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Energy unions issue call for nuclear funding plan to be brought forward

20 September 2021

Prospect, Unite and the GMB have joined forces to demand government bring forward a long-promised funding solution for new nuclear.

 

As part of the ‘Nuclear Week’ campaign in parliament this week, which focuses attention on the nuclear industry, the three biggest energy unions Prospect, Unite and GMB have made a joint statement which argues that new nuclear will be essential to hitting the government’s net zero target and expresses concern at the delays in getting moving with new build projects.

The statement points out the risk of an impending ‘nuclear gap’ to retaining the skills and jobs necessary for the nuclear industry.

The solution, say the unions, is for government to urgently bring forward the legislation for a new funding framework for new nuclear, to enable essential progress to be made on new build projects in the coming years.

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

The Government have already consulted on a new Regulated Asset Base (RAB) model for funding new nuclear, but the legislation to bring the model into force has not yet been brought forward.

Sue Ferns, Prospect senior deputy general secretary, 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 were are in serious danger of losing essential jobs and skills that will be difficult and expensive to replace. 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.”

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.

“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.”

Gary Carter, GMB Union National Officer, 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.

“We need a new nuclear funding to model to achieve all of the above”.


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