Local companies have been reassured that there are still supply chain opportunities in the Hinkley Point C development.
Somerset Chamber of Commerce made the announcement despite a recent statement by EDF Energy that explained that it would be refocusing its own operation in a bid to control its current outgoings. Rupert Cox, chief executive officer of the chamber, explained that while it was a disappointing move by the French energy giant it was not surprising. He added that the company's decision to rationalise its activity was taken at the right time due to the fact that it had concluded the majority of its work.
Mr Cox maintained that the Hinkley Supply Chain Portal is still on track but emphasised the county's need to be in a "strong position" to ensure that it benefits once the project moves forward in the future. The move has meant that local companies are still being invited forward to bid for supply chain jobs within the West Country and help to improve efficiency around the area.
"We will continue to prepare the Somerset supply chain for the tremendous opportunities that Hinkley C will bring, and we will continue to develop relationships with the preferred top tier contractors to make sure that they are aware of the huge pool of supply chain resource that they should be tapping into here," Mr Cox added.
EDF Energy's decision has had a major knock-on effect in terms of jobs within its operations as the Hinkley Point C project stalls. The company's attempts to cut costs could put around 800 jobs at risk in both France and the UK. EDF is looking to "refocus its activities" and will continue talks with the government to reach an agreeable price for electricity generated at the proposed power station situated in Somerset.
The nuclear site has been in the pipeline since October 2010 but has faced opposition from numerous protest groups including Stop Hinkley which originally called for the closure of Hinkley Point B.