Four of Britain’s major unions are big supporters of nuclear power, writes Ian Fairlie – all because of the jobs. Now Labour’s shadow energy minister has joined them in backing Hinkley C – even though renewable energy is a far better job-creator than nuclear, and already employs three times more people. Although ill-informed leaders of a few large unions support nuclear for jobs reasons, many trade unionists do not. The excellent 2014 report A Million Climate Jobs by 24 energy analysts and trade union officials reveals the large potential for jobs in the renewables and explicitly eschews nuclear power. Trade union leaders may think that nuclear power is a major provider of jobs. It is not. The recent analysis of jobs in the energy sector published by the Office of National Statistics reveals only 15,500 direct jobs in nuclear power compared with 43,500 direct jobs in renewables – including renewable heat, renewable combined heat and power, bioenergy and alternative fuels in 2014.
Ecologist 30th Aug 2016 read more »
Letter: Having worked for 16 years for a French multinational and for three years on a project in China, I can comment from experience on the Hinkley Point power-station project. The Government is looking at the wrong partner if it is worried about Chinese involvement. It is well known how China acquires technology from Western companies partly by involvement in projects. It could be guarded against, but at the end of the day, if they do not learn from one party, they will turn their attention to another. It is not illegal, and one might as well try to fight the tide. The real danger is the French, and their trade-union involvement. They see the project as a long-term cash cow. There will be delays, protracting the project for years. There will be constant changes to the technology, as they learn on the job and as technology advances. Every delay and every change will add to cost. If Hinkley goes ahead as planned, please publish this letter again in 2026 and 2036, so that politicians can see yet again how short-term opportunism and a refusal to think things through have plunged Britain even deeper into debt, an energy crisis, and grovelling dependence on others.
Telegraph 29th Aug 2016 read more »
On Friday the prime minister will head to China for the G20 summit of world leaders. While she’s there, the French and Chinese governments — two of Hinkley’s big financial backers — will be pressing her to make sure the project goes ahead. With just days to go until Theresa May flies out, a hard-hitting newspaper ad could make sure she sets off with opposition to Hinkley at the forefront of her mind. Featuring quotes from politicians and financial analysts who are united against Hinkley, our newspaper advert will prove how unpopular Hinkley is. If enough of us chip in now, we’ll run our ad full page in The Times — a paper the prime minister’s top advisors pay close attention to. Can you donate £2 to help get the ad printed?
Greenpeace 30th Aug 2016 read more »
For what it’s worth, I share Nick Timothy’s deep concerns about involving the Chinese state in the construction of national infrastructure like Hinkley Point. Even if we were to forget that China is a dictatorship – and we ought not to – there are obvious risks to national security. Now that the Government has indeed placed Hinkley on hold, though, the question comes: what now? Britain still needs new generating capacity in order to keep the lights on. While some argue that new nuclear is not required, the consensus in government still seems to be that it ought to be part of the mix – particularly given its benefits in terms of energy security and lack of carbon emissions. If we don’t take Chinese money to fund the extremely expensive process of constructing it, though, where is the cash going to come from? Might some sovereign wealth fund or other be tempted to invest, or could the money be raised on the open market? Any new investor would presumably have to accept a return lower than that EDF and the Chinese had planned for, if reports of Downing Street’s misgivings about the cost of the contract are correct, which would make them hard to find.
Conservative Home 30th Aug 2016 read more »