The government needs to put its foot on the accelerator in the talks with energy giant EDF on the construction of the new £20bn Sizewell C nuclear power plant, Unite said today (December 14).
Unite welcomed today’s announcement that ministers have begun talks with EDF about the building of the plant on the Suffolk coast which the union says could create up to 25,000 jobs during construction and at least 1,500 apprenticeships.
Commenting on the news, EDF’s UK CEO Simone Rossi said, “We’re right behind Net Zero, and by investing in renewables and nuclear at Hinkley Point C and Sizewell C we’re supporting decarbonisation while creating jobs across the UK.
“We will continue to help our customers find affordable, low carbon ways to travel and heat their homes and businesses. The time for action is now and we look forward to working with the Government to implement its energy and climate policies, including the financing of new nuclear.”
Meanwhile, Nuclear Development managing director Humphrey Cadoux-Hudson, CBE, said, “The Government’s decision to enter negotiations on Sizewell C is great news and further recognition of the vital role large scale nuclear will play in getting to net zero.
“The go-ahead for Sizewell C would bring the Green Industrial Revolution to life, creating thousands of British jobs and apprenticeships, and delivering a huge boost for thousands of nuclear supply chain companies up and down the country. It will be a project Britain can be proud of.”
Unite national officer for energy Peter McIntosh added, “Today’s news is a very welcome step on the road to the construction of Sizewell C which will contribute an important low carbon element to the UK’s future energy ‘mix’.
“We appreciate that there are a number of hurdles still to get over, such as the financing model and the progress of the Hinkley Point C nuclear energy plant in Somerset which EDF is also building.
“These negotiations are complex, so obviously there is a danger that they could be spread over a long period when time is of the essence to meet the energy demands of industry, businesses and the consumer in the coming decades,” McIntosh went on to say.
“We urge that ministers keep their foot on the accelerator during these talks, as Sizewell C is a vital part of the energy ‘mix’ needed to reach the UK’s commitment to net zero carbon emissions by 2050.
“Sizewell C ticks a number of key boxes, including the generation of thousands of highly skilled jobs, which will benefit the post-pandemic, post-Brexit UK economy.
“It could generate up to 25,000 jobs during construction and at least 1,500 apprenticeships. An estimated 2,500 businesses in the supply chain would also benefit. It would provide 900 operational jobs during the 60 years it is expected to be in service.”
Today’s government energy White Paper sets out plans to change the UK’s energy system as part of the aim of net zero carbon emissions by 2050 – and Sizewell C could contribute seven per cent of the UK’s energy needs, once built.
Besides supporting the development of Sizewell C, Unite is also a member of the Moorside Clean Energy Consortium which proposes a new nuclear power station, following Toshiba’s withdrawal from the Cumbrian project in November 2018.
By Shaun Noble