UK: Nuclear industry ‘job bonanza’

An artist's impression of what Sizewell C could look like

An artist's impression of what Sizewell C could look like - Credit: Copyright EDF Energy 2012 - Stag

THE nuclear industry could create up to 40,000 jobs in the UK over the next 20 years, according to estimates by the Government as it launched a strategy for the sector yesterday.

The Business Department said that globally there will be £930billion invested in building new reactors and £250billion in decommissioning those coming off line.

Ministers announced £15million for companies and universities carrying out research into nuclear technology, £12.5million for a reactor test programme being carried out in France, and changes to the National Nuclear Laboratory.

But the report comes amid fears Suffolk faces being “left out in the cold” over the Sizewell C project because EDF Energy officials are so focused on plans for a similar plant in Somerset,

Proposals for the Hinkley Point C plant are much more advanced than those for Sizewell C in Suffolk and work on the Somerset power station could start next year.

Plans for Sizewell C are still at the public consultation stage but Suffolk County Council and Suffolk Coastal District Council want to engage early with EDF officials over a variety of issues – in order to negotiate the best possible deal.

There are also fears that a delay in the agreeing the price to be paid for electricity generated by the fleet of nuclear power stations is damaging investment in nuclear power.

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Gary Smith of the GMB union said: “Having a strategy is fine but who is going to implement it?

“The Government’s track record on energy is a shambles. Our nuclear industry is being hawked off piecemeal and the truth is there is no real delivery strategy to ensure the UK benefits from a nuclear renaissance as the country did from North Sea Oil.”

He added: “The delay in agreeing the price to be paid for electricity to be generated in the fleet of nuclear power stations we need is very damaging for investment, jobs and for a low carbon economy in the UK.”

But Business Secretary Vince Cable said: “The nuclear industry presents significant multi-billion pound long-term opportunities for UK companies and for thousands of high value jobs. We have worked with industry on a plan for the future to ensure we are well placed to grasp those opportunities.”