Hinkley Point C nuclear project workers face layoff
Up to 400 constructors at site of new nuclear power station could be laid off as preparation work comes to end before final investment decision by owner EDF
As many as 400 workers at the site of a new nuclear power station at Hinkley Point face being laid off while the French owners of the project decide whether to make an investment in the £16bn project.
EDF has almost completed the project's preparatory earthworks, drainage, welfare facilities and roadworks, but is yet to decide on the investment to mark the beginning of the construction the plant in Somerset.
The company said a decision would be reached in the coming months, and it has already launched a 45-day redundancies consultation, said the unions.
Phil Whitehurst, the GMB union's national officer, described the news as devastating.
The problem seems to be the stalled final investment decision. This should now be a wakeup call for the next UK government to take charge and manage the failing energy policy we have in place,
We cannot tolerate our energy new-build destiny being managed by companies who are in such disarray on funding when so deep into a project's development. If we do, then the lights will surely go out,.
It is the first new new nuclear plant in the UK in decades and is scheduled to start producing electricity in 2023. EDF, however, is still negotiating with UK authorities about government debt guarantees for the project, along with decommissioning costs and other details.
It is also negotiating with two Chinese utilities about their role in Hinkley Point and possible future UK nuclear projects with EDF.
EDF said it had made good progress on work to finalise agreements which will enable a final investment decision. The company said it had invested significantly in preparing the site , with these works nearing completion.
The next phase of work on the site and in the associated developments will require a substantial increase in spending levels, and will begin as soon as the final investment decision has been made,
it said. Kevin Coyne of the Unite union said:
The growing energy needs of the UK demand a clear and coherent strategy to provide enough capacity for industry and consumers.
“It is important, therefore, that the final investment decision is made as soon as possible and the announcement today of a delay in that process is disappointing, not least to those who are working on-site preparing the ground.
There will still be around 250 workers on the Hinkley Point C site after any layoffs, and EDF said work to ensure the project’s readiness will continue, including project planning, engineering design and supply chain activities.