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Hinkley’s once in a generation economic impact shows why we have to get on with Sizewell C

Big Carl lifts the 245-tonne dome roof onto Hinkley Point C’s first reactor building – taking Britain a big step closer to achieving net-zero and stronger energy security. Image © EDF

Tom Greatrex, Chief Executive

Tom Greatrex, Chief Executive | Nuclear Industry Association

3 min read Partner content

Hinkley Point C is the UK’s greatest single climate action, but as Tom Greatrex, Chief Executive of the Nuclear Industry Association writes, its impact has already been felt by communities and businesses all over the country.

Britain is going big on new nuclear and there are several reasons why. For net-zero? Yes. Clean power? Of course. Energy Security? That too.

But what impact is being felt right here, right now? Are there lots more green jobs for the next generation and are businesses feeling the effect? Put simply, yes, and that’s thanks to Hinkley Point C.

Hinkley is having a once in generation impact on the social and economic make-up of the South West, from jobs, to training opportunities and supporting companies in the local supply chain. 

So far, more than £5bn has been spent with local businesses, far exceeding the original £1.5bn target. By the end of construction, £7.3bn will have been spent with companies in the South West. Indeed, every nation and region in the UK is seeing the benefit, with 3,800 British businesses making up the supply chain.

Hinkley has created 23,000 jobs to date with 8,000 people having received training from its welding, electrical and mechanical Centres of Excellence. Trainees come from all over the UK, including South Wales, the North West and North East. They do so because they know the opportunity is there for them to develop new skills at one of the most important net-zero projects in the country. 

Nuclear is unique in that it creates opportunity in the regions that need it most, including where there is low social mobility. Almost one third of those being trained today at Hinkley are from deprived areas, a theme which runs through the whole sector. That is what our industry can do, create good, secure jobs on stations and projects that the UK will be relying on for a very long time.

Then there are the apprentices, the next generation of net-zero workers for whom the climate and environment is, for many of them, the most important issue the world faces. The 1,320 apprentices trained at Hinkley will be invaluable as new nuclear projects spring up in other parts of the country, with the ultimate goal of reaching 24 GW of nuclear by 2050.

Hinkley had the challenging task of restarting the British nuclear industry after a two decade pause, but the lessons learned will be applied to the next big project. Sizewell C is in line to deliver these once in a lifetime benefits we’re seeing at Hinkley with a supply chain and workforce ready to take on the challenge.

We now need the government to get to a Final Investment Decision so we can unlock the same benefits to the East of England and continue the revival of Britain’s industrial workforce.

These stations are the most significant green energy projects in a generation, and we should use them as the springboard for a full programme of new nuclear plants, large and small, to create life changing opportunities for people and businesses up and down the country.

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