The Chinese investment in the Hinkley Point nuclear power station has ‘laid the financial building blocks’ for the project to go-ahead.
But Unite, the country’s largest union, warned today (Monday 21 September) that the government’s £2bn underwriting of the Chinese investment does not mean that the UK’s national energy problems have been solved.
Unite national officer for energy Kevin Coyne said: “While today’s news is very welcome, the UK is by no means out of the woods yet when it comes to having a coherent energy strategy to keep the lights on in the decades ahead.”
Earlier this month EDF, the French energy giant, which is building the £24.5bn power station in Somerset, said that it will not start generating power in 2023, as originally planned.
Kevin Coyne said: “The financial building blocks now appear to be in place, and the onus is now on EDF to move quickly on announcing the final investment decision (FID) before Christmas.
“The news is good in terms of employment in the south west, as building Hinkley Point will provide many skilled jobs for a considerable length of time at the first new UK nuclear power plant in 20 years.
“However, there is no room for complacency and the UK is not out of the woods yet in terms of a strategic energy blueprint.
“Unite has repeatedly warned that business and domestic consumers face the very real prospect of power cuts and the lights going out in the years to come, if such a strategy is not forthcoming very soon.”
Unite said that the recently announced closures of the coal-fired Eggborough and Ferrybridge C power stations will see a reduction in their contribution to the grid by about eight per cent, enough to power about four million homes.
Notes to editors:
For more information please contact Unite senior communications officer Shaun Noble in the Unite press office on 020 3371 2061 or 07768 693940.
- Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with over 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.