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Saturday 2nd
posted by Morning Star in Britain

EDF chief pressed to commit to major power station project

by Alan Jones

HINKLEY Point nuclear power station will be the first big “litmus test” for investment in infrastructure projects following the EU referendum, unions said yesterday.

GMB, Unite, Ucatt, and Prospect have written to the chief executive of EDF Energy, Vincent de Rivaz, saying it is “vital” to take a final investment decision without delay.

The unions said the £18 billion project, which would generate 7 per cent of Britain’s electricity demand, was vital in providing thousands of jobs and “keeping the lights on” in the years ahead.

“From an energy perspective, Britain needs the electricity,” the letter said.

“We are rapidly losing capacity and this process will continue as coal stations and nuclear stations reach the end of their operating lives.

“At the same time, we are committed to making a transition to a carbon-neutral balanced energy policy, including nuclear and renewables.

“It would be a tragedy, in both France and Britain, if all this work and the extraordinary opportunities it provides were to be lost.

“The moment to make the decision is upon us and we have a genuine fear that any further delay will lead to the unravelling of all that we have fought so hard to achieve.”

GMB national officer Justin Bowden pointed out that Britain is at growing risk of power shortages from an over-reliance on unpredictable renewables.

“Britain must have a balanced, low carbon energy mix including renewables, gas and nuclear power if we are to keep the lights on, our homes heated and the economy functioning,” he said.

Unite’s Kevin Coyne said: “The final investment decision by EDF Energy in Hinkley Point will be the first litmus test following the Brexit vote that much-needed investment in large infrastructure projects is still coming on stream.”

Ucatt acting general secretary Brian Rye called Hinkley Point a “vitally needed and groundbreaking” project.

A consultation process between EDF and the French unions is due to be completed on July 4.

However CND general secretary Kate Hudson called the project “fraught with flaws and high expense.”