Funding for UK nuclear skills

24 September 2014

The UK government has announced funding of £8 million ($13 million), with half coming from industry, to train the next generation of nuclear technicians and engineers.

Vince Cable at Dungeness 460 (Magnox)
Vince Cable is interviewed by a television crew during his visit to the Dungeness plant (Image: Magnox)

The funding was announced on 23 September by business secretary Vince Cable during a visit to the Dungeness nuclear power plant in Kent, southeast England.

While the government will provide £4 million ($6.5 million), the other half will come from employer 'cash match' plus benefit in-kind contributions. The funds will be used to create hundreds of new apprenticeships and traineeships as part of the Magnox-led Nuclear Industrial Partnership (NIP). This was officially launched on 15 September.

Projects to be funded as part of the scheme include the creation of 320 apprenticeships (50 on a new electrical, control and instrumentation program, plus 270 with nuclear supply chain companies), as well as a traineeship program for 100 people aged 16-19. It will also provide 60 places for engineering undergraduates on an 8-10 week summer school and 720 places at a two-day science, technology, engineering and mathematics workshop. In addition, the funds will be used to conduct an analysis of the current and future skills needs for the UK nuclear industry.

The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) said the funding "will help to deliver a high performing workforce, provide industry with the confidence to invest in a nuclear future and assist the supply chain develop the skills and expertise required to compete in the UK and global market for contracts."

According to BIS, some £930 billion ($1522 billion) will be invested in the global nuclear industry over the next 20 years, while the construction of new power plants alone could create as many as 40,000 new jobs in the UK.

Cable said, "Today we've put our money where our mouth is. Industry has told us they need more skilled workers for the nuclear sector, so this £8 million will help guarantee the next generation of workers. This is part of our work to rebalance the economy, creating jobs across the UK."

The UK currently has 16 reactors generating about 18% of its electricity and all but one of these will be retired by 2023. The first of some 19 GWe of new-generation plants are expected to be on line by 2023. The government aims to have 16 GWe of new nuclear capacity operating by 2030.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News