New plan aims to boost UK nuclear workforce

A new plan aims to ensure there will be enough nuclear workers to achieve the sector’s goals going forward. The Nuclear Skills Strategic Plan (NSSP) outlines a series of steps […]

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By Jonny Bairstow

A new plan aims to ensure there will be enough nuclear workers to achieve the sector’s goals going forward.

The Nuclear Skills Strategic Plan (NSSP) outlines a series of steps to make sure the UK’s nuclear workforce will be large and skilled enough to cope with increased activity.

It follows the UK Government, France’s EDF and China’s CGN signing the final deal for the construction of Hinkley Point C in Somerset earlier this year.

The plan has been launched by the Nuclear Skills Strategy Group (NSSG), an industry-led consortium of businesses, government and trade unions and has been welcomed by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA).

The 19 actions that form the plan include apprentice training, bursary schemes and other skill-building initiatives.

It also features an agreed timeline of nuclear sector activities. The construction of five sites with 16GWe capacity means workforce demand is forecast to rise from 78,000 in 2015 to 111,000 by 2021.

A change in technology is also driving demand – new Light Water Reactor (LWR) technology means new knowledge and skills are needed, even for staff familiar to the sector, the NSSG states.

Minister for Energy Baroness Neville-Rolfe said: “Nuclear power will play an important role in building a secure, affordable and clean energy system fit for the 21st century.

“We welcome industry’s proactive approach to skills, coming together through the NSSG, to develop a strategic plan. This can help to ensure an expert, flexible and mobile workforce in the nuclear sector.”