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In times of economic hardship it is difficult to resist the promise of jobs. Edf have claimed that building Sizewell C could create 25,000 jobs. This claim is extremely misleading. EDF expect that the average length of contracts for construction workers would be 1 year, and they calculated the number of jobs based on this.1 The 25,000 jobs are each for 1 year- if everyone worked for 2 years, the 25,000 is halved, 5 years and the figure is 5000 and so on. Using Edfs own figures, if the number of jobs is calculated from a persons normal working life of 45 years the number of jobs is equivalent to only 580 permanent jobs.

As the project moves through the stages of construction, groups of workers will be replaced by others from different trades. The short term nature of the employment (average 1 year) means that it would be unsuitable for young people wishing to develop a career in this industry sector, as training is usually done via apprenticeships which normally take 2-3 years. People will be expected to prepare for jobs which may last for less time than the training takes.

Edf expect that only 20% of the jobs will go to local people (based on the building of Hinkley C power station). According to the 2011 Leiston Town Appraisal only 4% of people responded nuclear when asked the question "if you are working into which category does your job fall? ". Roughly 31 workers. This 4% figure will also include some Sizewell A workers.

Short duration, capital intensive construction projects like that proposed at Sizewell C have been shown to seriously distort the local labour market. Often the bulk of those employed are from outside of the area. After the project is completed many migrant workers remain in the area compounding local employment problems. Even when an effort is made to hire local people the construction project can have a detrimental effect by competing with local firms for a limited number of skilled workers. In some cases where a local firm is already in difficulty, the higher wages offered on a large construction project can be the last straw. Evidence suggests that major construction projects in rural areas prevent the growth of employment in more stable industries, and increase unemployment over the longer term2.

Nuclear Compared With Other Power Generation

Every pound invested in nuclear jobs is a pound not invested in jobs in other sectors. Nuclear power produces fewer jobs per unit energy than any other form of electricity generation. Research shows that for every Tera Watt hour of energy produced from small scale wind energy 1,000 people per year will have been employed; however a Tera Watt hour of nuclear power only employs 75 people per year.3 This is because most of the costs for nuclear build go into the construction materials whereas the costs for wind come primarily from employing people.

If nuclear new build fails to go ahead then other energy sources would have to be found to meet our energy supply. The graphs below show the contrast between employment in nuclear and wind energy

Wind has been used because data for wind energy is readily available and the east coast already has a growing wind industry. We would expect that a large range of renewables and technologies such as combined heat and power (CHP) would be used in place of nuclear power.

This graph shows the expected jobs created by 16GWe of new build nuclear8. The employment peak is in about 2021 at 14,000 jobs with just under 6,000 permanent jobs being created at the end of the build.

Projections for employment in the wind energy show a very different profile with a gradual increase in employment: This in part reflects the large number of smaller units required for wind generation. As can be seen offshore wind alone could produce 23,000MWe of installed capacity and nearly 30,000 jobs by 20214.

The continued success of wind and marine energy is dependent on attracting skilled workers. There were around 10,000 people employed in these industries in 2010, and approximately 88,000 will be needed in wind and marine industries by 2021. This represents a huge opportunity to create UK jobs.

In addition to swallowing up investment that could go into renewable energy, Sizewell C could damage the existing tourist industry which relies on a reputation for a clean environment to attract business. The value of the tourist industry to Suffolk is currently estimated as 1.7billion and rising.

During the construction of Sizewell b the beach was turned into a massive building site. The large influx of workers to build the new reactor had a huge impact on Leiston. As one local campaigner said at a public meeting with DECC “during the construction of Sizewell B. Leiston became like the backend of the docks – people didn’t want to go to shops or pubs”

Quality of Jobs

There are important questions arising about the quality of construction jobs at nuclear sites. There are currently two reactors of the type proposed for Hinkley and Sizewell being built in Europe. One is at Flamanville in France and the other at Olkiluoto in Finland. Both have attracted severe criticism for carelessness over workplace rights and health and safety matters.

The calculations of the cost of new nuclear plants are based on the premise that the first site will cost more than the subsequent ones because lessons will be learned and experience will be gained through construction of the primary plant. A major factor in the delays at the nuclear power stations under construction at Flamanville and Olkiluoto has been due to a shortage of experienced subcontractors. Given this fact, it is highly likely that a considerable proportion of the Sizewell new build will go to specialized subcontractors currently working on these and similar projects.

A 2008 Greenpeace study of the Olkiluoto3 power station revealed that all significant subcontracts have been won by foreign companies and even in Olkiluoto itself, about a third of the workforce is Finnish and two thirds are foreigners. Polish and German workers account for 18 percent of the workforce, while 9 percent are expert welders from Croatia. A maximum of 25% of the investment in the plant stays in Finland.

Olkiluoto has been a complete disappointment for us. There have been fewer than 100 Finnish builders there. It is the view of our experts that huge amounts of cheap labour have been brought here from abroad to work inefficiently”, Said Kyösti Suokas, co-chairman of the Finnish Construction Union.5

In relation to Flamanville, Yannick Rousselet from Greenpeace France said ‘There are 18 different nationalities working there and most of the work is done by sub-contractors. This means there is no job security and the pay is poor. Workers get shipped in and shipped out and have none of the benefits of permanent work.’

He added: ‘People have been flooding into the area because they have heard that work is available but then they find there is nothing. This means that local unemployment has actually increased since construction at Flamanville began.'’6

Nuclear tends to rely on huge investment which has always come from large national programmes using taxpayer’s money. Such investments tend to be intermittent varying with changes in policy or political leadership.

2 French, M “The Impact of a Power Station on Gwynedd”. Gwynedd County Council Planning Office, September 1976. See Hanlon, J “Is Gwynedd a Developing Country?” New Scientist 4th May 1978

3The Case for Renewable Energies, José Goldemberg Instituto de Electronica e Energia Universidade de São Paulo (teenet.tei.or.th/Knowledge/Paper/case_for_​renewable.pdf

8Next Generation – Skills for New Build Nuclear, http://www.cogent-ssc.com/research/Publications/Renaissance2.pdf

5Concrete cover ups and others at nuclear construction site, Helsingin Sanomat, February 2010 http://www.hs.fi/english/article/Concrete+coverups+and+others+at+nuclear+construction+site/1135252583331

6Workers at Hinkley C nuclear power plant in for a raw deal, Stop Hinkley http://stopnewnuclear.org.uk/node/174