Published: 09:12, 09 June 2021
| Updated: 09:15, 09 June 2021
The GMB Union says it has been left "stunned" by the decision to begin the decommissioning of Dungeness B nuclear power station.
Earlier this week the site's owner, French energy firm EDF, confirmed it was to begin defuelling the plant.
EDF said since it last generated power, it had been "managing a range of unique, significant and ongoing technical challenges" not found at its other power stations. It added: "Although many have been overcome, new detailed analysis has further highlighted additional station-specific risks within some key components, including parts within the fuel assemblies."
John Benn, station director at Dungeness B, said the defuelling process was "a job we expect will take several years, and one that provides ongoing opportunities for our staff and their specialist skills".
But the GMB Union, which represents energy workers, has called for "certainty and security" for staff at the site.
Gary Carter, GMB national officer, said: “Although this might not have come out of the blue, GMB members at Dungeness have been stunned by the decision this week to move to defuelling.
“What is needed now is certainty and security for the workforce. These are dedicated workers who’ve built up years of knowledge and their skills need to be utilised if we’re going to hit net-zero by 2050.
“Today’s decision highlights that after 10 years of inaction from this Tory government - we still need nuclear to achieve net zero.
“It’s about time they stopped delaying and made a financial commitment to new nuclear and thousands of and well-paid skilled jobs.”
The government yesterday said the start of the defuelling phase at Dungeness B "will have no bearing on Britain’s energy supplies".