EDF Energy’s chief operating officer has called on the government “not to let up for a second” in its drive to build nuclear power stations in the UK.

Speaking at Building’s Gearing up for Nuclear New Build conference on Monday, Martin Lawrence said Europe’s energy vulnerability presented the industry with an “amazing opportunity”.

He told delegates: “We urge the government not to relax their efforts, not for a second. It’s about keeping the lights on in the UK and across Europe, protecting customers from fuel poverty and saving our planet from catastrophe.”

EDF plans to build up to four nuclear stations in the UK. Lawrence said they would be “UK projects, with UK jobs and UK companies”.

Also speaking at the conference was Lakhbir Hans from the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform, who outlined the government’s proposed timetable for choosing nuclear sites. She said there would be an eight-week window for site nominations early next year.

Jean Llewellyn, head of the new National Skills Academy for Nuclear, also outlined plans for a “passport” scheme to increase the flow of personnel between nuclear projects by allowing employers to check CVs online.