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Opportunities in the Nuclear Industry

Opportunities in the Nuclear Industry

Skills report shows demand for new blood in the Nuclear Industry
Today (Thursday) sees the launch of Cogent Sector Skills Council’s Power People, a new report on the skills the UK will need to support a new generation of nuclear power plants.  Cogent is the national skills body for the Nuclear Industry.   Power People is a ground-breaking report,  the first in a series of outputs from a major Cogent skills research programme underway this year,  to work with the nuclear industry to ensure its future skills demand can be delivered in the UK.   The prospect of replacing of the current fleet of nuclear power stations represents a multibillion pound private sector investment programme, but one which is dependent on a highly skilled workforce. Cogent’s report will be used by its partner the National Skills Academy for Nuclear, training providers, trades unions and the nuclear industry to help ensure that enough people, with the right skills, are available to take up the posts that the new build renaissance offers.   Today the civil nuclear industry provides employment for 44000 people in the core industry and the direct supply chain. Cogent has mapped this workforce by region, nation, skill level, age, sector and job role and highlights some critical issues:  

The industry will require a  thousand new recruits every year if the current level of nuclear power  generation is to be maintained to 2025 and beyond  

The nuclear workforce is older  than the general workforce and is suffering from an accelerating retirement  rate. This will strip the industry of the most highly trained and experienced  personnel

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2015 is a critical year when  decommissioning of the current fleet overlaps with both the need to begin  training the operators for new power plants and an accelerated retirement  rate

In the absence of new  build, the UK faces a reduction of 90% in the  workforce employed in nuclear electricity generation  

The renaissance of nuclear  power globally provides a reactivated UK supply chain with international  opportunities.

With electricity generation being responsible for up to 30% of carbon dioxide emissions from human activity, efficient low-carbon energy sources are essential if challenging CO2 emissions targets are to be met.   In 2008 the Government published an Energy White paper that made clear its view that nuclear generation is a crucial part of the nation’s energy mix. To address the implication of this for nuclear skills, Cogent began its consultation with both nuclear employers and strategic bodies that was unique in its level of engagement. The result is its Renaissance series of reports, the first of which is published today, with the others following during 2009/10:  

Power  People: The Civil Nuclear Workforce  
Next  Generation: Skills for New Build Nuclear
Assurance:  Skills for Nuclear Defence  
Illumination:  Future Skills for Nuclear

Quotes Dr Brian Murphy, Director of Research at Cogent SSC, said: “Prior to this research the nuclear industry workforce had been estimated from limited data. This severely restricted our future skills projections. This has been corrected with a full industry return to us of manpower data. We have quantified the skills drivers including an ageing workforce, a shift in skills to decommissioning and a new demand for skills for new nuclear stations. ”   Mark Higson, Chief Executive, Office for Nuclear Development says in the report: “Britain’s strong heritage in nuclear power, and its clear role in our low carbon future, means that Cogent and the National Skills Academy for Nuclear have a critical role to play in the skills agenda. As the transition from operating, to decommissioning, through to new build takes place, an expanded supply of matching skills will be needed.” Jean Llewellyn, Chief Executive of the National Skills Academy for Nuclear said: “The labour market research being completed by Cogent is of vital importance to the National Skills Academy for Nuclear, and will inform our future actions and plans. It will underpin the design and implementation of effective skills interventions to prevent skills shortages and gaps over the coming decades.”   For more information please go to  

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