Dr Tim Fox, head of energy at the Institution of Mechanical Engineers responds to today’s nuclear power deal between the UK and France
Although it is welcome news that the UK is pressing ahead with the development of new nuclear reactors to secure affordable low-carbon electricity generation, this is not necessarily the best deal for securing UK jobs and skills.
Although some relatively small contracts are to be awarded to Rolls-Royce and BAM Kier, it looks increasingly likely that the vast majority of the contracts involved in the manufacture and construction of the new nuclear reactors at Hinkley Point and Sizewell will go to France rather than the UK. An outcome the Institution predicted in it Nuclear New Build report two years ago.
The construction of the nuclear power stations at Hinkley Point and Sizewell will directly and indirectly create about 10,000 jobs. The UK has the ability to undertake about 70% of the engineering and construction work of a new nuclear power plant.
We must ensure that we do not miss out on an opportunity to develop UK industry, skills and jobs with the roll-out of the country’s new nuclear power stations.