25% pay increase needed to meet nuclear safety watchdog recruitment target

New recruits to the nuclear safety watchdog need to be offered 25% more than they currently are to beat staff shortages, an energy expert has recommended.

Tim Stone, a government energy adviser, has warned that the Nuclear Installations Inspectorate (NII) may continue to experience serious staffing issues which could jeopardise government plans to build new power plants, if it does not increase new starters’ pay by a quarter and give existing staff a pay rise.

In December, a review of resources at the watchdog, led by Stone, found it was “significantly under-resourced for its predicted future workload”. The body was operating with less than three quarters of the staff required to undertake the work: it had only 169 trained inspectors, out of the 228 needed.

The watchdog is currently seeking staff for 15 different areas of its business, including chemical and electrical engineering, radiation protection and reactor faults. Candidates were being offered relocation expenses of up to £15,000 and travel expenses to attend interviews.

A spokesman at the NII said: “The recruitment activity is ongoing, and if successful will enable the [design and build] process to be delivered to the agreed June 2011 timescale.”

However, the NII has been forced to recruit temporary staff to press ahead with work while permanent positions are being filled, and is currently relying on regulators in France and America to carry out work.

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