EDF Energy Response to Government’s Nuclear Industrial Strategy
The Government’s Nuclear Industrial Strategy published today underlines the considerable opportunities for the UK’s existing and future nuclear industry to boost economic growth and provide high quality jobs. New nuclear in particular is highlighted as a key part of the UK’s future energy mix offering secure, reliable and affordable low carbon energy.
The strategy set out by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills also shows that strengthening the UK’s nuclear supply chain will allow British firms to compete successfully in a global nuclear market which it estimates to be worth £930bn by 2030.
Collaboration in research and development is correctly identified as a key enabler of the UK’s nuclear capability. EDF Energy has identified a number of UK universities of strategic importance for nuclear R&D and has formed partnerships with Imperial College London, Bristol, Strathclyde and Manchester universities.
The role of existing nuclear in delivering the UK economic and energy benefits is made clear. EDF Energy invests £300 million each year on capital expenditure in the nuclear fleet, and spends an additional £350 million on plant operations, with 90 per cent of the total being spent in the UK. Extending the plants’ lives also brings significant training and employment opportunities for a new generation of nuclear engineers and operators as EDF Energy seeks to develop the UK’s position as a primary source for skills and expertise in the global nuclear industry.
EDF Energy is ready to build two new nuclear reactors at Hinkley Point C in Somerset. If it goes ahead, 25,000 people will work on the project and 900 during the station’s life. 1,200 businesses in Somerset have signed up to participate and 5,000 jobs could be created in the county. EDF Energy estimates that 57% of the value of the construction can be realised in the UK.
Partnerships being made between British and French companies on the Hinkley Point C project will create high value jobs and enable UK businesses to compete around the world. Together, the two major civil nuclear nations are combining their experience, with British skill in construction and engineering complementing France’s considerable nuclear expertise. These alliances can turn the UK into a nuclear supplier rather than simply a customer for future nuclear projects.
The strategy also says that delivering the first wave of new nuclear power stations “as soon as possible” is critical to securing the huge economic benefits that will follow. EDF Energy believes that the success of its pioneering project in Somerset will kick start the new nuclear programme in the UK. However, to make this project a reality, EDF Energy and the Government need to reach agreement on a Contract for Difference for Hinkley Point C. This contract must represent a balanced and fair deal for both consumers and investors.