News


GAS DRIVES UP UK POWER EMISSIONS FOR FIRST TIME IN DECADE

14th January 2022

From niauk.org

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

From unitetheunion.org

“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

From gmb.org.uk

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

From gmb.org.uk

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.

Green Financing Framework: It’s time to give nuclear the recognition it deserves

6th July 2021


TUSNE Responds to the Government's Green Financing Framework

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After six decades of providing dependable low carbon electricity nuclear is overlooked by the Chancellor


When Calder Hall became the World’s first first industrial-scale nuclear power station in 1956 the UK has been provided with a constant supply of low carbon electricity that has been trusted to keep the nation’s lights on. Often providing 30% of our electricity, nuclear helped the UK gain a reputation as one of the global leaders in decarbonising its electricity supply.


We’re told the UK Government recognises an important role for nuclear reaching net zero by 2050. We know their policy is to build more large and small-scale nuclear reactors and we hear warm words from the Prime Minister in his Ten Point Plan. But nuclear’s sterling contribution has been overlooked yet again… this time by Chancellor Rishi Sunak.


TUSNE is bitterly disappointed and baffled by his decision to omit nuclear from his Green Financing Framework.


If the Prime Minister says there’s a ‘key role for nuclear in delivering deep decarbonisation of our electricity system’ and the Government has stated its intention to pursue further large-scale nuclear projects to achieve net-zero, why then has the Chancellor decided to exclude nuclear from the framework?


Regarded and respected as a world leader in climate change mitigation for so long, the rest of the world watches the UK’s decisions and actions with great interest. Ahead of COP26 surely this is a great opportunity to make a strong statement to the rest of the world that nuclear is a green, dependable, low-carbon sustainable technology and the UK is a global leader?


We accept that attracting investment to new nuclear has always been difficult. Those in the industry know that it has become even more so in recent years. Progress beyond Hinkley Point C has stalled to the verge of stagnation. Our fear is that the Chancellor’s snub will make it even more difficult to bring investors to projects beyond Hinkley Point C. The Climate Change Committee says there’ll be no net-zero without new nuclear. Our members are watching the existing stations start to drop off the grid one by one. Without replacements the carbon gap to net-zero will get wider and wider, while the clock ticks down inexorably to 2050.


Our request to Rishi Sunak is to reconsider his decision. Our message to him is to play fair with nuclear. Its clean, proven and dependable technology has given this nation great service for generations. It’s time to give the industry the recognition it rightly deserves!

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.

Global Nuclear Industry Open Letter:
Net Zero Needs Nuclear

14th May 2021

World risks losing significant amount of clean power without new nuclear investment

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The retirement of nuclear plants will represent “the single greatest loss of clean power in world history” without new investment, the global nuclear industry has warned in a letter to policymakers published today in advance of the IEA’s roadmap to net zero, expected next week.

The Canadian Nuclear Association, FORATOM, the Japan Atomic Industrial Forum, the Nuclear Energy Institute, the Nuclear Industry Association and the World Nuclear Association called on countries to accelerate nuclear investment immediately to avoid backsliding on decarbonisation.

The letter calls for:

  • Clear recognition of nuclear as a low-carbon, clean and sustainable technology

  • Equal access to climate finance for nuclear alongside other low-carbon energy sources

  • New nuclear plants to replace retiring fleets and maintain existing generation levels

  • Expansion of civil nuclear energy across the world to reach net zero, and inclusion of nuclear in individual countries’ emissions reduction plans

Without new projects, more than 100 GW of nuclear capacity will retire globally within 20 years. The United Kingdom, as an early pioneer of civil nuclear energy, will lose its existing capacity sooner than any other developed nation. Half of the current fleet will retire by March 2024, with the first station ceasing generation in eight months. All but one of the UK’s current stations will retire by 2030.

Supporting the letter, Peter McIntosh, Chair of TUSNE, said:

“With COP26 in Glasgow this year, it is more important than ever that global policy makers take up the fight against greenhouse gas emissions, and embrace nuclear energy as a vital part of that. We need to get a move on! Nuclear energy provides high quality, skilled, well paid and unionised jobs. It helps to ensure security of supply and can drive the post-Covid economic recovery. But most of all, it is a reliable, low carbon energy source. Without nuclear there can be no net zero – it’s as simple as that. It's proactivity we need, not procrastination! ”

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

“Nuclear is absolutely vital if we are to hit net zero as a planet. Nuclear delivers reliable clean power, new opportunities for industrial decarbonisation and good, well-paying jobs for a green economy. The retirements of existing stations right across the world mean we need to act today, or we will lose jobs and see higher emissions. We are calling on policymakers to make the right choices.”


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.


New TUSNE Website Launches

23rd March 2021

Welcome to the new website of Trade Unionists for Safe Nuclear Energy! TUSNE has been around for many years as a campaigning organisation of trade unions advocating for nuclear power as part of the UK's energy mix. You can learn more about us by clicking here and get in touch with us at info@tusne.org - we'd love to hear from you!