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Hinkley Point C nuclear power station delays could cause blackouts, say unions

BLACKOUTS could sweep across Britain if delays continue to plague the building of a new nuclear power station, unions warned yesterday.

A new reactor at Hinkley Point in Somerset was given the go-ahead this week, after months of uncertainty over funding.

But work is to be delayed until 2017 as the company awaits final confirmation that it has sufficient investment.

Tory energy secretary Amber Rudd faced calls yesterday from union Unite to “get her skates on” and demand that investors make a speedy decision.

Reps also warned of potential power cuts if Hinkley was not producing electricity by the time Britain’s coal-fired power stations are phased out in the 2020s.

White-collar union Prospect urged the government to intervene.

Deputy general secretary Garry Graham said: “The prevailing zeitgeist is that the private sector will provide. That will only happen if the government gives investors confidence and clearly articulates what is needed.”

He stressed that the government needed to “act urgently to enable a final investment decision to be made.”

Energy firm EDF also plans to build a new reactor at Sizewell in Suffolk.

GMB, which also represents workers in the sector, welcomed the decision that Hink­ley will go ahead, albeit delayed.

National secretary for energy Gary Smith said: “The really positive news is the firm commitment from the EDF chairman both to Hinkley and Sizewell.

“This is great news as Hinkley Point C promises 25,000 job opportunities, 1,000 apprenticeships and 60 per cent of the construction cost going to UK companies.”


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