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Skills Shortage Looming For UK Nuclear Sector

Getting more people to enrol on engineering training courses could be essential for the UK’s nuclear industry, after one expert warned of a skills shortage in the sector.

Power Engineering International reported on comments made by Alistair Smith, nuclear development director at Costain, who told the Financial Times that there aren’t enough new engineers coming through with the skills required for large-scale nuclear power plant development projects.

He pointed out that it’s been two decades since the UK last built a nuclear power station and the engineers involved in that project “are not just sitting around waiting to start again”.

Mr Smith added that a lack of clarity from the government about its nuclear power ambitions is preventing firms from investing in training new engineers, for fear that they’ll plough money into developing skills that then won’t be used.

“It’s difficult for me to convince my chief executive that we should be building up the skills ready for starting next year, because I said the same to him last year, and the year before,” he added.

The news provider noted that an average of 6,830 new jobs are expected to be created annually in the nuclear sector until 2021, with one-fifth of those positions replacing people who are retiring.

At the end of last year the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy reiterated its commitment to nuclear power, stating that it will “play an important role” in creating a “secure, affordable and clean energy system fit for the 21st century”.

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