New Sizewell plant set to bring big boost to economy

A NEW nuclear power station at Sizewell could be worth up to �700m to the Suffolk economy during construction and �40m a year when it is operational, according to the company hoping to build it.

EDF Energy said its plans for Sizewell C would support employment, help develop specialist skills and bring wider benefits to local communities.

But while the news has been welcomed by business chiefs, anti-nuclear campaigners say the company should be investing in other sources of power.

The Government has already announced that Sizewell is on a list of preferred sites for potential new nuclear schemes and EDF has confirmed it wants to build two reactors.

In the construction period – which could last about six or seven years – it is likely that between 4,500 and 5,000 people would be employed. When complete, the power station would employ between 700 and 900 people.

EDF bosses said they estimated any new development would be worth �100m a year to the local economy while it was being built and �40m a year thereafter.

The figures have been based on EDF's other new-build project at Hinkley Point in Somerset, which is ahead of the scheme at Sizewell.

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A company spokesman said: 'A new nuclear power station at Sizewell C would bring a welcome boost to the local and regional economy and support employment, skills and wider community benefits to Suffolk as a whole.

'It is very early days in the Sizewell project and premature to speculate on specific details and benefits. We would, however, expect to see benefits similar to Hinkley Point C should it go ahead.

'At Hinkley, there would be a range of clear benefits to the community – we would create 5,000 construction jobs and 900 operational jobs, contributing around �100m to the local community each year during construction and �40m each year thereafter during operation.

'This recruitment will require developing training opportunities for the long term development of skills.

'The community would also benefit from the potential future use of local facilities that can be left after construction is completed.'

Formal consultation on the plans for a new power station at Sizewell will start next year and the plant could be up and running by 2020.

Meetings have already been held with a number of interested parties and initial site investigation work – involving boreholes and other geological studies – has already started.

Miles Vartan, supply chain manager at Suffolk Chamber of Commerce, said: 'Sizewell C will provide a massive boost for our region, and will bring with it clear benefits to employment and our regional economy.

'During the construction of Sizewell B almost 700 local businesses were involved in the build programme. Suffolk and Norfolk chambers are working closely with EDF Energy to establish procurement chains to enable as many local businesses as possible to be involved in the development of Sizewell C.'

He said an event for potential suppliers, held in the summer, was oversubscribed, demonstrating the enthusiasm of local businesses wanting to become involved with the scheme.

If given the go-ahead the project would still be subject to planning regulations and both the district and town councils have urged that local communities need to be given a say in any development.

Charles Barnett, chairman of the Shutdown Sizewell Campaign, added: 'It is not a question of money, it is a question of doing the right thing.

'The right thing is not to build any more nuclear power stations, which are expensive, unsafe and leave our descendents for 250,000 years and to the 10,000th generation with the question of what to do with highly dangerous nuclear waste.

'What's the point of going for money now if we are going to burden descendents with the cost of dealing with this enormous legacy of nuclear waste? It is sheer folly. What EDF should be doing is pursuing the benign, non polluting sources of energy such as wind farms.'

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