The firm behind the construction of Hinkley Point C insists that the nuclear new build will bring a variety of benefits to the area, and that they will be investing in the local area. But what are they really bringing to the area?
EDF Energy claim that the project is to be the first in a new generation of nuclear power stations in the UK, and provide “a clean, secure and affordable source of electricity for around five million homes.”
In the area around the build, EDF also claim that the build will provide around 25,000 employment opportunities throughout the build, which will take nearly a decade to complete. Furthermore, the plant will bring in around 900 jobs at the new stations, which will be in operation for more than 60 years.
For these 25,000 temporary workers, EDF will be constructing accommodation for approximately 2,000 workers. Other workers will be supported by the housing markets in Bridgwater and the surrounding areas. However, the 25,000 temporary workers speculated to be working on the site are to work over the entire duration of the construction – it is unlikely that there will be more than 7,000 construction workers on the site at any one time.
EDF have also announced a variety of investments in the local area, claiming that they are “investing in local people, equipping with the necessary skills to work on the project, ranging from construction and energy skills to training in business and enterprise.” This includes the development of a new construction skills training centre in conjunction with Bridgwater College. EDF are also investing £15 million in redeveloping Cannington Court, in order to develop it into the EDF Energy campus management and skills training centre.
Also, as early as 2012, EDF had awarded £25 million in contracts to local firms, and has invested £1.6 million in West Somerset Community College, of which £1 million will be dedicated to developing a new hub for apprenticeships. The firm estimates that 400 apprenticeships will be created throughout the project, some of which will be targeted to convince young people to enter the Nuclear industry.
EDF Energy has also created an employment brokerage scheme in association with the Job Centre. This aims to match people to various job opportunities that will be generated by the project.
EDF are also implementing a variety of improvements to the transport network in the area – but not everyone is supportive of the proposals.