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A new dawn for nuclear power? Yes please!

Posted by: Andrew Willmitt

Have you got the fusion of experience and expertise to flourish in the nuclear industry of the 21st century? Today is an exciting time for the nuclear industry, both here in the UK and globally. The nuclear industry’s overall contribution to the global energy mix continues to grow as developed and developing economies alike continue to hunger for reliable, scalable and efficient forms of energy. There is no better time to progress your career in this burgeoning industry.

Powering global growth

Over the past 12 months nuclear power output grew by 1.3% with 4.4% of the global primary energy consumption accounted for by nuclear. Equally, 2015 proved to be one of the best years for the nuclear industry in recent decades with a record 10 new reactors (carrying a total capacity of over 9GW) put into operation.

Nuclear energy consumption in million of tonnes of oil equivalent (MTOE), via BP Statistical Review of World Energy 2016.

A world of opportunities... in the UK

Global investment by some of the world’s leading energy companies means that there are a world of opportunities developing within the UK nuclear industry:

After much debate and equivocation EDF’s Somerset-based Hinckley Point C nuclear power station has been given the go-ahead. Hinckley Point C is set to be the first new nuclear facility in the UK for 20 years and will play a key part in the UK’s ambition to reduce its dependence on fossil fuel power production in the next decade.

The next few years will see the deployment of Horizon’s Advanced Boiling Water Reactor (a Generation III boiling water reactor) at two sites- Wylfa Newydd on the Isle of Anglesey, and Oldbury-on-Severn in South Gloucestershire.

NuGen, a UK joint-venture between Japan’s Toshiba and France’s Engie, is set to go ahead with its Moorside project, a nuclear powerplant of up to 3.8 GW gross capacity in West Cumbria (using AP1000 nuclear reactor technology).

From production to storage

Not only are there new developments in nuclear production but the waste management sector is seeing innovative breakthroughs too. Seeking a method of adequately storing nuclear by-products, the Finnish government has just approved (in May this year) a €3 billion project to construct a vast underground storage facility.

Set to be located on the island of Olkiluoto, tunnels will be drilled into bedrock at a depth of between 400 and 450 metres, with spent nuclear fuel being placed into 5cm copper canisters and transported and sealed safely underground.

image via: MUTI

A brighter, greener, cleaner future

The science and engineering behind nuclear power generation continues to develop at a rapid rate equally however, nuclear power generation continues to be the subject of controversy. Earlier this year saw a significant €345 million nuclear fusion experiment, the Wendelstein 7-X stellarator, ‘turned on’ at the Max Planck Institute in Germany as scientists and engineers continue to seek out a solution that will provide cleaner and safer nuclear power for the future. Although it will likely be decades (if not longer) before true nuclear fusion is available, advocates suggest the technology could replace not only conventional nuclear fission reactors, but fossil fuels entirely.

The Wendelstein 7-X stellarator- an experimental nuclear fusion reactor.

So are we seeing a new dawn for nuclear power?

It certainly seems so! With these exciting projects and breakthroughs on the near (and not so near) horizon, now is the time to consider your next role in the nuclear industry. Explore the wide range of roles that we currently have available and open up a world of opportunity with Fircroft.

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