Campaigners dispute job creation claims for new nuclear power station
PUBLISHED: 19:00 14 July 2019
Anti-nuclear campaigners have disputed the number of jobs that a new power station on the Suffolk coast will create – and say it will not provide enough long-term opportunities.
EDF Energy says the Sizewell C nuclear plant is expected to provide 25,000 jobs over the 10-year construction period with 5,600 workers on site at its peak, and says it is "absolutely committed" to creating local jobs, skills and training opportunities.
It says the project will provide up to £200million a year to boost the county's economy, and create 900 full-time jobs once operational.
But Together Against Sizewell C (TASC) has cast doubt on the job numbers.
EDF has already said that £14billion Sizewell C will be 20% cheaper to build because Hinkley construction techniques will be be mirrored, grid connections are already available and it will use different finance models.
However, TASC fears this could mean a transfer of skills, with possibly a large part of Hinkley C's experienced workforce moving to Sizewell.
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The group said if this happened it would "make a mockery of the claim of thousands of jobs for locals in the East Suffolk area".
TASC press officer Chris Wilson said: "The desperate need for skilled, well paid and long term jobs for this and future generations should be met by jobs in labour-intensive industries which have a sustainable future.
"Nuclear is a highly capital-intensive sector offering only a few hundred long-term jobs: it is a 20th century technology and its only relevance for future employment is in regard to decommissioning of existing power plants when they come to the end of their economic lives and in management of storage of its toxic radioactive waste for thousands of years.
"Our education chiefs should show some vision by supporting a decentralised energy sector based on efficency, renewables and innovation rather than cheer-leading nuclear technology which is failing throughout the world and will create a radioactive waste legacy for millenia to come."
Last month a group of education and business leaders signed a letter hailing the Sizewell C project as a "once-in-a-generation" opportunity to boost skills among local people.
The group, including headteachers and chief executives, voiced its support for the new nuclear power station, arguing it will "boost employment, education and skills" and play an "essential role" in tackling climate change.
Mr Wilson said: "The energy future is in renewable electricity generation, be it wind, solar, tidal etc; developing localised smart grid systems; designing and developing energy storage solutions; demand reduction technologies; insulating residential and business premises; investing in hydrogen based science to decarbonise heating systems and transport. These are the areas that have a future."
Sizewell C project development director Jim Crawford said: "We are working closely with a network of local schools, colleges and charities to raise aspirations, develop training opportunities and apprenticeships for young people, who will then be equipped with skills they can use throughout their careers, either as part of the project or more widely in the local community."