The construction of the Hinkley Point nuclear power station is ‘an enormous jobs generator for the south west’, as the project moves into its third year, Unite the union said today (Thursday 27 September).

French energy company EDF is constructing the £18 billion Somerset plant which is due to be completed by 2025.

Unite national officer for energy Peter McIntosh said: “This project is continuing to make a significant and positive economic impact within the UK and, in particular, in the south west where it has been an enormous jobs generator.

“It is creating thousands of highly skilled construction jobs and EDF has already started to deliver on its commitments with over 250 apprenticeships. Once it starts operating, it will employ a 900-strong workforce.

“More than £10 billion of contracts have already been awarded with 64 per cent of the total value of the contracts awarded to UK suppliers.

“The country must build on what has been achieved and secure the benefits of replication and innovation, which will substantially bring down the cost of follow-on ‘new nuclear’ build projects.

“It would be a massive missed opportunity if the planned projects at Sizewell C in Suffolk and Bradwell B in Essex are not given the go-ahead, including the necessary financial investment required in good time.

“Support should also be made available to Wylfa B in Anglesey and the troubled Moorside project in Cumbria.

“Unite will continue to campaign strongly to ensure that the necessary investment in ‘new nuclear’, as well as other carbon-neutral energy sources, takes place.

“The message is clear – government cash is needed for all these projects to make them come to fruition. Strong and sustained government sponsorship, including in some cases, direct government funding, will be necessary.

“Failure to replace ageing nuclear power stations with ‘new nuclear’ as part of a balanced energy policy will mean the government will not reach its climate change targets which it committed to when it signed up to the Paris Agreement in 2016.”

Unite regional coordinating officer for the south west Matt Tipper said: “As a result of Hinkley Point, the region has seen major benefits to its economy and great opportunities for workers to train in skilled craft roles.

“The natural progression is to continue with the UK nuclear rebuilding programme to retain the skill sets that will be key to a successful delivery of the country’s future energy needs - and to act as a springboard to provide the same opportunities for the workers of tomorrow.”

EDF is building Hinkley Point, with a stake from Chinese state-owned investor CGN.

ENDS

Notes to editors:

For more information please contact Unite senior communications officer Shaun Noble on 020 3371 2060 or 07768 693940. Unite press office is on: 020 3371 2065

  • Unite represents workers in Britain and Ireland with members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.