Britain’s nuclear regulator is facing a post-Brexit skills crisis as it prepares to take on responsibilities currently shared with European partners at the same time as many of its ageing inspectors near retirement. The Office for Nuclear Regulation said “the loss of experienced regulatory staff” would lead to a “thinning of our overall regulatory capability” in the years ahead, even though demands on the agency are set to increase sharply. Responsibilities currently held by Euratom, the pan-European nuclear regulator, are to be transferred to the ONR after the UK leaves the EU, including the “safeguards” regime required under international rules to prevent misuse of fissile materials. The average age of the ONR’s 384 “technical specialists”, including nuclear inspectors, is 48, and almost half its overall workforce is over 50 — forcing the agency to confront so-called “brain drain” as long-serving staff retire. Jenifer Baxter, head of energy at the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, said there was a limited pool of qualified inspectors from which to recruit and not enough time to train new inspectors before the UK leaves the EU in 2019.
FT 10th July 2017 read more »