Government commits to improving nuclear skills
08 June 2012
Posted by Michelle Devonshire
With new nuclear power stations expected to be built in the future to replace aging parts of the UK's energy infrastructure, the Government has unveiled plans to boost skills.
Enhancing nuclear manufacturing experience could increase standards in the sector and may lead to growing production of pressure vessels to serve the market.
John Hayes, the UK's Skills Minister, announced the allocation of £920,000 to develop the National Skills Academy (NSA) for Nuclear, with the Government funding due to be matched by business.
Commenting on the news, Charles Hendry, the Energy Minister, stated: "The nuclear new build programme and existing decommissioning activities provide a substantial opportunity for UK manufacturers to expand and create highly skilled jobs across the country."
The NSA for nuclear will provide support for companies to take advantage of opportunities for innovation and success in Britain's new nuclear build programme, with an estimated 3,500 individuals benefiting from recognized courses and apprenticeships over three years.
It will work alongside the Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre in Sheffield and Semta, the Sector Skills Council for Science, Engineering and Manufacturing Technologies.
A decision has been taken by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) that the Sellafield nuclear reprocessing site in Cumbria will close in 2018.
The facility, which has been in operation for two decades, will shut after it has fulfilled its existing contracts, according to a statement from the NDA on its preferred options for the management of oxide fuels in the UK based on a recent strategic review.
Following the shutdown of the Thorp reprocessing site in 2018, it will undergo a post-closure and clean out phase before being decommissioned.
Owned by Nuclear Management partners, Sellafield is responsible for the safe decommissioning, management and reprocessing of nuclear waste on behalf of the NDA, with operations in Cumbria and Cheshire.