OVER 3,000 new jobs could be created in the South-West if the new nuclear plant at Hinkley Point goes ahead, research has found.

A Nuclear New Build Employment Scenarios report said the proposals present Somerset with a “significant opportunity”.

Around 3,300 jobs would be created if the controversial development goes ahead.

The report also found up to 17,000 construction workers will be required in the UK during the build programme.

The Government has identified Hinkley Point and six other UK sites as suitable for building the next generation of nuclear reactors, meaning construction infrastructure output will increase significantly by 2020.

Roger Stone, sector strategy manager for CITB-ConstructionSkills South-West, who commissioned the research, said: “The project could breathe new life into the local construction industry but, to benefit, firms need to ensure they have the right skills to meet the demands of the nuclear build development.”

Despite the creation of jobs, anti-Hinkley campaigners are more concerned about health, especially after the Fukushima incident in Japan.

A Stop Hinkley spokesman said: “Nuclear power’s unsafe, expensive, leaves a legacy of radioactive waste for future generations and is a dangerous diversion from a genuinely sustainable pathway for the UK’s energy needs.”