Warning not to “underestimate” nuclear skills challenge

The national training organisation for construction in the UK has warned we must not “underestimate” the challenge of finding skilled workers for Britain’s nuclear power plants in future. CITB-ConstructionSkills said […]

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By Vicky Ellis

The national training organisation for construction in the UK has warned we must not “underestimate” the challenge of finding skilled workers for Britain’s nuclear power plants in future.

CITB-ConstructionSkills said there is a “real and urgent need” to up-skill the construction industry with the specialist skills for building and maintaining these plants.

Last week Japanese electronics giant Hitachi announced it is buying the Horizon Nuclear Power project for £896m – with plans for at least four to six new stations. At the press briefing, Horizon’s manufacturing partners Rolls Royce and Babcock International both admitted there is currently a skills shortage.

French energy supplier EDF Energy plans to build up to four more on top of its existing eight in the UK.

Mark Farrar, Chief Executive of CITB-ConstructionSkills said: “The deal with Hitachi to buy Horizon Nuclear Power is extremely welcome news for the construction industry in the UK. But the size of the challenge must not be underestimated.

“CITB-ConstructionSkills’ own research with Experian has forecast that each new nuclear build project could require as many as 25,000 workers, 60% of which will come from the construction sector. And some sectors will be more involved than others – for example, each site will require 400,000m3 of concrete, some 2,500km of cabling and 100km of pipework, placing a high demand on certain skill sets.”

The two national skills academies for nuclear and building are teaming up to train workers for nuclear new builds.