A leading environmental activist warned today that jobs at EDF Energy’s proposed nuclear power plant in Somerset would either be non-existent or ‘from the bottom of the barrel.’
Yannick Rousselet from Greenpeace France said the work situation at EDF Energy’s protoype EPR reactor at Flamanville in northern France was ‘shameful.’ He added that far from the secure, long-term jobs that local people had been promised, unemployment had risen in the area since construction began.
He said that two people had already died during construction and that most of the labour had come from outside the region. ‘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.’
Rousselet went on to say that the conditions at the camp where protesters are gathering for the mass blockade of Hinkley Point tomorrow morning were ‘far superior’ to those workers had to endure at Flamanville. ‘In fact, when we held an anti-nuclear demonstration at Flamanville, the workers supported us because they said the working conditions were so bad.’
Norfolk-based Mell Harrison from the Shut Sizewell campaign said the local community around the nuclear plant on the east coast also suffered severe disruption when the Sizewell B reactor was built. ‘There was a mass influx of temporary workers and serious problems associated with drugs and alcohol. The policing bill went up considerably,’ she said.
Rousselet travelled to the UK especially for the protest camp outside Hinkley Point. He also highlighted the budget over-runs and time-delays at Flamanville.
‘EDF claims that new nuclear is cleaner and safer but the truth is that there is too much focus on profit and not enough on safety. On top of all this, whatever safety mechanisms are put in place, you can never rule out human error.’
For more information about the blockade contact Camilla Berens on: 07811 451417
Photographs of the blockade will be available at: http://stopnewnuclear.org.uk