain if Sizewell C does not get the go-ahead should concentrate the minds of ministers on the need for a coherent UK energy policy, Unite said today (September 18).
Unite put its weight behind the Sizewell C Consortium of major contractors which today warned that the failure to build the Suffolk plant could cost the nuclear construction industry as many as 10,000 specialist construction and engineering jobs.
The warning followed a week when Hitachi pulled out of the Wylfa nuclear power plant in Wales, quickly followed by Horizon Nuclear announcing it will be ceasing its activities to develop two projects in the UK following the Hitachi decision.
Unite national officer for energy Peter McIntosh said, “The Sizewell C Consortium makes a strong case for ministers to get their skates on and approve the go-ahead for the new nuclear power station in Suffolk – thousands of highly skilled jobs hang in the balance.
“It is essential that a skills bridge is created from Hinkley Point, being constructed in Somerset, to Sizewell to ensure that the skills and the knowledge that have been acquired on the initial project can be transferred to Sizewell and are not lost to the country’s skill base,” he added.
“Such skills will be in high demand as the economy emerges into the post-Covid-19 world.
“It has not been a good week for the UK’s nuclear industry with Hitachi deciding to withdraw from the Anglesey project – we can’t continue with this level of uncertainty afflicting a sector of which Britain was once the world leader,” McIntosh went on to say.
“Unite repeats its call to business, energy and industrial strategy secretary Alok Sharma to bring forward the long-awaited energy White Paper which will guarantee that nuclear power is a vital part of the energy ‘mix’ in the years ahead, creating a source of ‘clean’ and reliable electricity, as well as a new generation of skilled ‘green’ employment.”
Yesterday (September 17), Unite warmly welcomed the announcement by energy giant EDF that it will recruit 1,500 apprentices, if Sizewell C gets the green light. The union said it would allow young people throughout East Anglia to have the opportunity ‘to develop skills for life’.
By Shaun Noble