Torness nuclear power station near Dunbar makes a valuable contribution to the East Lothian economy according to a report commissioned by its owner, EDF Energy.
The report shows that the salaries bill (£35 million) represented a four per cent contribution to the economic output of East Lothian in 2008/2009.
Torness provides high-quality jobs - employee remuneration at Torness is 50% higher than the UK average - in line with similar salaries for professional, technical and skilled trade roles in the UK energy sector.
The station’s spending on goods and services provides a further boost to the economy in Scotland and in the UK.
A high satisfaction and positive perception of safety amongst workers also led to a very low turnover of staff (three per cent), compared with a UK average of 13.5%.
Station director Paul Winkle said: “Torness punches well above its weight in the contribution it makes to the economy of East Lothian.
“Our staff are highly-skilled and well paid for the work they do and their satisfaction is reflected in our very low turnover rates.
“More than 65% of our staff live within 20km of the site, meaning a lot of the money earned at Torness stays locally, some £35m annually.
“Given the complexity of the job we do, it’s perhaps not surprising that almost 80% of our staff are in professional, technical or skilled trade roles, while quality jobs like these only make up around 40% of all jobs across East Lothian.”
The economic impact of Torness becomes even more apparent during plant outages, the site’s planned maintenance shutdowns, which take place approximately every 18 months at the station.
During 2009, an outage year, £15 million was spent on outage activities, with overall expenditure rising by 55% compared with a non-outage year.
Up to 1,000 extra people can be expected to move into the area temporarily during outages, spending money locally on accommodation, fuel and food for example.
Torness power station is a long-established presence in the area and employees enjoy contributing to their community, for example supporting educational initiatives at local schools and the Royal National Lifeboat Institution at Torness.
The Socio-Economic study was carried out by AEA on behalf of EDF Energy, to give the energy company an understanding of the social and economic impact of the power station on the local economy.
Torness is seen as representative of the company’s other seven nuclear sites in the UK, including Hunterston in North Ayrshire.
East Lothian MP Fiona O’Donnell said: “I actually took part in the survey; it was good to give my views.
“The report quantifies how important Torness is to the local economy and it was encouraging to see what is being done to encourage dialogue with local companies.”
Iain Gray, MSP commented: “I have always known that Torness is one of the most important employers in East Lothian, so it is very helpful to have this survey confirm that. 550 directly employed jobs and 1,300 including contractors puts £56m into our local economy. That speaks for itself.
“What’s more, many of these are high quality, highly skilled and well paid jobs.
“At the same time Torness nuclear power station is producing almost 20% of the electricity generated in Scotland.”