1,000 new jobs created by N-plants

MORE than 1,000 jobs could be created if the next generation of power plants is given the go-ahead at sites in Suffolk and Essex.

Graham Dines

MORE than 1,000 jobs could be created if the next generation of power plants is given the go-ahead at sites in Suffolk and Essex.

Sizewell and Bradwell-on-Sea have been confirmed as potential locations for nuclear reactors with the Government's energy secretary Ed Miliband claiming: “Nuclear power is part of the low carbon future for Britain.”

However, campaigners against any more nuclear build in Britain said they were not safe, could not be described as “the future is green” and were potential terror targets.

If approval is given for twin reactors Sizewell C and D on the Suffolk coast near Leiston, around 800 permanent jobs would be created while up to 600 new posts are probable at Bradwell-on-Sea near Maldon in Essex.

As he launched a month-long public consultation period on the 11 sites nominated in England and Wales for the new stations, Mr Miliband backed trade union Prospect in welcoming the thousands of new jobs and multi-million pound opportunities to British businesses.

Most Read

The other potential locations for power plants in England and Wales are Dungeness in Kent, Hartlepool in Cleveland, Heysham in Lancashire, Sellafield and Braystones in Cumbria, Kirksanton in Cumbria, Wylfa in Anglesey, Oldbury in Gloucestershire, and Hinkley Point in Somerset.

The proposals form part of the Government's plan to build a new generation of nuclear power stations to help close what it describes as a “generation gap” expected as existing nuclear and coal-fired stations shutdown.

Mr Miliband said: “This is another important step towards a new generation of nuclear power stations.

“I want to listen to what people have to say about these nominations and I encourage people to log on to our website, read the information and let us have their comments.

“Nuclear power is part of the low carbon future for Britain.

“It also has the potential to offer thousands of jobs to the UK and multi-million pound opportunities to British businesses.”

EDF Energy, which has nominated Sizewell for twin C and D reactors, said no time scale had yet been put forward. “We are waiting for a Government decision and there will then be an inquiry.

“Ministers want the first of the new nuclear reactors opened by 2017, but we have no indication where that will be.”

Mike Graham, national secretary of Prospect, the union representing 15,000 scientists, engineers and specialists in the nuclear and radioactive waste management industry, said: “Today's welcome news provides the next foundation stone towards nuclear new build becoming a reality.

“Not only is this fantastic news for the UK economy, but also a necessity in order for the UK to meet the twin challenges of climate change and energy security. It will buck the current trend in relation to jobs and employment by giving local people opportunities and local jobs. Let's exploit it to the advantage of the UK supply chain and local communities.

“This decision will open the door to thousands of manufacturing and construction jobs in the near future. The new power stations are due to be up and running by 2017 and will also create highly skilled jobs for more than 65 years - for this, the next and future generations. There will be further jobs created for contractors responsible for outage and maintenance in the new power stations.”

Charles Barnett, chairman of the Shutdown Sizewell Campaign, said: “The Government is going down the wrong path in proposing that we should have more nuclear power stations.

“We should be looking at benign non polluting sources of energy such as wind turbines, tidal, solar and biomass solutions.

“Nuclear is not safe. With the heightened risk of terrorism, it's fool-hardy to build more. They are very expensive and they leave a legacy of dangerous waste lasting 250,000 years.”

The Green Party in the East of England has also pledged to fight the plans. A spokesman said: “We have long campaigned against nuclear power due to its high cost and the unsolved problems with radioactive waste and risks of radioactive discharges. There also remains a small, but real risk of a catastrophic accident or terrorist attack, which could cause huge loss of life and result in large areas of East Anglia becoming uninhabitable.

“We are also dismayed that concentration on nuclear power by the Government will take available investment and infrastructure away from renewables. A new generation of nuclear power stations would use valuable coastal high-capacity connectors to the grid, connectors which would otherwise be used for offshore wind, wave and tidal, making it more likely that the UK will miss legal commitments on renewables for 2020.”