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GMB Scotland on Hinkley Point C

Friday, May 27, 2016

GMB Scotland comments on French unions’ concern over Hinckley Point C

Nuclear Decommissioning Authority should be redesignated as the Nuclear Development Authority and take over responsibility for the project says GMB Scotland

GMB Scotland commented today (Friday 27th May 2016) on a BBC report that key French unions still oppose the construction of Hinkley Point C power station in Somerset. (See notes to editors for a link to the story).

EDF delayed the final investment decision on the project in April in order to consult with the unions. Jean-Luc Magnaval, secretary of the Central Works Committee, told Newsnight that “the trade unions are unlikely to give their blessing to the project in its current state.”

Gary Smith, Secretary GMB Scotland, said "We know the French union CGT well. We have worked with them in the nuclear sector for years. We understand CGT have concerns over Hinkley but the whole of the UK desperately needs this project to go ahead.

This decision will have profound implications for Scotland. If EDF can't get the project off the ground, the only show in town will be China’s. We will be dependent on them to pay for the project which means Chinese reactors with a Chinese supply chain and little to no chance for Scottish companies to compete as they would have with EDF.

Very significantly, all Scots will pay higher energy bills to pay for a Chinese reactor. The UK won't negotiate with China over price, they will be had over a barrel and that will end up on every bill on the UK.

The Scottish political class has been dishonest with the Scottish people over the hard choices we have on energy. The idea that renewables will meet all our needs for electricity is laughable.

GMB Scotland consider that the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority should be redesignated as the Nuclear Development Authority and take over responsibility for the project. We need a grown up debate about energy and how we are going to fund new nuclear that will be a huge part of the low carbon future.”

End

Contact: Gary Smith on 07710 618909 or Peter Welsh on 07976 447077

Notes to editors

1 Hinkley Point: French unions put nuclear plant’s future in doubt

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-36394601

2 GMB press release dated Tuesday, February 16, 2016

UK Government Can Not Outsource Responsibility For Building UK Power Stations To Foreign Governments Delaying Final Investment Decision On Hinkley Point C

It was the UK government owned Central Electricity Generating Board that built the UK nuclear power stations still running that EDF are extending the closing dates of says GMB.

GMB, the union for energy and engineering construction workers, commented on the announcement by EDF of new and extended scheduled closing dates for four nuclear power stations and another delay in announcing the final investment decision for Hinkley Point C. See notes to editors for copy of EDF press release dated 16th February 2016.

Paul Kenny, GMB General Secretary, said "It was the UK government owned Central Electricity Generating Board that built the UK nuclear power stations still running that EDF are extending closing dates of.

GMB welcome this extension to provide more reliable base load electricity capacity while Hinkley Point C is brought on stream.

It is inconceivable that the Hinkley Point C site should become the most expensive landscaped gardens in the UK if work is stopped and the project does not go ahead.

If the plan to finance the building of this station by the French and Chinese governments is no longer viable then the UK government has total responsibility to the people of this country to build the power stations needed to supply our electricity needs.

The supply chain is in place and the labour force is coming on stream to construct this station essential to keep the lights on in the UK.

The UK government can not outsource the building of our power stations to foreign governments.

It was UK engineers and workers that built the first generation of nuclear power stations and they can build the new generation needed for low carbon reliable base load electricity.”
 

Gary Smith, Secretary GMB Scotland, added "The extension for Torness to 2030 demonstrates that Scotland is and will remain dependent on nuclear power for base load electricity.

We have a good low carbon mix in Scotland but renewables are intermittent and we need nuclear as part of the mix.

Since the start of winter 2015/16 - since the beginning of October to end Jan 2016 - there has been 14 days when the output of the installed and connected wind turbines in the UK have produced 10% or less of the installed and connected capacity of 8,900MW. These were on 2nd , 3rd, 4th, 8th , 9th, 10th, 18th,19th October, 2nd , 3rd 4th November, 13th December and two days in January (19/20th ).

The truth is we are not going to be able to keep extending the life of these stations and Scotland will be in the midst of an energy crunch. With Longannet coming off we will need new generating capacity.

There is a strong case for new nuclear build in Scotland. We need to start the debate about new nuclear now and crucially how it is going to be funded. There is a growing case for the state to borrow the money to build the new nuclear we need.

The Scottish Government needs to be honest with the Scottish people and we need to take the debate forward on Scottish new nuclear as part of a low carbon electricity future with renewables."

End

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