Energy giant EDF will this week unveil plans to create 5,000 jobs in the South West England and generate £500 million of investment thanks to Britain’s biggest nuclear plant.
This is the first concrete announcement to come after the last government gave the go-ahead for a multi-billion pound investment in nuclear energy. And it is just the type of private sector project the Government is hoping will take up the slack from cutting State spending.
At least 500 firms in Somerset are expected to win contracts to help build two huge reactors on the site of an old Magnox nuclear power station. “There will also be a need for skilled staff from outside of the area as you won’t suddenly find 300 welders in the area looking for work. Early planning by the main contractors is essential” said Chris Slay who runs both a local and international recruitment agency that specialises in trade skills “The infrastructure demands are immense and one of our national customers is already in discussions about supply opportunities not just in Somerset but also where the other 9 plants are to be built.
The project at Hinkley Point will employ up to 5,000 on site during construction and will create 900 permanent jobs during its expected 60 years of operation.
Two massive 1.6 gigawatt reactors at the site will provide one sixth of Britain’s electricity needs, creating enough power to light up five million homes.
The plant is expected to be completed at the end of 2017 and will start sending power into the grid by 2018.
A report by the Oxford Institute for Sustainable Development estimates that the Somerset project could pump an average £100 million a year into the local economy during construction and £40 million a year during its operation.
While this week’s announcement highlights the dramatic effect that a new nuclear building programme can have on the local economy, it is also vitally important for large British high-tech companies. Amec and Rolls-Royce have already won contracts worth hundreds of millions of pounds for EDF’s nuclear building programme. These contracts will cascade through to thousands of sub contractors both local and national.
Author: Chris Slay
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