Direct economic benefits of the GDF

Constructing a GDF is equivalent to re-excavating the underground sections of the London Underground network, or six Channel Tunnels, or three Crossrails.  By any standard, the jobs, supply chain and economic benefits of such a major enterprise are obvious.  Not surprising therefore that business, trade unions and local economic planners all back the idea.

In addition to the actual construction of the facility, there will almost certainly be the need for significant investment in the provision of water, electricity, broadband, road and rail links, and even potentially a harbour, to support both the construction and operation of the GDF.  Once installed this supporting infrastructure can help open up a local or regional economy to further additional commercial, industrial, and technological investments.

With a lifetime prediction of up to 1000 jobs annually (mostly high-skilled and well-paid posts) the GDF can sustain a sizeable population in the host community for almost two centuries.  Such a well-paid population would have the spending power to help protect existing small businesses and drive employment in the local economy’s wider consumer service sector.

In short, the GDF provides economic stimulus and jobs in the present.  High-skilled, well-paid jobs, in a sector which has huge international commercial opportunities.  Just as any other major infrastructure investment, the GDF can also act as a catalyst or focal point for wider investment in related job-creating industries.  The economic case for geological disposal can be summarised as:

  • providing much-needed infrastructure investment for the region which hosts the GDF (and potentially replacing European and other structural funding which will not be available after 2020)
  • being a catalyst for other public and private sector investment in other industrial, commercial and economic activity
  • showcasing UK talent and expertise in nuclear decommissioning (a $trillion international market)
  • managing radioactive waste more cost-effectively, removing financial uncertainties and reducing long-term liability costs to the taxpayer and electricity consumers

The true full value of the GDF cannot be realised until potential sites with ‘willing’ communities are found. It is hard to build a robust business case for a conceptual facility in an unspecified location.  But, we will be able to start evaluating and placing a ‘real world’ value on the impact of such investment as communities come forward and GDF plans are placed within the context of a local or regional economic plan.

RWM have done some initial scoping work on the potential direct economic benefits of a GDF.  You can read their report here.