Around 400 jobs are at risk at the Hinkley Point C nuclear site in Somerset after EDF announced it would suspend works until the final investment decision is made on the £24.5bn project.
EDF announced last week that the next phase of work on site would “require a substantial increase in spending levels” and that it would not start until investment for the project is secured.
Until 1 April, around 650 workers were on site at Hinkley Point C, where the Kier/Bam Nuttall joint venture started the second phase of its £100m site preparation works contract last summer.
The decision to pause the next phase of work means that around 400 workers are no longer needed on site until work restarts after the final investment decision.
Affected staff were told on 1 April, with their roles now subject to consultation.
Construction News understands the workers affected are employed by a number of contractors, including the Kier/Bam joint venture.
None of those affected are directly employed by EDF.
EDF said that “extensive work” had been carried out to make the site ready for the final investment decision, including earthworks, drainage works, and providing concrete production and welfare facilities, but that these jobs were now drawing to a close.
Around 250 workers will remain on site to complete roadworks in Bridgewater, at the Washford Cross roundabout in west Somerset, and the Cannington bypass.
Project planning, engineering design and commercial supply chain work will continue “to ensure the project’s readiness”, EDF said.
The union Unite urged the next government to resolve the issues facing Hinkley Point C to ensure the project remains on track.
Unite national officer for energy Kevin Coyne said EDF’s announcement was “disappointing, not least to those who are working on site preparing the ground”.
He added: “Unite and the other unions involved in the project will be meeting with the company shortly to understand the implications of [the] announcement by EDF on the workforce currently employed.”
GMB national officer for construction Phil Whitehurst said: “The news from the French government-owned utility company EDF that a 45-day consultation for redundancy will start regarding 400 employees on Hinkley Point C project is devastating.”
Mr Whitehurst said it “beggars belief” that the final investment decision had not been made on the new nuclear project.
After several delays, EDF had expected financing for the new nuclear plant to be in place by March.
However, it announced in February that the decision was still months away.
In the project update, EDF said it had made “good progress” on work to finalise agreements with the government to enable a final investment decision “in the coming months”.
It also said there had been “continuing positive progress with future investment partners in the project”.
Kier/Bam has been contacted for comment.