Britain will not have enough skilled workers to build a new generation of nuclear power stations unless ministers remove the uncertainty hanging over UK energy policy, industry executives and labour leaders have warned. Tens of thousands of engineers and construction workers will be needed to complete the Hinkley Point C power station and several other planned nuclear plants over the next two decades. Thousands more are needed to decommission the existing fleet of nuclear reactors – all but one of which are due to reach the end of their operational lives by 2030. About 1,800 people are already employed at Hinkley, where work started in March on the first permanent concrete structures. About 25,000 jobs are expected to be created by the project over the next decade. Hinkley Point C was delayed for many years before winning approval last September. The next two major nuclear projects, at Wylfa in Anglesey and Moorside in Cumbria, are shrouded with doubts over how they will be financed. If the “new build” programme goes ahead as planned, the number of workers needed in the UK nuclear sector would grow from almost 88,000 this year to just over 100,000 in 2021, according to the latest annual assessment by the Nuclear Skills Strategy Group, which includes representatives from government, regulators, industry and unions. The skills shortage is exacerbated by the ageing demographic profile of the existing nuclear workforce. Many technical specialists joined the industry during its last major growth period in the 1980s. An average 6,830 full-time jobs are expected to be created across the UK nuclear sector every year until 2021 and a fifth of them will be replacements for people leaving the sector.
FT 14th Aug 2017 read more »