Unite the union, which represents workers throughout the construction and energy sectors, has cautiously welcomed the government’s announcement today (27 January) that it will provide further funding to build a new nuclear power station at Sizewell in Suffolk.

The government has announced that it will provide £100 million of funding to the energy company EDF to help finance the development of the project, in return for the government receiving certain ownership rights.

Release funding handbrake

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “This is a step forward but the government needs to take the handbrake off when it comes to the development of new nuclear power stations. The government needs to sit down with EDF now, not later in the year, and agree a funding model that allows Sizewell to start without any further delay. If such a funding model requires government support, then it should be given.

 “Any further delay in bringing forward the final decision on building Sizewell will be disastrous, as the vital skills that have been learned and developed at Hinkley Point, could be lost and fail to transfer to the new project.”

“Sizewell will create tens thousands of jobs both on site and in the supply chain. Delays could see these jobs lost to overseas competitors. Nuclear construction workers need a clear on site date, as do EDF consumers and the country as a whole. Why is it the government are unable to see or understand this?”

Energy security

Unite believes that the government’s cautious and timid approach will not secure energy security for the UK, create a genuinely balanced energy policy or ensure we meet our climate change targets. The UK’s nuclear energy policy needs to be far more ambitious. It is not sufficient that Sizewell is the only new nuclear power station on the drawing board. A new fleet of nuclear power stations is imperative.

ENDS

During the coronavirus crisis Unite is working to keep workers and the public safe, to defend jobs and to protect incomes.

For more information please contact Unite senior communications officer Barckley Sumner on 020 3371 2067 or 07802 329235.

Email: [email protected]

Unite is the UK and Ireland’s leading union fighting to protect and advance jobs, pay and conditions for members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Sharon Graham.