THE new Energy Minister Jesse Norman visited Hinkley Point and Cannington on Monday to reaffirm the importance of nuclear energy and benefits to education and jobs for the West Somerset area.

During the visit the minister toured the Hinkley Point B power station and the construction site for Hinkley Point C.

He also met apprentices and EDF Energy employees at both the Cannington Court training centre and the Construction Skills and Innovation Centre.

Mr Energy Minister, Jesse Norman said: “The visit to Hinkley Point C construction project has been fascinating.

“This project heralds a new era of nuclear power generation in the UK and coming here has given me a chance to see low-carbon energy driving local and national economic growth, attracting new businesses and creating high-skilled, well-paid jobs.

“These are all key goals of our new UK-wide industrial strategy.”

The proposed nuclear power station will provide 25,000 jobs and apprenticeships during construction, and 900 permanent jobs once up and running.

The government estimates 64 per cent of the £18bn cost of construction will go to UK businesses and provide a £40 million boost to the local economy.

Humphrey Cadoux-Hudson, EDF Energy’s nuclear new build managing director, said: “The UK government has placed its trust in us to deliver Hinkley Point C on time and on budget and this visit is an opportunity to show the Minister the significant progress we have made. 

“We now have more than 1,000 workers on site, carrying out earthworks, building staff accommodation and constructing the jetty which will allow us to bring in many of our supplies by sea.

"Hinkley Point C is already achieving some of the aims of the Government’s industrial strategy by creating thousands of jobs and opportunities in the South West and by helping to secure the long-term future of the UK nuclear industry.”

Hinkley Point C will provide seven per cent of Britain’s electricity needs for sixty years. 

The Government say the Industrial Strategy Green paper released last week included plans for a radical overhaul of technical education to address its historical undervaluation in the UK and provide a credible alternative to the academic route for young people who choose not to go to university.

The strategy sets out plans to enable everyone to develop the skills they need to do the high-paid, higher-skilled jobs of the future.