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Amicus to call for new nuclear generators

“With renewable energy sources several decades away from providing more than a tiny minority of our energy needs, we urgently need government policy to promote clean coal to save thousands of jobs and avoid blackouts and soaring utility bills over the next five years.”

Union chiefs will this week make an unprecedented call for new nuclear generators in the face of soaring energy costs, which they believe are threatening British jobs and industry.

The UK faces mounting fuel bills that could ultimately lead to blackouts, job losses and rising household bills, according to Derek Simpson, leader of Amicus, one of Britain’s biggest unions.

Mr Simpson will tell colleagues that urgent action is needed after successive governments have “shied away” from taking decisions on future supplies of energy.

Amicus officials will meet tomorrow to plan a campaign to educate the public about a growing energy crisis. Mr Simpson said: “The debate on the energy crisis is in limbo and we need urgent action or Britain will face the prospect of blackouts and soaring utility bills over the next five years.”

By calling for new nuclear power, Amicus will infuriate traditional left-wingers and environmentalists, who are already suspicious of the energy review ordered by Tony Blair in November. Many environmentalists believe that the review is a foregone conclusion and that the Prime Minister has already decided that nuclear power must play a part in providing the country’s future electricity needs.

Amicus is concerned that companies are increasingly citing high energy costs, rather than labour costs, as a reason for moving manufacturing overseas.

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Union chiefs will this week make an unprecedented call for new nuclear generators in the face of soaring energy costs, which they believe are threatening British jobs and industry.

The UK faces mounting fuel bills that could ultimately lead to blackouts, job losses and rising household bills, according to Derek Simpson, leader of Amicus, one of Britain’s biggest unions.

Mr Simpson will tell colleagues that urgent action is needed after successive governments have “shied away” from taking decisions on future supplies of energy.

Amicus officials will meet tomorrow to plan a campaign to educate the public about a growing energy crisis. Mr Simpson said: “The debate on the energy crisis is in limbo and we need urgent action or Britain will face the prospect of blackouts and soaring utility bills over the next five years.”

By calling for new nuclear power, Amicus will infuriate traditional left-wingers and environmentalists, who are already suspicious of the energy review ordered by Tony Blair in November. Many environmentalists believe that the review is a foregone conclusion and that the Prime Minister has already decided that nuclear power must play a part in providing the country’s future electricity needs.

Amicus is concerned that companies are increasingly citing high energy costs, rather than labour costs, as a reason for moving manufacturing overseas.

The Christmas stand-off over gas supplied by Russia to Ukraine, which affected some gas supplies to Europe, illustrated the vulnerability of many countries that rely on imports for their main energy sources.

After many years of being self-sufficient in coal, oil and gas, Britain has suddenly become a net importer of gas and will rely increasingly on overseas sources for its energy.

Mr Simpson said: “The nation’s energy needs will be hostage to politically unstable states unless the Government’s energy policy promotes clean coal technology and new nuclear power build.

“With renewable energy sources several decades away from providing more than a tiny minority of our energy needs, we urgently need government policy to promote clean coal to save thousands of jobs and avoid blackouts and soaring utility bills over the next five years.”

Support for new nuclear build brings Amicus into line with the employers’ organisation, the CBI. Sir Digby Jones, the Director-General of the CBI, said recently that energy prices were the “biggest immediate issue” facing British business”.

Sir Digby said: “What the civil servants have failed to realise is that many of these companies have production sites across Europe or across the world. They can choose to switch production away from Britain, and once it is gone it’s not likely to come back.”

The impact of higher wholesale prices has already been felt in energy-intensive industries such as chemicals, glass and ceramic manufacturing. Last year, the chemicals companies Ineos Chlor and Terra Nitrogen shut capacity in response to price rises in the late-November cold snap.

Forward wholesale prices for the coming year are 50 to 70 per cent higher than they were at this time last year. Prices increased by 40 to 50 per cent in 2005.



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JAN 16 2006
https://www.windaction.org/posts/1027-amicus-to-call-for-new-nuclear-generators
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