politics

Union chiefs call on ministers to come up with plan for funding new nuclear


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EXCLUSIVE: Bosses from three unions want the Government to outline how new plants will be paid for

Supporters say nuclear is vital to the UK’s energy mix

Workers’ leaders tonight urge ministers to speed-up publishing their plans for how to fund new nuclear power generation to help slash emissions.

Prospect, Unite and the GMB issued a joint statement calling on the Government to “bring forward a long-promised funding solution for new nuclear”.

They believe a plan is essential for hitting the UK’s net zero emissions by 2050 target, as world leaders prepare to descend on Glasgow in November for the COP26 climate summit.

The unions say they will support “any funding plan that allows swift progress to be made”.







Nuclear provides about eight per cent of the UK’s electricity supply



Prospect’s senior deputy general secretary Sue Ferns said: “The Government, the Climate Change Committee and the unions all agree that new nuclear must form part of the energy mix for us to be able to meet our future decarbonisation goals.

“The primary roadblock to getting new nuclear projects off the ground is the absence of a workable funding model.

“That’s why the three biggest unions in nuclear have joined together to demand that the Government stop dithering and bring forward the legislation that will allow vital projects to move ahead.

“There have been too many delays in recent years, and now we are in serious danger of losing essential jobs and skills that will be difficult and expensive to replace.








Unions want a plan for replacing nuke plants
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Image:

Phil Harris/Daily Mirror)



“With COP26 only two months away, now is the time for the UK to show it is serious about decarbonisation and get moving on new nuclear.”

Britain has an ageing fleet of nuke power plants and experts warn more are needed to guarantee keeping the lights on.

The UK is moving away from fossil fuels, with an increasing amount of power generated by solar and wind.

But because they are weather dependent, critics say they are unreliable and new nuke plants are needed – creating or safeguarding thousands of well-paid jobs.

Unite assistant general secretary Gail Cartmail said: “The time for ministerial shilly-shallying on bringing forward legislation for a comprehensive funding model for ‘new’ nuclear projects is long past.








Unite assistant general secretary Gail Cartmail
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Image:

PA)



“Nuclear is a key component in the UK’s future energy mix if we are to meet the Government’s stated goal of net zero emissions by 2050, as well as managing the soaring demand from industry, commerce and the consumer.

“The climate emergency is here now – a clear and present danger to the environment and humanity – and new nuclear is an important tool in tackling this crisis.

“It would also create thousands of skilled jobs as new sites are built and come on stream.”

GMB union national officer Gary Carter said: “We need new nuclear to meet our net zero targets and support a proper transition, we need nuclear energy to deliver security of supply.”

An Energy Department spokesman said: “New nuclear has a key role to play in helping us eliminate our contribution to climate change.

“We are backing the next generation of nuclear technology with £385million and looking at the financial options to make sure our energy supplies are secure, create tens of thousands of jobs, and reduce the cost of new nuclear to consumers.”





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