Skills shortage creates problems for nuclear decommissioning

The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority will not succeed unless urgent measures are taken to retain skilled staff and encourage new entrants to the industry, a leading union has warned.

Prospect, the union representing workers in the nuclear industry, said the authority’s strategy for the clean-up of historic nuclear facilities would fail unless there were enough people with the right qualifications and experience to carry out the job.

Mike Graham, national secretary, said: “While we welcome the strategy as it gives a focus to the decommissioning work, the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority has failed to grasp that the most important threat is the number of skilled people leaving the industry.

“Measures to retain existing expertise and assure new entrants that the industry can provide a viable and rewarding career are needed right now.

The strategy will boost the number of back office jobs as the companies put in place HR, project management and administration support needed for each tender while the technical expertise ‘dwindles away’, Graham said.

The strategy, which was subject to a three-month public consultation, sets out a comprehensive plan for the decommissioning and clean-up of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority’s 20 civil nuclear sites.

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