A senior engineer has warned that the deal made between France and the UK may favour French firms. DECC said the deal made in Paris today would bring jobs to the UK. Dr Tim Fox from the Institution of Mechanical Engineers thinks France may get the vast majority of contracts in the UK.
DECC announced £400m would be spent on a deal on nuclear reactors between Rolls Royce and Areva for the first EPR reactor at Hinkley Point, which would support 1,200 new jobs. A new engineering contract between EDF and Kier/BAM is also supposed to bring more jobs and a further £100m of investment.
However, Dr Tim Fox, Head of Energy at IMEC is concerned the agreements made today won’t necessarily create jobs for the British: “Although some relatively small contracts are to be awarded to Rolls Royce and BAM Kier, it looks increasingly likely that the vast majority of the contracts involved in the manufacture and construction of the new nuclear reactors at Hinkley Point and Sizewell will go to France rather than the UK. An outcome the Institution predicted in it’s Nuclear New Build report two years ago.
The summit’s agreements, pushed through today by David Cameron and Nicolas Sarkozy include furthering electricity interconnection between the UK and France and more co-operation on nuclear security.
Dr Fox added: “The construction of the nuclear power stations at Hinkley Point and Sizewell will directly and indirectly create about 10,000 jobs. The UK has the ability to undertake about 70% of the engineering and construction work of a new nuclear power plant. We must ensure that we do not miss out on an opportunity to develop UK industry, skills and jobs with the roll-out of the country’s new nuclear power stations.”
Ed Davey, the new Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change said the deal could create up to 30,000 jobs.