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Nuclear New Builds: Why, Where and How?

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Nuclear New BuildsAndrew Hill, Recruitment Consultant at Fircroft, specifically recruits for nuclear roles. Here he discusses the plans and development of nuclear new builds throughout the UK in the near future.
Why do we need nuclear new builds?

Whilst nuclear energy has been at the forefront of discussion in recent years, the focus seems to have been predominantly on the decommissioning process. In January 2008, the UK Government declared that it was in the interest of the public for nuclear energy to play a role in the UK’s future energy plans. As a result, businesses were invited to submit plans for the development of new nuclear power stations. 

With the first new reactors expected to be fully operational in the early 2020s, nuclear new builds are now starting to gather momentum and attract attention in the industry. Due to the fact that many of the UK’s existing power stations also due to close around this time, it is imperative that they are replaced; if not, the UK may not be able to meet the demand for electricity. The new stations will generate approximately one sixth of the UK’s electricity, and will require a total investment of at least £60 billion. In June 2011, it was confirmed that eight sites are suitable for nuclear power stations, five of which have been acquired by new developers.

Where will the new builds be?

Of all the new nuclear power plants, one of the locations listed by the Nuclear Industry Association (NIA) is Moorside in Cumbria. This site is on land adjacent to the Sellafield nuclear site, as well as being within close proximity of Fircroft’s Cumbria office. This particular site is expected to be fully functioning as early as 2018, with work increasing up until around 2026. The UK new build programme will be based on international designs which have proven to be successful, ensuring that the two designs currently undergoing the GDA (Generic Design Assessment) review will be approved. Additionally, the Office for Nuclear Regulation and Environment Agency is currently working to ensure all new nuclear power stations constructed in the UK meet high standards of safety, waste management, environmental protection and security.

Together with the Moorside site, the other nuclear new builds will be located in various regions in the UK: Hinkley Point, Somerset; Hartlepool, County Durham; Heysham, Lancashire; Bradwell, Essex; Oldbury, Gloucestershire; Sizewell, Suffolk, and Wylfa, Anglesey. Following consideration in the National Policy Statements for nuclear, the Government determined these sites as appropriate for the organisation of nuclear power stations in England and Wales by the end of 2025.

How will this happen?

Historically, the UK nuclear supply chain has an extremely successful track record of developing and building nuclear power plants in the UK. Furthermore, maintaining and upgrading existing nuclear plants is an additional responsibility, which is also guaranteed to be covered by the NIA.

Developing a workforce which has a robust nuclear safety culture as well as vigorous Quality Assurance processes is at the forefront of all nuclear new builds. Fircroft has an extensive history providing recruitment solutions for business involved in nuclear decommissioning, which is soon to be in addition to roles focusing on the new builds across the UK. With our Head Office being based in Warrington, it is an exciting period we are currently entering; we will be working with numerous local businesses to provide them with the technical personnel they require. For updates or to enquire about available roles, click here to register your details with Fircroft.

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