Bridgwater Times, 3rd November 2007

Jobs at Hinkley Point A nuclear power station could be under threat if cash is funnelled away to clean up other more dangerous sites.

The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, which is responsible for cleaning up sites owned by Magnox, including Hinkley A, will be publishing its business plan for the next three years in a couple of weeks' time.

It has received extra cash from the Government but is likely to channel money into dealing with high-level risk waste at Sellafield in Cumbria .

If this happens, jobs at Hinkley A could be lost.

There are 255 people on the payroll and another 200 people are agency and contract workers.

A NDA spokesman said: "Our plan will suggest that, although receiving increased funding from the Government, we need to concentrate our financial assessments on waste of a higher hazard.

"That will have implications on other sites.

"It is impossible to say if there will be job losses because each site will be asked to come up with a business plan."

Site bosses will be notified of their confirmed funding for next year and an indication of funding for two years after that to work on.

Unions are warning funding problems could stall the clean-up of sites.

Prospect union national secretary Mike Graham said: "The decommissioning programme could be left in tatters.

"Any change to the agreed strategy and the funding allocated on that basis will have a devastating effect.

"Many businesses have already begun to put in place the staff needed for those commercial decommissioning contracts.

"If this clean-up work is suspended, the supply chain of contractors and other local stakeholders will lose confidence in the industry, including any potential new build."

GMB national secretary for energy Gary Smith said: "As a nation we know we need to clean up the existing nuclear power stations and build new ones for energy security and to reduce carbon emissions.

"However, we are held up as the Government seeks a non-existent private sector solution to progress these plans.

"It would be better to face reality and acknowledge that public funding and ownership is the only way forward for decommissioning the existing sites and building and operating new nuclear power stations."

Hinkley A, which opened in 1965, ceased generating power in 2000 and work is well under way to dismantle the site.


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Page Updated 06-Nov-2007