Unions welcome Sizewell C application

UPDATED 29/05/2020

Unions have welcomed EDF’s submission of a planning consent order application for the new Sizewell C power station. 

EDF Energy wants to build a new power station on the Suffolk coast that is capable of powering six million homes.

GMB national secretary Justin Bowden said: “GMB welcomes the EDF planning consent order application which will be crucial if the UK is to have sufficient reliable energy to keep the lights on, homes and businesses powered and to meet net zero targets.

“A balanced energy mix, which includes new nuclear and green gas, is crucial as intermittent wind and solar on their own cannot meet the UK’s energy needs.”

In a letter to the business, energy and industrial strategy (BEIS) secretary Alok Sharma, Unite general secretary Len McCluskey said the go-ahead would be part of a balanced energy policy with the target of reducing carbon emissions.

Unite said that the construction of the new nuclear power station could generate up to 25,000 jobs during construction and 1,000 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.

In his letter, Unite general secretary Len McCluskey said: “As we come out of the coronavirus crisis it is important that we focus on the importance of delivering projects that will give a boost to the UK economy and build for a full and sustainable recovery.

“We believe that the DCO would be an important first step towards the delivery of a flagship national infrastructure initiative that would combine a major boost to the economy and businesses with a recognition of the importance of tackling climate change.

“Unite recognises the importance of addressing the climate crisis, providing energy security and delivering a sustainable environment.

“That is why we support a balanced energy policy that includes a mix of renewables (including wind, solar, wave and tidal), nuclear and cleaner coal and gas generation including Carbon Capture, Storage and Utilisation (CCSU).

“An expansion of new nuclear power – such as that proposed for Sizewell C – would help meet the objectives of reducing carbon emissions and securing energy supply, reducing the need for energy imports. It would also support the growth of renewables in the future.

“The new station could learn valuable lessons from Hinkley Point C, of which it will be a near replica.

“Building Sizewell C would also support the predominantly British supply chain, retain valuable skills and expertise, and potentially support 25,000 skilled jobs, across 2,500 businesses.”

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