A dedicated nuclear minister is welcome but we need action not just grand gestures

21st February 2023


Prospect responds to reports that the government has appointed Andrew Bowie MP as a new dedicated minister in charge of nuclear power.

Click the arrow on the right to read more.

It is thought that this is the first time there has been a minister solely devoted to nuclear power. Prospect has been saying for some time that the government needs to match rhetoric with action on new nuclear and get on with approving and funding vital projects.

Sue Ferns, Senior Deputy General Secretary of Prospect union, said:

“The appointment of Andrew Bowie as UK’s first dedicated minister for nuclear power is welcome and hopefully demonstrates the scale of the government’s commitment to new nuclear. But warm words and grand gestures on nuclear have all too often been matched by dither and delay when it comes to action.

“All but one of the UK’s existing nuclear reactors are due to retire by the end of the decade and the global race for investment in next generation nuclear technologies is accelerating. There is no time to spare on this.

“Top of the minister’s to-do-list must be establishing a fully funded Great British Nuclear so we can actually get moving on building the new nuclear capacity we need for energy security and to achieve our net zero goals.”

Open letter calls on Prime Minister to launch Great British Nuclear programme

30th January 2023


To mark the start of Nuclear Week in Parliament, Prospect has coordinated an open letter calling on the government to launch a fully funded Great British Nuclear programme to tackle our energy crisis.

Click the arrow on the right to read more.

Dear Prime Minister,

Chris Skidmore’s Net Zero Review has reaffirmed that investing in new nuclear is a ‘no-regrets option’ for any government serious about achieving net zero and energy security.

Britain must not sleepwalk into the familiar pattern of delays and broken promises that have held back our nuclear ambitions in the past.

Last year’s British Energy Security Strategy set out ambitious plans to deliver 24GW of nuclear capacity by 2050, supplying up to a quarter of our energy needs and creating thousands of highly skilled green jobs across the country alongside a major expansion of renewables.

However, progress has stalled on establishing Great British Nuclear, the body tasked with implementing this vision of a significant programme of reactors both big and small.

We do not have time to spare. All but one of the UK’s existing nuclear reactors are due to retire by the end of the decade and this capacity needs to be replaced. Meanwhile, the global race for investment in next generation nuclear technologies is accelerating, spurred on by the Inflation Reduction Act in the US.

As Chris Skidmore set out, Britain’s energy crisis demands ‘stable, long-term policy’. We call on the Prime Minister to launch a fully funded Great British Nuclear programme as a matter of priority.

Sue Ferns, Senior Deputy General Secretary, Prospect trade union

Rob Massy, UK President, Westinghouse

Alastair Evans, Director of Corporate Affairs, Rolls-Royce SMR

Henri Murison, Chief Executive, Northern Powerhouse Partnership

Charlotte Nichols, Member of Parliament for Warrington North and Co-Chair of the All-Party Parliament Group on Nuclear Energy

Mark Menzies, Member of Parliament for Fylde

Simon Fell, Member of Parliament for Barrow and Furness

Lord McNicol of West Kilbride

Lord Ravensdale

Review of NDA Pay Arrangements

17th January 2023


GMB National Officer, Gary Carter, writes about GMB's submission to BEIS that NDA operating companies should be outside the civil service pay remit.

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GMB Union, along with the other joint union have made submissions to the Business, Energy, & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) review on whether NDA operating companies should be in or out of the civil service pay remit. GMB, Joint Unions and NDA are all of the view that NDA operating companies should be outside the civil service pay remit.

Putting NDA operating companies into the civil service pay remit will make recruiting and retaining employees even more difficult than at present. NDA is competing for skills in the private sector, and NDA pay needs to be comparable with the likes of EDF, BAE, Rolls Royce and Urenco, rather than public sector rates of pay.

The local pay bargaining machinery across the operating companies is well established and works well. It has the confidence and buy in from management and unions. It has brought about stable employment relations. Putting NDA operating companies into the civil service pay remit would severely jeopardise good industrial relations, make it much harder to reach pay settlements and increase the likelihood of industrial action. Civil Service pay increases have been lower than in the private sector and those negotiated by trade unions with NDA operating companies.

GMB Union believes the NDA operating companies should be able to negotiate pay with trade unions outside the civil service pay remit.

Recommendations from BEIS will go to Government in the next few weeks, and we should know more by the end of the financial year. The Joint Trade Unions have asked for a meeting with the energy minister. We will keep you up to date on developments.


The changes to the final salary pension scheme agreed back in 2017, but not enacted, are now at the Committee stage in Parliament. They form part of the Energy Bill, which was put on hold by the previous Conservative Government, but is now proceeding under this Conservative administration.

The cost-of-living crisis is putting a strain on so many families and increasing pension contributions at a time when so many are struggling is not something the GMB supports. It increases the demand for a higher pay rise.

TUSNE Winter Newsletter

20th December 2022

TUSNE's Winter Newsletter

In this edition we take a look at the Government’s funding of Sizewell C, the future of fusion in the UK, TUSNE at the Labour Party Conference and TUSNE’s Plenary in the House of Commons 

TUSNE newsletter_winter22.pdf

Unite calls on Ofgem to pull the plug on energy profiteers

21st November 2022

Link to Sharon Graham's letter here

Sharon Graham the leader of Unite, has written to the Ofgem CEO, Jonathan Brearley, and Chair, Martin Cave, to demand that the Regulator clamp down on excessive profiteering by energy distributors.

Click the arrow on the right to read more.

‘Unite investigates’ - the union’s research and investigation arm - has established that last year the major energy suppliers, distributors, and generators made £15.8 billion in profits.

According to research by Common Wealth, Distribution Network Operators have higher profit margins than any other sector in the UK - with eye-watering operating profit margins of over 50% expected in 2022.

DNOs involve less well-known companies like UK Power Networks owned by CK Hutchison, the Hong-Kong based holding company that also owns Felixstowe Ports and one of the UK’s biggest water companies. 

In the last four years, for example, UK Power Networks has recorded £2.4 billion profits. In the same time it handed out over £800 billion in dividends to shareholders. 

Unite is calling on Ofgem to re-open its price review and set a clear cap on distributor profits. Distribution Network Operators have higher profit margins than any other energy sector. 

Unite general secretary, Sharon Graham said: “Electricity distributors like UK Power Networks are milking profits during this energy crisis. The regulator is failing to properly reign them in. They’ve been holding the public to ransom for too much and for too long. 

“Ofgem is a regulator that doesn’t regulate. Time for that to change. How long must the public pay for profiteering from the likes of UK Power Networks? It’s time to pull the plug on the energy profiteers.”

UK Power Networks operates a monopoly and distributes power to 1 in 4 UK homes concentrated in London and the South East. With network costs making up around a fifth of consumer bills, this is leaving bills far higher than they need to be.

A decision of the price regulation process for the electricity distribution networks, RIIO-ED2, is due to conclude by December. The current draft determinations for RIIO-ED2 do not go far enough to clamp down on excessive profiteering by the DNOs. The regulatory process remains too heavily dominated by the energy companies with far too little role for the millions of workers and consumers who are impacted by the decisions that Ofgem makes on energy prices.

TUSNE joins MPs in demanding UK Nuclear Investment to help allies Drop Russian Exports

7th October 2022

From Nuclear Industry Association

TUSNE supports the All-Party Parliamentary Group's report backing urgent investment in UK nuclear capability to cut Russian civil nuclear leverage over our allies.

Click the arrow on the right to read more.

TUSNE have written to the Secretary of State for BEIS reiterating the report and our belief the UK can assist its allies in averting a dependency on buying Russian-designed reactors and nuclear fuel by investing in the capabilities that exist here in this country. In doing so, the UK can secure new long-term export opportunities, back British manufacturing and create hundreds of highly skilled green jobs. 

It is important to highlight the UK’s huge potential to become the global leader in fuel fabrication and enrichment if we invest in our capabilities.  Our plants, both in North West England near Preston and Chester, are under-used.  With determination and support, current production can be expanded to provide an alternative source of fuel.  This will enable the utility companies of our allies to move away from Russia’s energy leverage while at the same time retaining our skills base and creating quality employment opportunities. 

In addition, and more for impact in the long term, we are concerned about what appears to be a Russian stranglehold over reactor exports across the globe. Developing countries are being pulled into Russia’s energy orbit as they accept Kremlin offers to finance, construct, and support the operation of Russian-designed reactors. Over half (54%) of all nuclear reactors under construction since 2017 are Russian designed, according to the International Energy Agency. We urge the UK Government to strongly consider a strategy for developing a British alternative to act as a bulwark against Russian exports worldwide.  At the heart of this should be British-designed and built reactors. Our members at Rolls-Royce are firm in the belief that their planned small modular reactors (SMRs) will provide a superior export option.   

We have a world-class nuclear skills base here in the UK, something of which we are proud and keen to preserve. With investment, commitment, concentrated focus and the support of our workforces, the UK can provide the energy security our allies desperately need

Click here to read the paper which sets out three key actions that the UK Government should take to tackle Kremlin leverage and support UK jobs in the Nuclear Industry.

We can avoid future blackouts by investing in nuclear and resilience

6th October 2022


Prospect reacts to National Grid's warning of blackouts this Winter, highlighting the need to extend the life of existing power stations and that workers will do what it takes to maintain supplies, but will need Government and industry backing,

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National Grid have warned that British households could lose power for three hours at a time this winter as energy blackouts become a distinct possibility.

With the war in Ukraine causing gas price problems and potentially a gas shortage there is a real problem that in periods of peak demand, low wind, we cannot produce enough power.

Sue Ferns, Senior Deputy General Secretary of Prospect ,  said:

“Families will be very concerned to hear the news that power cuts could become necessary this winter.

“They can be assured that workers in the industry will do all they can to maintain supplies, but industry and government must also invest in resilience.

“The government must also ensure the life of existing power stations due to come off-stream are extended. This needs to be backed by progress on Sizewell C and action to safeguard our domestic supply of nuclear fuel by guaranteeing the future of Springfields Nuclear Fuels.

“They must also drop their reported opposition to a national energy saving campaign, and back this with work to make sure all vulnerable households and critical infrastructure is properly identified.”

GDF will create 4,000 jobs and boost local community, says report

30th September 2022


Sue Ferns welcomes the announcement of a Geological Disposal Facility report focusing on the creation of jobs a GDF will bring to the United Kingdom

Click the arrow on the right to read more.

The construction of a Geological Disposal Facility, which will safely and securely store radioactive waste deep underground, will create more than 4,000 local jobs and significantly boost the local community, says a new report from Nuclear Waste Services.

The report “GDF – Creating Jobs & Skills: A First Look” sets out how the GDF programme, which would be one of the biggest infrastructure projects in the UK, would create thousands of skilled, well-paid jobs within the first 25 years alone.

The local community, which is yet to be chosen, would receive economic investment and opportunities through the 175 year lifetime of the GDF.

Prospect, which represents members at NWS, has welcomed the report. Sue Ferns, Prospect senior deputy general secretary, said:

“The creation of such a large number of skilled, long-term, local jobs is exactly what is needed for the UK to achieve the government’s levelling up aspirations. It will benefit a multi-generational workforce and provide a significant boost to local communities.”

Karen Wheeler, Nuclear Waste Services deputy chief executive and major capital programmes director, said:

“The long-term nature of the project provides a unique opportunity to develop skills, expertise and sustainable jobs for a local community.

“We are now making real progress and having conversations with a number of communities about the potential for them to host a GDF.”

Read the full report from NWS.

Extending life of nuclear reactors 'least worst option'

29th September 2022


GMB welcome EDF's statement, pledging to extend the life of Hartlepool and Heysham, whilst calling on Government to quickly build new nuclear sites as part of a long term strategy

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GMB, the union for nuclear workers, has welcomed EDF’s pledge to look into extending the life spans of the Hartlepool and Heysham nuclear power plants as the least worst option. 

The two power stations, which provide around 5 per cent of Britain’s energy, were due to go off line in 2024.  

However, as there has been a long term Governmental failure to replace these plants, keeping them open is seen by the union as necessary to ensure the nation has sufficient energy to cope with the current crisis whilst preserving jobs. 

Andy Prendergast, GMB National Secretary, said: 

“The decision to extend the life of Hartlepool and Heysham 1 nuclear power plants is very much the least worst option. 

"After years of dithering by the Government, sadly there are few alternatives to keep the lights on.  

“These plants provide up to 5 per cent of our energy needs.  

“It’s frankly negligent we have been left in a position where these steps have to be considered.  

“In light of problems in supply, the fact this would safeguard good unionised jobs in parts of the country where they are badly needed means it would be good news.  

"But unless it spurs Ministers on to quickly build new nuclear sites, it will be yet another example of kicking the can down the road.” 

Unite comment on Boris Johnson’s Sizewell C announcement

1st September 2022


Unite urge the Government and the next Prime Minister to further delay the Sizewell C project.

Click the arrow on the right to read more.

Unite national officer for the energy sector Simon Coop said: “This government cannot duck the fact that Sizewell C should have been given the go-head years ago. Even today, there is no guarantee that this project will progress in 2023 because Boris Johnson’s decision will have to be ratified by the next prime minister 

“Where we needed certainty and a clear road map to energy security, we got more waffle, more hollow words from Boris Johnson.   

“Our members in the energy sector are sick and tired of politicians being all talk and no action. The need for action and a balanced energy policy has never been so urgent. Our energy supply and market are in crisis – the next PM needs to get a grip and, no ifs or buts, deliver on Sizewell C.”

Hinkley Point facing delivery delays as engineering workers strike in pay dispute

23rd May 2022


The flagship Hinkley Point nuclear power plant development could face significant delays due to a pay dispute at Darchem Engineering in Stockton-on-Tees. 

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Strike action will hit Darchem Engineering, which manufactures industrial pond liners for Hinkley Point as part of £200 million contract with the next delivery due in June.

The workers are challenging an increasing pay disparity between trades at the company. The welders’ pay has increased by over £2 an hour but the company has refused to give a similar increase to the platers and sheet metal workers.

Industrial action by Unite’s members will begin with an overtime ban starting on Monday 6 June. This will then be followed by three 48-hour strikes beginning on Monday 13 June, Monday 20 June and Monday 27 June. Further strikes could be called depending on the response of the employer.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “Darchem Engineering is making millions from the UK taxpayer so it has no right denying workers on a UK project a fair rate of pay. It needs to get a grip or their actions will cause further problems to the Hinckley site.

“Unite will be giving our members at Darchem Engineering our total support until the unfair pay disparities are fully resolved.”

Unite regional officer Fazia Hussain-Brown said: “Unite has repeatedly tried to resolve this dispute through negotiations but Darchem has refused to listen. Our members are taking industrial action as a last resort.

 “Strike action will inevitably result in delays to products being delivered to Hinkley Point, but this dispute can still be averted if the company makes an improved offer and returns to negotiations.”

Sizewell C delays runs real risk of job losses

13th May 2022


GMB, the energy union, says today’s delay to the decision on the Sizewell C nuclear reactor runs the risk of job losses.  

Click the arrow on the right to read more.

The Government said it needed more time to look at new information regarding 320 billion project in Suffolk. 

Charlotte Childs, GMB National Officer, said:

"Sizewell C is essential for meeting our energy challenges. We need spades in the ground to keep the lights on and the production lines moving in the medium to long-term. 

"The Government must complete its assessment as quickly as possible. The UK's nuclear programme has been delayed too many times due to political decisions, and we need confirmation for this essential project.

"Thousands of highly-skilled workers are currently building Hinkley Point C or supplying components through its supply chain. There is a real risk that those jobs will be lost if there isn't a programme of work.

"This project is essential for jobs and skills and hitting our environmental targets - we need to be clear that there can be no net zero without new nuclear."

Energy Bill lacks any detail on achieving nuclear ambitions

10th May 2022


The Government published the Queen’s Speech today and there is to be an Energy Security Bill in the coming Parliament.

Click the arrow on the right to read more.

After months of talk about new nuclear and the need to get on with building it it was hoped that this bill would contain a clear plan for achieving our goals but no detail was included.

Sue Ferns, Senior Deputy general secretary of Prospect, responded:

“An Energy Security Bill was the minimum we needed from the government to get through the current energy crisis and secure our future generating capacity and climate goals.

“So far we have had plenty of warm words about the desire to ramp up new nuclear but lacked a clear plan as to how that will happen.”

“Security of nuclear fuel supply and the development and preservation of nuclear skills are essential to our future energy security but were sadly absent from the proposed bill. The bill must set out a plan to maintain sovereign capability in fuel, through the protection of the UK’s only nuclear fuel producer Springfields, and ensure we are giving people the skills we need to power our energy secure future.

“The suggestion of increasing competition in electricity networks, may have unintended consequences and serve as a distraction from reaching Net Zero. We will urgently trying to clarify what the government intends.”

TUSNE Spring Newsletter

14th April 2022

TUSNE is proud to present its spring newsletter.

Click here to view the newsletter.

Energy plan looks like just another 'Boris promise'

11th April 2022


The Government’s energy strategy looks like just another ‘Boris promise’, GMB’s General Secretary will tell members at Hinkley Point C today.

Click the arrow on the right to read more.

Gary Smith is visiting the site of the new nuclear reactor, in Somerset, to meet GMB’s thousands of members working on the project. 

Hinkley Point C has already created more than 10,000 jobs since and is estimated to create a further 70,000. 

Gary Smith, GMB General Secretary, said: 

“Nuclear is critical to our energy future and GMB has long told Ministers there can be no net zero without new nuclear. 

“But, it’s 24 hours since the Prime Minister was here at Hinkley Point C and the questions over this so-called energy plan won’t go away. 

“Dangling the carrot of a new fleet of reactors and SMR’s may grab headlines today, but without a hard and fast timetable for construction, internal Tory party squabbles could still kick things into the long grass. 

“Offshore wind could provide a huge number of clean energy jobs here at home, but current practice is for UK projects to ship them overseas, leaving the nation open to ransom by despotic regimes. 

“It’s already looking like this plan could be just another Boris promise – here today, gone tomorrow. 

“The government has to get on with it, secure the UK’s energy future, and make sure the next generation doesn’t face the same crushing cost of living crisis.” 

TUSNE Responds to the Energy Security Strategy

7th April 2022

Responding to the release of the UK Government's energy security strategy, Jim Mowatt, chair of Trade Unionists for Safe Nuclear Energy (TUSNE) said:

Click the arrow on the right to read more.

“TUSNE welcomes the ambition shown within the energy security strategy. Nuclear is the lowest carbon form of electricity, providing firm power to complement variable renewables. Sourcing 25% of our electricity from nuclear will go a long way to ensuring the UK’s long term energy security and net zero ambition, and the strategy meets TUSNE’s goal of a strong nuclear component within a balanced energy mix.

“However, the strategy needs to be met by a concrete plan of actions. The government should commit the right level of funding to build a fleet of nuclear reactors and make its strategy a reality.

“The government must also act to protect and develop the British nuclear supply chain. Particularly, retention of skills and expertise at the UK’s only nuclear fuel manufacturer, Springfields Fuels, must be a key priority.

“Trade Union members stand ready to support the new nuclear renaissance, but the resulting jobs must be high quality union ones that support the UK industry and do not syphon money off to boost offshore profits.

“The time for talking is over, now is the time for doing. As TUSNE has always said, no new nuclear means no net zero, and TUSNE will be working to ensure Government has the will to turn the strategy into reality.”

Serious questions over lack of UK jobs in energy strategy

7th April 2022


GMB, the energy union, has responded to the Government’s energy strategy announcement today. 

Click the arrow on the right to read more.

Gary Smith, GMB General Secretary, said:

“Looking beyond the ‘aims’ and ‘ambitions’ of this plan, there are serious questions about the worrying lack of specific commitments on UK jobs.

“Lofty promises of tens of thousands of jobs in offshore wind just don’t stack up when the UK continues to award vital new projects to companies based in authoritarian regimes.

“The UK should be building this energy future, not surrendering it to other nations.

“At least the government has finally woken up to what GMB has been saying for years: new reactors are the only way we can secure the UK's energy security and there can be no net zero without new nuclear.

“We need clarity on the new reactors, SMRs and their supply chains, so that jobs are created at home and not shipped overseas.

“After years of dither and delay, it’s time to get on with it and put spades in the ground.”

Energy Strategy is big on ambition but we need a concrete plan and funding to back it up

7th April 2022


The government has published its long-awaited Energy Security Strategy with ambitious targets for new nuclear and commitments to clean energy.

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The commitment to new nuclear, essential for net zero, in particular will be welcomed by Prospect members in the sector but there is very little detail or a concrete funding package to back up the ambition.

Sue Ferns, Senior Deputy General Secretary of Prospect union, said:

“This energy strategy is big on ambition and if matched with a concrete plan of action and funding from government will go a long way to providing the long-term energy security the UK needs. We are yet to see that concrete plan however and it must not be allowed to slip.

“Direct investment in new nuclear will be hugely welcome – we now need direct government support for Sizewell C, Wylfa and any other projects that can be set in motion. We have talked about this for too long and must commit fully with the cash and legislation to back it up.

“Sadly we heard very little about the nuclear supply chain, which is just as important as a nuclear build programme in powering a secure, net zero future for British energy. The Government must act now to retain key skills and expertise at the UK’s only nuclear fuel manufacturer, Springfields Fuels. We cannot be in a position of relying on foreign imports for UK reactors.

“Increased investment in renewables is also very welcome, providing that there is a requirement for greater UK content that creates and sustains high quality jobs, including in the supply chain.”

Unite says energy strategy must guarantee UK jobs – and calls for more action on punishing fuel costs

7th April 2022


Click the arrow on the right to read more.

With the long-delayed energy strategy now revealed (Thursday), the country’s leading energy union is demanding that the government supports and creates UK jobs across a balanced energy supply – and warns that the strategy is no fix for rocketing energy costs.

Unite is calling on the government to use the strategy to impose procurement rules that will guarantee that UK companies and workers will be first in line for taxpayers’ money to expand and diversify the energy supply, and that employers awarded contracts will be required to respect the high employment standards of the UK sector or be denied a contract.

The union, which has called for a targeted windfall tax to assist struggling homeowners with punishing bills, and has established a commission on profiteering to look at energy sector profits, is also calling for the failures of energy market regulation to be addressed, which it regards as unfit for the present day ‘cartel’ of suppliers.

Sharon Graham, Unite general secretary said: “It has taken a war and a global crisis to get this government to act on the long-standing and vitally important issue of meeting the energy needs of the country and the planet. This is something we have been pushing for years.

“Now we have promises of investment and new jobs. But the devil will be in the detail. Government investment must be tied to UK job guarantees and not be syphoned off to boost offshore profits. There can be no further delays on delivering the new jobs and they must be union jobs, covered by collective bargaining, good pay, terms and conditions.

“And let’s not pretend that this strategy is enough to fix the pain inflicted upon workers and households right now by the UK’s punishing energy costs. Energy producers are making more cash than they know what to do with. A targeted windfall tax could get cash directly into the pockets of the people in this country who are facing the terrifying dilemma of heat or eat.”

Unite national officer for the energy sector Simon Coop added: “Unite has been demanding investment in these industries for years – but we are yet to be convinced that the government possesses the ambition needed to become energy self-sufficient.

“Our members are more than ready to support the jobs of today and create the ones of tomorrow but these must be quality jobs with no lowering of the good employment standards that we have worked to establish across this industry.

“The government must also address the energy market failure which has resulted in a cartel of a handful of suppliers, the public picking up the cost of collapsing suppliers and a raw deal for consumers.”

Supporting members at Hinkley Point C

7th April 2022


Ben Middleton (National Secretary) Louise Staniforth and Chris Perry (Organisers) spent valuable time with reps Bobby Carson and Phil Back at Hinkley Point C on 31st March.

Click the arrow on the right to read more.

This is one of the many site visits we’re undertaking over the year across EDF, with key objectives to support and grow our rep base, plus strengthen the overall branch membership.

Where possible, we’ll be offering rep training in person with a potential date of mid-May set for HPC and encourage new reps or anyone interested in becoming active to attend. We promise to make it enjoyable!

We’ll also be working with reps to look specifically at recruiting increased numbers of embedded contractors and staff at HPC now that the project is progressing into the MEH phase and the simulator building approaches formal opening with an increase in training of what will be the station operational staff.

Colleagues can and should join the union, so having these conversations is essential. Once we have confirmed dates for training and site visits, we’ll publish them and welcome member support.

Energy strategy must have deliverable framework for new nuclear not just ambitious goals

4th April 2022


It has been reported that the government’s long-awaited energy strategy is to be published soon with an emphasis on building more nuclear power and more offshore wind.

Click the arrow on the right to read more.

The government is said to wish to push ahead with a new power station at Wylfa as well as Sizewell C, and five more large-scale power stations and additional Small Modular Reactors.

Sue Ferns, Senior Deputy General Secretary of Prospect, said:

“The government is rightly emphasising the importance of new nuclear, promising significant backing in the forthcoming energy strategy and potentially seven new power stations. But we have been here before with a lot of talk but without the financial commitments needed to finally get moving.

“The energy strategy when it comes must provide not only ambitious goals but a framework for actually delivering them. The establishment of “Great British Nuclear” and direct investment would be a start but it also needs to look closely at the supply chain and how spending on new nuclear can provide jobs and skills in the UK.

“In particular, by supporting the at-risk Springfields Nuclear Fuels we can ensure sovereign capability in fuel production protecting vital jobs in the North West.”

UK a step closer to net-zero with new nuclear energy funding

1st April 2022


GMB, the energy union, has welcomed the new nuclear funding model receiving royal assent today (Friday) – guaranteeing a new phase of nuclear for the UK. 

Click the arrow on the right to read more.

The Nuclear Energy (Financing) Act paths the way for a Regulated Asset Base (RAB) funding model for new nuclear plants – a key step in ensuring that projects can be delivered in a timely and affordable manner. 

Nuclear energy is vital to the UK achieving its net zero targets. Nuclear is a safe, secure and reliable baseload energy supply that compliments renewable energy such as wind and solar power. The RAB model brings us one step closer to realising the benefits of new nuclear plants such as Sizewell C. 

GMB have been at the heart of pushing this legislation forward including giving evidence to the public bill evidence committee. 

As well as being vital to hit net zero it is estimated that, if the project goes ahead, Sizewell C will create 233,000 full-time equivalent job years over the lifetime of the project and help safeguard the jobs of the estimated 61,000 people who work in the nuclear industry. 

Sizewell C will employ close to 24,000 people directly and indirectly in its supply chain during construction, double the peak achieved during the construction for the London 2012 Olympics. GMB is calling on the Government to secure the development of other stalled projects, such as Wylfa Newydd, and investment in Small Modular Reactors. 

Charlotte Childs, GMB National Officer, said: 

“This is welcome news - we have long been saying that if this Government is serious about reaching net-zero then we must invest in projects like Sizewell C. 

“Wind and solar power need to be underpinned by a reliable and scalable baseload power supply that can only be delivered by nuclear. And with energy bills reaching record highs, investing in reliable homegrown energy production is vital. 

“Our environment, our economy and our communities need Ministers and MPs to back new nuclear. Our economic future and net zero targets depend on it. 

“Ministers must now commit to Wylfa and other new reactors - including a series of SMRs in Moorside, Dungeness and beyond. 

“And we urgently need a new National Policy Statement on new nuclear before the existing one expires at end of 2025.”

Spreading the Prospect magic at EDF’s Sizewell B

28th March 2022


Prospect organiser Louise Staniforth writes about her visit, together with our full-time rep Trevor Sperring, to EDF’s Sizewell B power station on the Suffolk Coast in early March.

Click the arrow on the right to read more.

It was great to finally get to out and about and speak to members and non-members in person at a station we’ve been unable to get to since pandemic. The value for both us and them was clear.

We helped a few members with some live issues and also got a new rep. Reps are crucial to our collective and personal case success and we are always keen to grow our rep base. Get in touch if you are interested.

The positive engagement extended to future events on site, with support from Robert Gunn, the station director, who dropped by for a chat.

We talked about future visits and potential collaboration with the onsite Mental Health First Aiders. Looking after our members is what it is all about.

What we noticed is that members don’t fully use the support or benefits available to them, so our presence there was a good reminder.

You may not always see us… But we are always there for members.

This is a shout out for members to make sure they get in touch with their local rep or check out the Member Guides on the Prospect website, as there’s a lot of supportive information to help.

In addition, through helping members we are able to demonstrate the value of membership, so this message was taken back to be shared among colleagues on site.

It’s been a challenging time with so many changes over the last two years, so being a union member is key.

Next, I’ll be off to Hinkley Point C on 31 March, with my fellow organiser Chris Perry and national secretary Ben Middleton to speak to our members there.

If you’ve colleagues at any EDF location, we hope to get out to you soon. In the meantime, use your membership, take advantage of benefits, and speak to colleagues about joining.

Govt taking stake in Sizwell C 'welcome'

27th March 2022


GMB, the energy union, has welcomed Government plans to take a 20 per cent stake in the Sizewell C nuclear power station in Suffolk.

Click the arrow on the right to read more.

Charlotte Childs, GMB National Officer, said:

“GMB welcomes this move, which will help safeguard the UK’s energy future and is the next step on the road to net zero.

“But this should be the start, not the end of investment in new nuclear. 

“Ministers must now commit to Wylfa and other new reactors - including a series of SMRs in Moorside, Dungeness and beyond.

“We urgently need a new National Policy Statement on new nuclear before the existing one expires at end of 2025.’"

Nuclear fusion breakthrough at UK Atomic Energy Authority

21st March 2022


It is being reported that he Prime Minister is to host a summit with nuclear industry leaders today (Monday 21 March) in light of the current energy crisis, and threat to energy security.

Click the arrow on the right to read more.

It is thought that options being looked at will include accelerating the programme for Sizewell C, another at Wylfa in Wales as well as potentially extending the life of some of the current nuclear fleet and pushing on with building some SMRs.

Sue Ferns, Senior Deputy General Secretary of Prospect union, responding to reports the government is hosting a summit with nuclear industry leaders, said:

“The Prime Minister is right to be pushing hard for more new nuclear – a significant expansion of nuclear can guarantee UK energy security, insulate us from price shocks and guarantee high quality jobs.

“Nuclear power is the perfect adjunct to renewables, providing reliable firm power at times when renewables are not generating.

“Priorities for today’s round table must be getting moving on Sizewell C and Wylfa, extending the life of the current fleet subject to inspection, and putting the conditions in place for further expansion.

“Energy security and levelling up also has to be about the supply chain. The government can further boost both, and maximise the benefit of investment, by stepping in to immediately protect fuel production at Springfields Nuclear Fuels.

“The industry’s trade unions have a long track record of working constructively with government and employers to support nuclear and should play a full part in follow up discussions after today’s round table”.

Shadow Chancellor meets GMB members at hydrogen house

18th March 2022


Shadow Chancellor Rachel Reeves met GMB member as she visits the Northern Gas Network’s model hydrogen house in Gateshead to discuss energy security and the cost of living crisis.    

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Rachel Reeves MP will travel by hydrogen bus to a Northern Gas Network model ‘hydrogen house’, where she will fry an egg on a hydrogen-powered stove. 

GMB has long called for more investment in hydrogen fuels, which could use the existing gas network, protecting well paid, unionised gas jobs and save the planet. 

Chris Jukes, GMB Senior Organiser, said: 

“This Government’s lack of any kind of coherent energy strategy has left us in the grip of a cost-of-living crisis so gruesome millions of workers can’t afford to put the heating on. 

“The systematic dismantling of the UK’s gas storage capacity has left households at the mercy of global markets and despotic regimes. 

“Hydrogen fuels offer a genuine hope for the future - a chance to safeguard jobs and industry whilst reducing our carbon footprint.  

“We can protect the existing gas infrastructures while protecting well paid, unionised gas jobs here in the North East. 

“Hydrogen is crucial to meeting our net zero targets and crucial for ensuring a proper transition for gas workers.” 

Rachel Reeves MP, Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer, said: 

“Energy prices and the cost of living crisis has been spiralling since September, but the Conservatives are failing to act.   

“All the Chancellor is offering is a buy now, pay later loan on soaring energy bills – and their unfair National Insurance hike will make things even worse. 

“Not only that but we’re seeing no movement for the government on boosting our energy security.  

“We’re uniquely exposed to the global gas crisis, because of a decade of dither and delay from the Conservatives. They’ve failed to meet the vast potential of British renewable and nuclear energy, failed to make more homes warm and well-insulated, and failed to properly regulate our energy market, leading to dozens of energy companies going bust. 

“Hydrogen has a crucial role to play in heating homes, powering industry and creating good jobs here in the UK. The government needs to be more ambitious with its targets and trials to help grow this key sector and meet our energy needs in a lower carbon world. 

“The fact that the North East is going to be hit harder once again underlines how it’s all talk and no action on levelling up from this government. 

“Businesses and the economy in the North East are crucial to our economic recovery – this is not the time to put yet another burden on them. 

“It’s time to get a grip. The Chancellor must halt the National Insurance hike before it’s too late, and look again at a one-off windfall tax on North Sea oil and gas producer profits to cut home energy bills by up to £600.” 

MPs call for fleets of large and small reactors to supercharge new nuclear

17th March 2022


At least 15 GW of nuclear is essential by 2035 to strengthening energy security says Nuclear APPG

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As Britain looks for ways to strengthen its energy security and wean itself off imported gas the Nuclear APPG has outlined five steps for government to kickstart the UK’s nuclear revival.

The Prime Minister, this week, outlined his intention to make a ‘series of big new bets on nuclear’, highlighting the need for baseload energy – power that can be relied upon when the sun isn’t shining, or the wind isn’t blowing. Nuclear is clean, reliable and sovereign, and the APPG fully supports the government’s intention of including announcements on Small Modular Reactors and large power stations in its upcoming Energy Strategy.

The Nuclear APPG’s five points are:

Nuclear fusion breakthrough at UK Atomic Energy Authority

17th February 2022


You may have seen in the news last week, scientists at the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA) have announced some incredible results in the search for sustainable nuclear fusion energy.

We spoke to Prospect rep Toby James at UKAEA about the latest development. 

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What is nuclear fusion? 

Nuclear fusion is the process that powers the sun. Light elements, like hydrogen, are heated to super high temperatures and collide, fusing to form heavier elements. In doing so, energy is released. It would be a near-unlimited, low-carbon, safe energy source.  

Its relationship to traditional nuclear energy – fission – is really in name only. Both are attempting to get at the energy in the nuclei of atoms. But where fission focuses on splitting heavy atoms, fusion seeks to stick light elements together. The two are, in a sense, opposites.  

What’s the news?

JET – one of our reactors – has smashed its own 25-year-old world record for energy produced through nuclear fusion. 59 megajoules over five seconds – enough to boil about 60 kettles – may not seem like a lot, but this is a really significant result. 

For these experiments, JET has been set up similarly to a future, larger reactor – ITER – being built in France. Its success justifies design decisions taken in ITER’s construction and shows the promise in the path being taken. 

Why do we need this? 

Nuclear fusion would be a safe source of energy without the carbon footprint of fossil fuels. Its raw materials can be gathered from seawater, and it doesn’t produce long-term radioactive waste. So the obvious application is the climate crisis. And it would be immensely useful. But its real utility will come once we’ve sorted that out. 

Make no mistake: climate change is an existential threat. It has to be solved. And once it is, we will need to plot a path to a post-carbon future. A future where we don’t need to fall back onto dirty fossil fuels to generate energy. Fusion can be a huge part of this. 

What’s the significance to Prospect? 

Here at UKAEA, Prospect is our recognised trade union. These results are testament to the amazing work undertaken by all the staff here. They show the power of public sector science.  

We are not constrained by profit motive, and the freedom for innovation and creativity this affords us is invaluable. The public sector still leads science, and these JET results are only the latest in a long chain of amazing achievements.

Capacity auction prices show how energy security has been undermined

16th February 2022


Prospect has responded to today’s electricity capacity auction. The auction saw record high prices and a failure to attract enough interest to meet the capacity requirement set by government. 

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Sue Ferns, Prospect senior deputy general secretary, said:

“The record high prices in the latest Capacity Market auction are yet another sign of how our energy security has been undermined by a persistent failure to properly plan for when the wind doesn’t blow and the sun doesn’t shine.

“This is an urgent wake-up call to government to get on with the job of delivering a new fleet of nuclear reactors that can provide the always-on, low-carbon power we need to complement renewable energy.”

UK must follow France and become nuclear power leader, Says TUSNE

14th February 2022

President Macron reignites the French ‘nuclear adventure’ with €50 billion injection, whilst the UK continues to suffer from a lack of government ambition, TUSNE says.

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The UK pioneered nuclear energy, but it now risks being left behind as a second-tier player. Whilst successive UK governments have dithered and delayed, other countries have taken bold steps on their path to decarbonisation and long-term energy security.

At a speech on Thursday (10th Feb) outlining his plans for low carbon energy, President Macron announced that France will build at least six new nuclear plants, consider a further eight and also extend the life of existing plants to 50 years. The country will also invest in Small Modular Reactors, solar and wind.

This is exactly the kind of bold commitment that we at Trade Unionists for Safe Nuclear Energy (TUSNE) want to see the UK government make. We desperately need to replace our ageing nuclear stations if the UK has any chance of hitting net zero and stopping energy bills from skyrocketing even further. What’s more, as workers in nuclear communities up and down the country can attest, nuclear provides highly valued, quality jobs – exactly what the government should be aiming for when it talks about levelling up.

Had the UK invested in a nuclear fleet back in 2008 following the Labour government’s nuclear power white paper, we could now be reaping the benefits of multiple new nuclear stations, with yet more nearing completion. Instead, the piecemeal approach taken to date has resulted in only one station under construction and another proposed.

It’s painfully clear that Hinkley Point C and Sizewell C will not be enough to meet our climate ambitions, so TUSNE is calling on the government to re-invigorate new build in the UK. We need a fleet of stations, much like in France, where thanks to nuclear, they have some of the lowest carbon emissions and cheapest electricity in Europe. They’re the world’s largest net exporter of electricity and make over €3 billion per year from it.

Jim Mowatt, Chair of TUSNE, said: “Whilst President Macron hails the rebirth of France’s nuclear industry, the UK’s sector is stuck in the doldrums. The science is clear that net zero needs nuclear, and it needs a lot more than the single plant currently being built in the UK. 

“We need a fleet of reactors to provide a reliable, low carbon baseload to stabilise the grid, give us energy security, keep prices under control and level up areas across the country. Failure to act now will be a testament to the government’s lack of vision, and will severely undermine our ability to reach net zero.”

Energy price cap: Millions in fuel poverty while Chancellor announces sticking plaster

3rd February 2022


GMB has responded to the price cap rise and Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s subsequent announcement.  

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Andy Prendergast, GMB National Secretary, said: 

"As expected, today’s price cap rise will push millions of UK workers into fuel poverty. 

“Carers we clapped for will go without at the end of the month, public sector workers will be forced to choose between eating and heating and millions of working people on universal credit will be pushed to the brink. 

“The measures announced by the Chancellor are better than nothing – but they are a drop in the cost-of-living crisis ocean.  

“Ultimately, they are as sticking plaster on the gaping wound caused by the lack of any coherent, long term energy strategy. 

“We’ve dismantled our gas storage capacity, forced a regressive green poll tax on poorly paid workers , build our wind turbines on the other side of the world instead of here at home and left bill-payers to fork-out for failed energy company. 

“Energy is a basic need, not a luxury and until we have a grown-up debate on the how we meet and pay for the UK’s energy needs, tens of millions will continue to suffer.” 

This doesn’t fix our broken energy market and doesn’t do enough for the poorest

3rd February 2022


Prospect response to the energy price cap rise.

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Sue Ferns, Senior Deputy General Secretary of Prospect, responded to the measures:

“People will welcome anything that helps them with rocketing bills but this still does nothing to fix our broken energy market nor does it go far enough to help the poorest households. There is also a huge risk that these measures simply entrench higher bills for years to come.

“The energy market is fundamentally broken. It’s time to invest in new nuclear and renewables, take energy retail out of private hands and find a sustainable solution that works for consumers.”

Energy cap rise is a cost-of-living ‘catastrophe’ for ordinary workers

3rd February 2022


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Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “The energy price cap rise will turn the cost-of-living crisis into a catastrophe for millions of people. This will plunge at least one in four families in Britain into fuel poverty.

"The policy announced today to provide loans to energy companies to reduce bills, in the short term, is yet another knee-jerk reaction. It fails to address the calamitous increases coming in customer bills and ultimately means ordinary families will foot the bill for an energy crisis not of their making.

“Given that taxpayers' money is paying for the bail-out, these loans must come with substantial strings attached, including guarantees that jobs will not be lost. Otherwise, they will just vanish into big corporate energy balance sheets.

“Without government investment in sustainable domestic sources, such as new nuclear and renewables, the UK public, as well as the economy, will continue to be at the mercy of unstable energy markets.”


3rd February 2022


Balancing an unstable grid with gas cost almost £100 per household in 2021

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The cost of balancing the UK power grid rose by 48% year-on-year in 2021 to £2.65 billion, making it the most expensive year on record, according to data from the National Grid Electricity Systems Operator (ESO) analysed by the Nuclear Industry Association (NIA). The costs are equivalent to every UK household paying an extra £95, as the ESO says that they “are ultimately borne by consumers.”

The energy crisis beginning in September meant costs spiralled to £1.43 billion over just the final four months of the year, ESO data shows. This is the consequence of the UK relying on imported gas to fill the gaps in electricity generation when output from other sources is lower. Spot prices for gas-fired electricity have hit £5000/MWh during the crisis.

Nuclear, by contrast, has been a cheap and reliable generator throughout the crisis, providing electricity at just £45/MWh.

Nuclear reduces balancing costs because its output is stable and predictable day-to-day, in contrast to gas-fired power. The Government estimates building a new nuclear power station would cost less than £1 per month for consumers and would cut costs by £30 billion in the long-term, per power station. New stations, enabled by the Regulated Asset Base (RAB) financing bill, would cut the UK’s need for expensive fossil fuels to cover gaps in generation, and provide a backbone of firm, clean power.

The balancing mechanism is one of the main tools used by National Grid ESO to balance supply and demand in real-time. The mechanism is needed because electricity cannot be stored and must be generated at the time of demand.

Tom Greatrex, Chief Executive of the Nuclear Industry Association, said:

“The eye watering sums UK consumers will spend to prop up an unstable grid is the price of not investing in nuclear power. We urgently need to get the ball rolling with large-scale stations and a fleet of Small Modular Reactors to provide stable, predictable, clean power and to avoid these costly fossil-fuel induced crises in the future.”

Scotland must bid for Rolls Royce jobs

2nd February 2022


Scotland must bid for the jobs and funding available as Rolls Royce builds a new fleet of small modular reactors, GMB Union says.  

Click the arrow on the right to read more.

In a letter to the Energy Minister Michael Matheson MSP, the union says the Scottish Government’s opposition to nuclear power is ‘leaving Scotland’s workers behind’. 

Rolls Royce has written to several of England’s regional development bodies and the Welsh government asking them to pitch for the manufacturing site, promising investment of up to £200 million and the creation of up to 200 direct jobs. 

Scotland must make a bid for these valuable jobs and funding, GMB union says. 

Drew Duffy, GMB Senior Organiser, said: 

“Nuclear workers and GMB members across Scotland are in danger of once again being left behind due to the Scottish Government’s continued opposition to nuclear power. 

“EDF sites at Hunterston and Torness have skilled workforces who now face their lives being uprooted as their jobs move to the rest of the UK where new nuclear opportunities are being seized. 

"This is not about party politics; this is about protecting the jobs and incomes of Scottish workers, meeting Scotland’s energy needs and achieving net zero through a real just transition. 

"The Scottish Government needs to outline if it's opposed to these jobs being in Scotland. If not, then they must begin immediate discussions with Rolls Royce to bid for the factory and the jobs it will bring." 

UK Nuclear stations make colossal £100 billion carbon saving

27th January 2022


AGRs plus Sizewell B are the cheapest and most productive low-carbon assets in British history

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The UK’s existing nuclear stations have saved £110 billion worth of carbon at current prices, according to new analysis by the Nuclear Industry Association. The figure is based on the 1.4 billion tonnes of CO2 emissions saved by the AGR stations and Sizewell B, making them the greenest assets in British history.

The emissions saving is worth £110 billion at today’s carbon price of £78.86 per tonne. As the UK heads towards net zero the carbon price is only projected to rise steadily.

Nuclear is also currently the cheapest source of energy on the market with the stations providing electricity at £45/MWh. This at a time when spot prices for gas-fired electricity have hit £4000/MWh.

Commenting on the analysis, Tom Greatrex, Chief Executive of the Nuclear Industry Association said,

“Nuclear power is making an enormous contribution to society, saving us emissions and money. But we can only sustain this contribution if we build new nuclear power stations that will provide the firm, low-carbon power we need for net zero. The UK needs nuclear, not foreign gas, to be the backbone of our energy system.”

Sizewell: New funding welcome but government must 'release handbrake'

27th January 2022


Unite the union, which represents workers throughout the construction and energy sectors, has cautiously welcomed the government’s announcement today (27 January) that it will provide further funding to build a new nuclear power station at Sizewell in Suffolk. 

Click the arrow on the right to read more.

The government has announced that it will provide £100 million of funding to the energy company EDF to help finance the development of the project, in return for the government receiving certain ownership rights.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “This is a step forward but the government needs to take the handbrake off when it comes to the development of new nuclear power stations. The government needs to sit down with EDF now, not later in the year, and agree a funding model that allows Sizewell to start without any further delay. If such a funding model requires government support, then it should be given.

“Any further delay in bringing forward the final decision on building Sizewell will be disastrous, as the vital skills that have been learned and developed at Hinkley Point, could be lost and fail to transfer to the new project.”

“Sizewell will create tens thousands of jobs both on site and in the supply chain. Delays could see these jobs lost to overseas competitors. Nuclear construction workers need a clear on site date, as do EDF consumers and the country as a whole. Why is it the government are unable to see or understand this?”

Unite believes that the government’s cautious and timid approach will not secure energy security for the UK, create a genuinely balanced energy policy or ensure we meet our climate change targets. The UK’s nuclear energy policy needs to be far more ambitious. It is not sufficient that Sizewell is the only new nuclear power station on the drawing board. A new fleet of nuclear power stations is imperative.

Prospect welcomes governmnent funding for Sizewell C

27th January 2022


Prospect has responded to news that the government will be committing £100m of funding for Sizewell C. 

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Sue Ferns, Prospect senior deputy general secretary said:

“This support for Sizewell C from the government is welcome. The recent spike in gas prices has illustrated the UK’s need for the development of new nuclear to make sure that we have a diverse mix of low carbon electricity sources in future.

“Experts at the Energy Systems Catapult have shown that the UK needs 10GWe of new nuclear power after Hinkley Point C.

“The government now need to get on and do the deal to get Sizewell built, and then commit to rolling out a whole generation of new nuclear reactors beyond that to deliver this.”

NIA welcomes government funding to support Sizewell C

27th January 2022


Click the arrow on the right to read more.

In reaction to the £100 million Government funding put forward to support the continued development of the Sizewell C nuclear project in Suffolk, Tom Greatrex, Chief Executive of the Nuclear Industry Association said,

“This is another big step forward for Sizewell C and a big vote of confidence in nuclear. It sends a clear signal from government to investors that it sees projects like Sizewell C as essential to our clean energy transition.

“Investment in new nuclear capacity is essential to us hitting net zero to ensure a solid foundation of reliable low-carbon power which will strengthen our energy security. This is not only an investment in the UK’s green energy future but also in jobs and skills right across the country.”

Sizewell C funding 'huge stride forwards towards low carbon'

26th January 2022


GMB, the energy union, has welcomed the £100 million Government funding pledged to support the continued development of the Sizewell C project in Suffolk.  

Click the arrow on the right to read more.

Charlotte Childs, GMB National Officer, said: 

“This is much needed and welcome news and a massive huge stride towards a low carbon UK. 

“We face an unprecedented energy crisis and we need nuclear projects like Sizewell C to protect consumers, workers and our planet. 

"GMB has worked closely with EDF throughout the development of Sizewell and look forward to the more detail discussions needed to shape industrial relations in the future. 

"Net zero needs new nuclear and we are proud GMB members will be part of the team that brings low carbon energy to the UK." 

Rolls-Royce nuclear reactor fleet 'massive step forward in cutting UK carbon'

25th January 2022


GMB Union has welcomed an announcement by Rolls Royce the company is to build a new fleet of small modular reactors. 

Click the arrow on the right to read more.

The company has written to several of England’s regional development bodies and the Welsh government asking them to pitch for the manufacturing site, promising investment of up to £200 million and the creation of up to 200 direct jobs.  

Andy Prendergast, GMB National Secretary, said: 

“This new fleet of small modular reactors is fantastic news for workers, energy users and the planet. 

“Everyone in the energy business knows there can be no net zero without new nuclear.  

“This is a massive step forward in cutting UK carbon. 

"GMB members in the nuclear industry have been providing low carbon energy for more than sixty years. 

“If politicians are serious about climate change - and a green economic recovery – we need to get spades in the ground for many more nuclear projects, both big and small, built right here in the UK.” 


14th January 2022


IEA report shows reliance on gas is a threat to UK energy security  

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Carbon emissions from the UK electricity sector jumped by a fifth in 2021, the first rise in almost a decade, according to a new report by the International Energy Agency. The increase is due to a 17% rise in gas-fired electricity supply, driven, in part, by a drop in renewable generation, the IEA says.

The UK’s costly reliance on gas to stabilise the grid is also detailed by the IEA, with average day-ahead prices increasing from between £35 and £58 per MWh for the period from 2015 to 2020, to £67/MWh to £226/MWh for April to December 2021.

The IEA’s findings support the Nuclear Industry Association’s own analysis of National Grid ESO data, which shows there was no improvement in year-on-year grid decarbonisation in 2021. There were also no coal-free burning months last year compared to three in 2020.

The IEA’s report is published on a day when Britain is once again relying on coal for its electricity needs with gas making up over 60% of the power mix, resulting in a carbon intensity close to 400g CO2/kWh.

The UK’s nuclear fleet remains the cheapest and most reliable source of clean power generation, although all but one of the existing stations is due to retire by 2028. According to the CCC, this will reduce the UK’s clean power capacity by 30%, without new investment.

In response to the IEA’s report, Tom Greatrex, Chief Executive of the Nuclear Industry Association said,

“The UK’s reliance on expensive imported gas means higher emissions, higher bills, and constant threats to our energy security.  The only way to protect our energy security, and guarantee an affordable and sustainable system, is to invest in new nuclear capacity, in both large and small-scale projects.”

Unite warns of ‘jobs catastrophe’ in energy sector if government does not intervene in energy crisis

11th January 2022


“Tens of thousands” of jobs at stake if government does not act.   

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Unite general secretary, Sharon Graham, says the debate on soaring energy prices has, until now, ignored ‘the coming jobs crisis’.

During 2021 more than 30 energy firms went bust and with that 100s of jobs were lost. However, research by Unite, the UK’s leading union, suggests that, as the energy crisis escalates this year, jobs losses in the sector will rise exponentially.

There has been considerable debate about the continuing rising costs of energy. In 2021 wholesale gas prices rose by 133 per cent and wholesale electricity prices by 111 per cent (source Ofgem).

Unite general secretary, Sharon Graham, says “Until now, much has been said about the rising costs of energy and the cost of living crisis that it is going to create for household budgets this year. Rightly so. But to date not much has been said about the jobs catastrophe that is coming with the crisis.”

Unite estimates that in the next six months some leading energy firms are contemplating drastic job cuts combined with additional wage cuts and attacks on terms and conditions, like pension payments.

Sharon Graham says “Our intelligence suggests that if the government does not intervene in the energy crisis then tens of thousands of jobs could go before the summer. We know of one energy provider that is due to announce job cuts in its workforce of 20 per cent. And there are many more lining up behind them.”

In Unite’s analysis there is likely to be what might be called ‘vicious circles’ of crisis. The rise in energy prices is forcing energy companies to the wall with consequent job losses. But high fuel prices also affect big energy consumers like the steel industry, pharmaceuticals, and so on. So there will be a domino effect as energy sector price rises affect not just consumers but industry as well. So there could be a spiralling of “tens of thousands” of job losses.

Sharon Graham says “Just how long is the government going to be a spectator in this coming jobs crisis? We need the government to intervene with a support programme to save jobs for the industry, and we need it now. We refuse to let workers carry the can for a crisis which is not of their making.”

Unite is strongly critical of the total lack of government consultation with trade unions on the crisis to date. Unite believes any support programme for the industry has to be introduced with stringent assessments of business circumstances, including past profits and dividend payments, before any government loans or grants are made.

Today (Tuesday 11 January 2022 ) Unite’s national committee for the energy sector also called for the introduction of an emergency jobs protection programme, including short-time working schemes on the lines of the German ‘Kuzarbeit’ programme. The Kuzarbeit scheme supports workers who are on a reduced working week by supplementing their wages which allows them to stay in work.

Unite’s national officer for energy, Simon Coop, said “It is time for a national jobs protection programme to prevent a jobs catastrophe. The UK needs a short-time working scheme like other countries have. Of course, in the long term, the UK must create a balanced energy policy which, includes wind, solar, hydro, gas, clean coal and nuclear to lower energy bills in the future for all. But in this current crisis we need a significant financial package to fund a job protection scheme.”

Funding for new nuclear moves closer after vote

10th January 2022


Legislation to help fund the UK’s stalled nuclear projects passed another stage to becoming made law tonight.     

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MPs voted to progress the Nuclear (Financing) Bill which now heads to the House of Lords for further scrutiny. 

The legislation will introduce a financing model which will enable work to progress on Sizewell C – potentially securing more than 25,000 jobs 

The model can be used to fund other conventional reactor proposals - such as Bradwell B, Wylfa Newydd and Moorside - as well as securing investment for Small Modular Reactors, potentially crucial for a strong, UK supply chain. 

Andy Pendergast, GMB National Secretary, said:  

“Today more progress has been made on sorting the funding mechanism for new nuclear after years of inaction. 

“With the closure of Hunterston B last week, and the threat to skilled jobs as the current fleet is phased out, the UK has gone from being a world leader in nuclear power to having to play catch up.  

“Nuclear plays a critical role in our energy infrastructure, creating and sustaining good jobs and meeting our net zero ambitions. With rising energy prices, it’s essential the sector is maintained and developed to keep the lights on in a way that is safe and dependable.” 

“Even with Sizewell C, the UK faces significant cut in terms of nuclear capacity.  

“Passing this legislation must be the first step in rebuilding and developing a new nuclear fleet.” 

GMB welcomes Labour energy plan and nuclear commitments

8th January 2022


Scandal that national renewables sector gets huge subsidies from UK billpayers, yet bulk of manufacturing work halfway around the globe, says GMB Union   

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GMB, the union for energy workers, welcomes today’s announcement by Rachel Reeves MP, Labour’s Shadow Chancellor, of ambitious plans to support the UK’s energy intensive industries as they suffer from rapidly escalating energy costs. 

The union also recognises the backing given to nuclear power, an essential provider of reliable, clean energy, and critical to our country achieving net-zero carbon emissions.    

Labour’s support package may help protect thousands of jobs currently at risk in companies throughout the UK and follows encouraging comments from Keir Starmer on the importance of developing a domestic hydrogen industry. 

Creating skilled jobs in industries that will power the nation’s future should be at the heart of Government policy, but the renewables sector is a warning to all about getting this wrong. 

Funded by huge subsidies from UK billpayers, the renewables sector sources the bulk of its fabrication and manufacturing work from overseas, often using countries such as China or yards in the Middle East, which are subsidised by huge oil and gas sovereign wealth funds.  

Long-term control over rising costs and security of our energy supply will only happen if there is a commitment to develop domestic industries that onshore the green manufacturing jobs currently offshored to the rest of the world, the union says. 

Gary Smith, GMB General Secretary, said:  

“Labour’s announcement is welcome news and may help protect thousands of jobs in energy intensive companies.   

“We will only get proper control over prices and security of energy supply if we create and support domestic industries that bring home green jobs - a move that would create skilled work for the people of our country.  

“If you want to tackle fuel poverty, a good start is creating well-paid, skilled jobs.   

“It is a national scandal that the renewables sector receives huge subsidies from UK billpayers, yet it is allowed to offshore the bulk of its manufacturing and fabrication work halfway around the globe.  

“Meanwhile we get the crumbs from our own table.  

“If we want to deliver climate justice and economic justice, we need to stop sending this essential work to authoritarian regimes and take responsibility for our energy needs and environmental responsibilities. 

“We must put in place a long-term plan for investment and jobs in the offshore oil and gas sector."  

TUSNE Autumn Newsletter

25th October 2021

Trade Unionists for Safe Nuclear Energy (TUSNE) has published its Autumn 2021 newsletter.

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The newsletter concentrates on the ongoing uncertain situations over the Springfields fuel facility, TUSNE's fringe event at Conservative Party Conference and a look ahead to COP26.

Click here or on the image to view the newsletter and read why we firmly believe that no nuclear = no net zero.

TUSNE at COnservative Conference

5th October 2021

TUSNE was proud to host a fringe event at this year's Conservative Party Conference.

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Held in conjunction with Bright Blue, the panel discussion focused on whether the UK can achieve net zero without nuclear.

Click the play button on the left to view a recording of the event, or alternatively click here.

TUSNE summer Newsletter

28th July 2021

Trade Unionists for Safe Nuclear Energy (TUSNE) has today published its Summer 2021 newsletter.

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The newsletter concentrates on the ongoing uncertain situations over the Springfields fuel facility and the government's support for new nuclear.

Click here or on the image to view the newsletter and read why we firmly believe that no nuclear = no net zero.

Nuclear Energy APPG Report: No New Nuclear Means No Net Zero

30th June 2021

TUSNE supports nuclear roadmap call for urgent Government action to protect jobs and secure climate goals

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We the workers in the UK’s nuclear industry and communities welcome the roadmap set out by the Nuclear All-Party Parliamentary Group. 


We need decisive action from the Government on the future of the nuclear industry. Our members are facing the prospect of stations closing, a widening of the skills gap and the huge worry that only one station from the current fleet will still be operating in less than a decade.  We want to see urgent action to enable station replacement that will provide firm, low carbon electricity for the nation. Without new stations the Climate Change Committee says the UK risks its 2050 net zero target.


We know the value of nuclear to our communities and to the environment. A good start would be to establish a financing model that encourages investors to begin construction before it’s too late and we miss our climate targets. For too long there has been delay which has resulted in real uncertainty, with plans for new stations at risk of becoming stagnated. The Prime Minister says he is committed to new nuclear, but we have yet to see any progress.


As an employee in the nuclear for many years Craig Marshall, Prospect representative at EDF, warns of the impact of uncertainty:


“As closure dates for our existing AGR fleet are being announced, it is massively important for staff to have certainty going forward combined with the ability to retain and develop nuclear skills within communities who have supported the nuclear family for many years.”


Our message is simple: new nuclear capacity is a great chance to drive down carbon emissions while at the same time levelling up regional economies that need a fiscal shot in the arm.  We, the nuclear workers, have enjoyed the benefits of the industry for decades and projects like Hinkley Point C is evidence of that.  Let’s take this opportunity to provide quality employment for tens of thousands of people for generations to come and a green future this country can be proud of.

Click here to view the full report.

TUSNE Spring Newsletter

25th March 2021

Trade Unionists for Safe Nuclear Energy (TUSNE) has today published its Spring 2021 newsletter, especially aimed at parliamentarians in the run up to COP26 this year.

Click here or on the image to view the newsletter and read why we firmly believe that no nuclear = no net zero.