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Loss of Welsh power station has ‘serious ramifications’ for Sizewell C, say supporters

PUBLISHED: 09:04 16 September 2020 | UPDATED: 14:53 17 September 2020

A CGI of what the Sizewell C nuclear power station could look like  Picture: EDF Energy

A CGI of what the Sizewell C nuclear power station could look like Picture: EDF Energy

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Supporters of Sizewell C say that jobs to be created by the proposed nuclear power station have become more crucial than ever following the scrapping of a project in Wales.

It had been hoped that thousands of jobs would be created at the Wylfa station on Anglesey in North Wales by Japanese firm Hitachi.

However, the tech giant announced yesterday that it had axed plans for the station, blaming what it called the “severe impact” of the coronavirus on “the investment environment”.

The decision has led to concerns here in Suffolk from supporters of the proposed Sizewell C station, who now believe the jobs which could be created by the nuclear sector are even more crucial.

Cameron Gilmour, spokesman for the Sizewell C Consortium – which represents around 100 businesses and unions backing the construction of the nuclear power station – said: “This news will have serious ramifications for companies both in Wales and across the UK.

“The Wylfa nuclear project would have been another important milestone for the UK’s nuclear supply chain and would have created thousands of jobs.

“Unless Sizewell C, a replica of the under-construction Hinkley Point C, is given the go-ahead, there is now a serious risk to the future of the UK’s civil nuclear construction capability and the tens of thousands of jobs that go with it.”

However, campaign group Together Against Sizewell C said that the announcement showed the financial pitfalls of nuclear energy.

TASC chairman, Pete Wilkinson, said:“Hitachi’s decision is clearly driven by the fact that nuclear is a bad financial investment, a conclusion that is one that EDF has accepted as it now expects the UK consumer and taxpayer to pay for Sizewell C.

“As a capital-intensive industry, jobs cost a disproportionate amount: at £20bn for Sizewell, each of the notional 900 long-term jobs will cost over £22m each to create.

“One also must consider the negative impact that Sizewell C will have on employment in the Suffolk tourism industry with a recent report showing that up to 400 jobs are at stake if Sizewell C goes ahead.

“Jobs in this ‘build back better’ period are vital, but the large number of jobs required will be created by investing in labour-intensive renewables, conservation of energy, efficiency, decentralisation and microtechnology, not in antiquated nuclear.

“Opting for nuclear is a prime example of repeating the mistakes of the past.”

Alison Downes of Stop Sizewell C, said: “Sizewell C would be a bad project whoever paid for it and certainly wouldn’t help the government meet its policy imperatives: it wouldn’t contribute to net zero targets until 2040 and at £20 billion would be much more expensive as well as slower than other technologies to address climate change.”

A spokesman for EDF said: “Hitachi’s decision does not change the need for large scale nuclear in the UK.

“It is the only technology ready to deliver the always-on low carbon electricity we will need alongside renewables to get to net zero emissions.

“With fewer new nuclear projects in planning, it is vital that Sizewell C gets built.”

A Government spokesman said: “Nuclear power will play a key role in the UK’s future energy mix as we transition to a low-carbon economy, including through our investments in small and advanced modular reactors. That’s why we previously offered a significant package of potential support to this project that went well beyond what any government has been willing to consider in the past.”

“This included taking a one-third equity stake, providing all of the required debt financing to complete construction, and providing generous financial support through our Contract for Difference scheme.”

MORE: Community leaders cannot support Sizewell C


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