Four powerful labor unions in Britain are calling the Hinkley Point C nuclear power plant construction project the first major “litmus test” for the country in the wake of its landmark vote last week for the country to quit its membership in the European Union.
The GMB, Unite, Ucatt and Prospect unions have written to EDF Energy Chief Executive Officer Vincent de Rivaz, calling the upcoming decision on financing for the $24 billion project “vital” to Britain's energy needs that would, if the project is given the green light, send a signal that the so-called Brexit vote would not derail the country's economy.
“Nuclear new build is already behind the curve. We cannot afford further delay and it is vital for EDF to make a final investment decision now,” the unions wrote.
The unions stressed that Britain needs the new generation capacity, which is currently on a waning path with the scheduled closures of older coal burning plants and the aging of its nuclear power fleet.
The Energy Voice reported last week that an EDF spokeswoman had stated after the Brexit vote that the utility giant remained committed to the Hinkley Point project. EDF CEO Jean-Bernard Levy also remarked to reporters that the Brexit vote would not affect the company's decision on whether or not to green light the project.
Even without the Brexit vote, the decision has been a major story in Britain due to the size of the project and the potential for the plant to generate about 7 percent of the United Kingdom's electricity.
The unions declared they were 100 percent behind the project for its economic benefits, the ability of a nuclear power plant to provide reliable, carbon-free energy and for the work it would provide to their members.
The unions also said they feared a general “unraveling” of the momentum already invested in getting the Project to move forward. “The UK must have a balanced, low carbon energy mix including renewables, gas and nuclear power if we are to keep the lights on, our homes heated and the economy functioning.” the letter said.
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