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Needless Delays To New Nuclear Power Stations

Monday, October 20, 2014

“Too Many Jockeys" On UK Energy Policy Hindering New Nuclear Investment For Lower Carbon Emissions And Lights Not Going Out Says GMB

National Audit Office investigation must be expedited quickly not just for Hinkley Point but for billions of pounds of investment in new nuclear across the country including West Cumbria, Wylfa and Oldbury says GMB.

GMB, the union for energy workers, responded to the announcement by the National Audit Office that it is conducting an investigation into the strike price agreed for Hinkley Point C and that it will report to Parliament at an appropriate point. See notes to editors for statement on the National Audit Office website.

Gary Smith, GMB National Secretary for Energy, said “On energy policy in the UK we have “too many jockeys on the horse” which allows opponents of nuclear power and vested interests to cause needless delays.

There is a grave danger that the constant undermining of a clear direction will hinder the investment needed for new nuclear power stations to lower carbon emissions and stop the lights going out.

GMB has been consistently critical of government policy on energy, it is a mess.  There is no energy market, the whole sector including renewables is propped up by subsidies and underwrites.  However, we recognise that the 'strike price' arrangement is the only show in town and it is crucial for nuclear new build. 

Of course, the National Audit Office has a responsibility and we recognise this, but this investigation is coming very late in the day.  We have known for some time what the strike price is likely to be. 

It is essential that any investigation by the National Audit Office is expedited quickly.  This is not just about Hinkley Point. This is about billions of pounds of investment in new nuclear across the country, including West Cumbria, Wylfa and Oldbury.

Political uncertainty is bad for investment. There are tens of thousands of jobs in construction and the manufacturing supply chain hanging on nuclear new build.  It is imperative we move forward as fast as possible and don't frighten off investment."

End

Contact: Gary Smith 07710 618909 or Phil Whitehurst 07966 338810 or Kathleen Walker Shaw 07841 181549 or GMB press office 079212 89880 or 07974 251 823.

Notes to editors

Statement by National Audit Office on their website.

Hinkley Point C- We will report to Parliament at an appropriate point in the conclusion of the deal.

Hinkley Point C is due to be the first nuclear power plant built in the United Kingdom since Sizewell B, which was completed in 1995. The UK government has agreed the key commercial terms for a deal with EDF Group, the project promoters, including the price that it will receive for the power generated by the plant over 35 years from the date of its commissioning, known as the “strike price”. The proposed contract will be subject to State Aid approval, Royal Assent for the Energy Bill and agreement on financing.

It is not the NAO’s role to question the merits of the Government’s policy objectives or to be part of the government’s executive decision-making in regard to the proposed contract. Our work will cover the Department’s commercial approach to securing this deal and the proposed terms of the contract, to report to Parliament on value for money and the resulting risks which the Department must manage. We will also wish to identify lessons learned to inform decisions on future ‘contracts for difference’.

 

 

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