The GMB trade union – which has a large membership in the energy and construction sectors – is urging the UK government to re-designate the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority as the ‘Nuclear Development Authority’ and for it to take over the on-off saga of the proposed Hinkley Point C new-build atom power station.
The call follows reports from Paris that the financial director of the French nationalised nuclear utility EDF – which owns and operates the two Scottish nuclear power stations and another six in England – would face financial ruin if EDF proceeds with the Hinkley plan.
Phil Whitehurst, GMB National Officer for Engineering Construction, said: “The UK construction industry and its supply chain simply cannot be left hanging in limbo any longer with regards to the Final Investment Decision (FID) of Hinkley Point C (HPC) where in-fighting inside the EDF board has now created yet another high powered resignation in the major shareholders of HPC.
“The UK Government should now be considering a move to Plan B. The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority should be re-designated as the Nuclear Development Authority and take over responsibility for the project which has to go ahead.”
The British Government’s nuclear energy policy is coming under increasing criticism after the chief financial officer of power giant EDF resigned, casting fresh speculation over its plans to build a new nuclear power station at Hinkley.
Thomas Piquemal is believed to have stepped down because of concerns that a final decision on investment for the £18 billion project in Somerset was being made too soon, potentially threatening EDF’s financial position.
The company, which is 85% owned by the French government, recently gave assurances that it was ‘close’ to making a decision on the proposed Hinkley Point C project.
Labour’s Shadow energy secretary Lisa Nandy (pictured, left) said: “This power station is absolutely central to the Government’s strategy for keeping the lights on and meeting Britain’s international commitments on climate change.
“With growing scepticism over whether it will now be built, ministers must tell us: what their Plan-B is.”