GMB calls for end to 'uncertainty' over Sizewell C
- Credit: EDF/Sizewell C
Union leaders have called for the Government to end "uncertainty" over plans to build a new nuclear power station in Suffolk in order to secure thousands of jobs.
The GMB said reports that ministers are considering alternatives to the involvement of a Chinese company in building the £20billion Sizewell C complex risked the loss of huge numbers of jobs.
Funding needs to be in place for the construction phase of the project by the autumn, or the whole scheme is at risk of collapsing, according to the union.
Earlier this week it emerged that the Government was looking at ways to stop China’s state-owned energy company CGN from getting involved in projects like Sizewell C and Bradwell in Essex.
Campaign groups welcomed the move but the GMB is concerned by what this could mean for the cost of the project.
GMB national officer Charlotte Childs said: “If ministers are set to block China’s involvement, they need to tell us who is going to pay for it.
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“We need urgent clarity on how the funding mechanism will work by the autumn, otherwise the whole project could collapse.
“Not only would that jeopardise the UK’s energy future and net zero targets but would risk the 25,000 jobs Sizewell C would create.
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“Just a few years ago, the Conservatives were ready to hand over whole nuclear projects in the UK to China.
“The Government must step in with a credible alternative to CGN funding that creates a low risk and affordable investment model for third parties, taking a public stake in key projects that will create a clear path to net zero.
“If there is a change in policy then our members in construction will deliver a world-class project, but the Government needs to end the uncertainty, back this essential infrastructure and start investing in our own manufacturing supply chain.”
A Sizewell C spokesman said: “Sizewell c will deliver thousands of jobs and a boost in training and skills for all.
"Around £1.5billion will be spent in the Suffolk region during the construction phase and the project will make an estimated lifetime contribution of £4billion to the regional economy.
"During the construction phase around a third of the Sizewell C workforce will come from the local area. 900 high-skilled jobs will be based in Suffolk once the plant is operational.
"The project is working with local charities to ensure the widest possible access to jobs and is funding local initiatives to promote social mobility.
"Over 10,000 residents and organisations in Suffolk have contributed their views to help shape the proposals and latest polling by ICM shows 58% local support for Sizewell C.”