By Tom Potter
Friday, December 28, 2012
ENVIRONMENTALISTS are calling for the abandonment of nuclear energy projects, including Sizewell C, in favour of “cheaper, safer and more efficient” renewable technologies.
The Green Party said that serious investment in energy-saving measures and renewables should take priority over nuclear development like the new twin reactor planned for the Suffolk coast.
In response, French utilities company EDF reaffirmed its commitment to the project near Leiston, which it said is necessary in order to maintain security of energy supply, while helping to meet the UK’s climate change targets.
The Greens also claimed that renewable technologies, including solar and wind, could create tens of thousands of jobs in the region, while skilled jobs at Sizewell were “likely to go to French workers” with experience of working on EDF’s chosen reactors.
Rupert Read, Green Party MEP candidate also labelled the Government’s electricity price guarantee a “massive subsidy”, footed by customers for nuclear energy generation.
An EDF spokesman said the company did not require any subsidies, adding: “We believe that the Government’s market reform proposals will provide the investment framework that is crucial for the low carbon investment that the country needs, while avoiding the need for subsidies, and will keep costs down for consumers.”
Andrew Stringer, Green Party county councillor, said many of the jobs promised by EDF would not go to local people. He added: “EDF claims Sizewell C will generate thousands of jobs. The truth is that the skilled jobs are likely to go to French workers since no-one in Britain has the experience of working on EDF’s chosen reactors.
“The fact that they want to build accommodation for workers indicates that most will come from outside the region. These jobs will disappear once construction is finished.”
The company replied: “We are working closely with the local authorities and local schools and colleges to establish the educational programmes and skills necessary for local people to get jobs at Sizewell C .
Public consultation on Sizewell C continues until February 6.