Sizewell C would create 25,000 jobs and provide a post-pandemic boost for the economy, said Unite.
Unite general secretary Len McCluskey has written to business secretary Alok Sharma to argue for the project, spearheaded by French energy giant EDF.
The union is supporting the company’s bid for a development consent order (DCO) from the Planning Inspectorate.
Unite – Britain’s largest union– sees the project as a major shot in the arm for much-needed jobs. The new nuclear power station could generate up to 25,000 jobs during construction and 1,000 apprenticeships, it said.
An estimated 2,500 businesses in the supply chain would also benefit. It would provide 900 operational jobs during the 60 years it is expected to be in service.
“As we come out of the coronavirus crisis it is important that we focus on the importance of delivering projects that will give a boost to the UK economy and build for a full and sustainable recovery,” said Mr McCluskey.
“We believe that the DCO would be an important first step towards the delivery of a flagship national infrastructure initiative that would combine a major boost to the economy and businesses with a recognition of the importance of tackling climate change.
“Unite recognises the importance of addressing the climate crisis, providing energy security and delivering a sustainable environment.”
Controversially, the union supports a “balanced” energy policy including a mix of renewables such as wind, solar, wave and tidal, along with nuclear, cleaner coal and gas generation, including Carbon Capture, Storage and Utilisation (CCSU).
“An expansion of new nuclear power – such as that proposed for Sizewell C - would help meet the objectives of reducing carbon emissions and securing energy supply, reducing the need for energy imports. It would also support the growth of renewables in the future,” said the Unite boss.
“The new station could learn valuable lessons from Hinkley Point C, of which it will be a near replica.
“Building Sizewell C would also support the predominantly British supply chain, retain valuable skills and expertise, and potentially support 25,000 skilled jobs, across 2,500 businesses.”