HPC deal a step towards a low-carbon future

Hinkley deal opens the door to skilled jobs and a low-carbon future, says Prospect

The largest union for nuclear industry employees welcomes the signing of a deal between EDF Energy and the China General Nuclear Power Corporation which paves the way for a final investment decision on new nuclear plant at Hinkley Point C, Somerset, and other UK infrastructure projects.

  • 21 Oct 2015

On behalf of 24,000 professionals, managers and engineers across the energy sector the union’s deputy general secretary Garry Graham said: “Today is a key milestone in paving the way to build our low-carbon, secure energy future.

“The building of the new Hinkley nuclear plant will create 25,000 jobs in construction and provide 1,000 jobs in operation. These will be high-quality skilled jobs that will create a positive legacy for major infrastructure projects for the future. The plant will also provide 7% of our electricity needs when completed.”

Responding to concerns about Chinese involvement in relation to safety and security, Graham said: “The nuclear sector in the UK is the most highly regulated in the world and, quite rightly, sets the most exacting safety standards.

“In terms of Hinkley and Sizewell the Chinese will be investment partners – though they have longer-term aspirations to prove Chinese technology in the highly-regulated UK environment. There is no way that this will be achieved without the practical knowledge and expertise of UK specialists, scientists and engineers, overseen by our members in the Office for Nuclear Regulation. It will also require the use of the UK supply chain to the most exacting standards.”

Graham also acknowledged the criticism surrounding the “strike price” agreed for power produced by Hinkley Point C. “The strike price compares favourably with other forms of low-carbon generation. Nuclear is the only form of reliable low-carbon base load generation that offers the security and the capacity needed to keep the lights on, so it must be an essential part of our energy mix.

“Plus customers will only start paying when Hinkley is up and running, with guarantees in place to ensure EDF refunds customers the difference if the price of electricity is above £92.50 megawatt hour of energy from Hinkley, so the construction risk rests entirely with the investors.”

For further information contact:

Garry Graham 020 7902 6678 (w) 07713 511703 (m) garry.graham@prospect.org.uk

Katherine Beirne 020 7902 6625 (w) 07753 933174 (m) katherine.beirne@prospect.org.uk