Suffolk and Essex: New nuclear build at Sizewell and Bradwell will create 6,000 jobs
AROUND 6,000 jobs would be created in Suffolk and Essex if new nuclear power stations are built in the two counties, according to a latest report.
It is the first time informed figures have been released by the construction industry showing how significant the new plants could be for the region’s economy.
Business chiefs last night welcomed the findings, saying the projects represented a “golden opportunity”.
EDF Energy is hoping to build a third nuclear power station at Sizewell in Suffolk, while Bradwell in Essex is included on the Government’s list of preferred sites for a new generation of reactors.
According to a study commissioned by CITB-ConstructionSkills - the sector skills council and industry training board for the construction industry - firms in the east of England will benefit from around 6,000 new jobs if the developments go ahead.
But the news comes with a warning that there needs to be more investment in training if companies are going to take full advantage.
French owned EDF has made clear that it would like to build a Sizewell C, consultation on which should start in the New Year.
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A spokesman said: “A new nuclear power station in Suffolk would bring a welcome boost to the local and regional economy.
“The Sizewell C project is at a very early stage, but if the project was to go ahead we would expect the creation of approximately 5,000 jobs during the peak construction phase and 900 jobs during its 60 years of operation.
“We will work closely with the relevant authorities and chambers of commerce to ensure that maximum local benefit is achieved from the procurement of goods and services for the construction and operation of the power station; training opportunities for the long term development of skills; and the potential future use of local facilities that can be left after construction.
“During the construction period of Sizewell B, the most recent nuclear reactor to be built in the UK, more than 3,000 UK companies were involved with 690 from East Anglia. During the peak construction phase more than 5,000 people were employed with a large proportion from the local area.”
John Dugmore, chief executive of Suffolk Chamber of Commerce, said construction of Sizewell C was a “golden opportunity” for the county’s economy.
He said they were working closely with EDF, as well as higher and further education institutions, to ensure the local workforce had the skills required to take advantage.
Celia Anderson, executive director of the East of England Energy Group’s Skills For Energy Programme, said construction of Sizewell C would increase demand for engineers, particularly those specialising in mechanics and electrics.
She said the Energy Skills Foundation pre-apprenticeship at Lowestoft College was vital to bring youngsters into the industry and hoped to see the course rolled out to Colchester Institute and Great Yarmouth College in the New Year.
“But we need more home-grown engineers to work here and ideally also export their skills to elsewhere in UK,” she said. “The biggest challenge? Persuading young people that science, engineering, technology and maths are exciting.”
Amanda Sergeant, sector strategy manager for CITB-ConstructionSkills, said they had also been working hard to ensure firms were ready.
“The new nuclear build projects could breathe new life into the local construction industry,” she said. “But to benefit, firms need to ensure they have the right skills to be able to meet the demands.
“We need to appreciate the current strengths and weaknesses of the skills base and promote effective training planning with employers and trade unions, ensuring the east of England is ready to play its part in the ‘nuclear’ renaissance.”
Anti nuclear campaigners have raised safety concerns about any new power stations and feel EDF should be investing more money in renewable energy such as wind power.