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“In the 1950s the UK was the first country to develop a civil nuclear program, but we have since fallen behind countries such as China, France and Canada.”

This quote by Jennifer Baxter of the Institute of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE) paints a bleak picture of the state of the UK civil nuclear energy industry.

But is this situation about to change for the better?

Thanks to a combination of necessity and pragmatism the answer is an unequivocal yes.

As the UK pursues decarbonisation policies (with the government announcing plans to close all coal-fired power stations by 2025), and alternative sources of power such as wind and solar are found lacking (due to their intermittent nature), policymakers and politicians alike are taking a renewed interest in nuclear power as a reliable, and most-importantly, continuous, source of low-carbon power.

The result of this quest for reliable, low-carbon power has resulted in massive investment in new nuclear projects across the UK, and with this investment will come a surge in engineering jobs...

  • Hinkley Point C- an £18bn project in the South West of England which is expected to generate 3.2GW of electricity for 60 years from two EPR reactors to over 5 million homes. Hinkley Point C will be a big boost to the nuclear employment market, creating 26,000 jobs and apprenticeships with more than 60% of the value of the project being received by UK-based businesses.
  • Wylfa Newydd- a new nuclear power station project on Anglesey utilising two Advanced Boiling Water Reactors (ABWRs) to generate 2,700MW of electricity. The project will create up to 850 permanent jobs and will have a construction workforce of approximately 4,000 workers (rising to 8,000 – 10,000 at peak periods).
  • Oldbury- located just north of Bristol, is set to generate a minimum of 2,700MW and will create around 1,000 permanent jobs and 6,000 jobs during the construction of the site.
  • Moorside- is currently awaiting a final investment decision, but should it go ahead will be the UK’s largest nuclear power station on completion, generating enough electricity to
    power 6 million homes. Moorside could potentially create 500 permanent jobs and employ upwards of 5,000 people during the construction stage.
  • Sizewell- The result of a joint-venture between EDF Energy and China General Nuclear Ltd, Sizewell C is a proposed nuclear plant with two EPR reactors capable of generating enough low carbon electricity to supply around 5 million homes. Located on the Suffolk coast, the project will have a positive impact on the local economy creating around 25,000 roles during the construction phase and 900 new permanent jobs on completion.

With these projects on the horizon and nominated sites for future projects secured at Heysham, Hartlepool and Bradwell, the future is looking bright for the UK nuclear engineering industry.

In addition, the industry is embracing new technologies such as Adavanced Boiling Water Reactors (AWBRs) and Small Modular Reactors (SMRs) meaning that there’s no better time to advance your engineering career in nuclear.

For over 20 years Fircroft has been supplying expert nuclear talent to some of the largest operators in the industry. Let Fircroft take care of your career in nuclear and explore our vacancies today.

See our infographic, or view and apply for suitable positions today. 

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