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Welcome Go Ahead For Hinkley Point C

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

GMB Welcome EU Commission Go Ahead For Hinkley Point C New Nuclear Power Station

New nuclear is crucial to low carbon electricity and keeping the lights on and with energy infrastructure creaking we need to get on with this and building other nuclear power plants as a matter of urgency says GMB

GMB, the union for energy and engineering construction workers, welcomed the decision by the EU Commission to give the go ahead on the agreement for EDF Energy to build Hinkley Point C new nuclear power station.

Gary Smith, GMB National Secretary for Energy, said "GMB welcome this announcement wholeheartedly. We also welcome that the EU Commission finished their deliberations in the time they said they would.

Nuclear new build is crucial to delivering low carbon electricity and keeping the lights on. Our energy infrastructure is creaking and we need to get on with this and building other nuclear power plants as a matter of urgency. This won't solve the immediate crisis in energy but the longer we delay the worse it will get and the more expensive the construction project will be.

The Austrian challenge is based simply on anti-nuclear prejudice. UK civil nuclear power has run safely for generations and the new power stations will have even higher standards than in the past.

New nuclear is expensive but so are renewables. Both renewables and nuclear need subsidies and everyone should be honest about this. Renewables are also invariably intermittent and this means we still need a dependable base load supply with back up to meet peak demand. New nuclear has to be part of the UK energy mix as a result.

This decision is essential to the building of a new reactor in West Cumbria. It is potentially great news in terms of jobs and investment for West Cumbria. We must ensure it is full steam ahead with consents and getting the national grid connection in place for the West Cumbria reactors.

In Scotland, with the coal stations facing closure and with old nuclear plants which depend on lifetime extensions to keep going, there is a desperate need for new generating capacity. The idea the Scottish countryside can be covered with wind farms to meet energy needs is just nonsense.

Scotland needs nuclear energy. Power from the two Scottish nuclear power stations can meet now nearly 50% of Scotland’s electricity demand. Alex Salmond hasn't been candid about this fact. The anti-nuclear stance adopted by politicians means Scotland is set to miss out on a jobs bonanza in construction and the nuclear supply chain”.

Phil Whitehurst, GMB National Officer for engineering construction, said “Hinkley Point C power station is badly needed not only for the thousands of jobs it will secure in the construction industry and supply chain but also to prop up our failing energy production capacity. So many coal fired stations are closing and due to the indecisiveness of the government on green subsidies they are not being converted to biomass.

Hinkley Point C will be built and managed under safety regimes second to none in the world. GMB has worked tirelessly with EDF to get "Best in Class" working agreements in place to build the station. EDF are spending tens of millions of pounds to make sure all the safety aspects are covered as they do with all their nuclear fleet in the UK.

On the threatened Austrian challenge GMB appreciate that Austria’s has historically been opposed to nuclear power. Following Chernobyl we understand that there were fears about other then Eastern Bloc reactors close to their border, such as Temelin and Dukovany in the Czech Republic, Bohunice in Slovakia and Paks in Hungary. GMB is aware that this has made Austria the EU’s most hostile nation to nuclear energy. However what happens in the UK has nothing to do with Austria. GMB respectfully ask their government not to interfere with this much needed station.

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

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