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Wylfa Newydd power station to create thousands of new jobs
The UK government has reportedly offered over £13 billion to help fund the building of the new Wylfa Newydd nuclear power station. Whilst the government has not confirmed their support, discussions with Hitachi’s Horizon Nuclear Power have been underway to discuss the financing of the new nuclear site.
Based on Anglesey in Wales, the plant is going to house two nuclear reactors with a minimum generating capacity of 2700MW (enough to power five million homes). Horizon aims to begin generating energy from the plant by the mid-2020s.
This project is expected to create 4,000 jobs during the construction phase, rising as high as 9,000 at the peak of the project, on top of the 850 permanent staff members who will be required to run the plant once operational.
Commitment to nuclear
Nuclear energy currently makes up over 20% of the UK’s electricity, generated from 15 reactors. But with almost half of these due to be retired by 2025, the future of the British nuclear energy programme has been called into question.
With the reported investment in the Wylfa Newydd station, construction of Hinkley Point C in Somerset underway and another seven plants proposed across the UK, Britain’s nuclear future is starting to look a little clearer.
Working on a career-defining project
Ben Hough, Nuclear Recruitment Specialist at Matchtech, comments on the opportunities that will be created for engineers:
“With Hinkley Point C and Wylfa Newydd aiming to start generating power by 2025, the next few years present exciting opportunities to work on these career-defining projects. In order to get the plants operational, there will be opportunities for engineers over the entire project life-cycle. The plant will require civil, mechanical and electrical engineers, as well as construction managers, quantity surveyors and project controls specialists.”
While these nuclear new builds are set to create a plethora of opportunities for engineers, there are still concerns over the lack of skilled professionals with experience in the construction of nuclear power stations. Ben continues:
“As there have been no new nuclear power stations built in the UK in over 20 years, there’s an obvious shortage of engineers with experience in these large-scale nuclear new build projects. Whilst this can cause difficulties for employers, it creates a great opportunity for engineers from different industry sectors who have the right engineering backgrounds to gain nuclear experience.”
With the reported government commitment and the opportunity to work on exciting projects, it’s a great time for engineers to upskill to become more attractive to employers when these build projects ramp-up. A National College for Nuclear is being set up with government backing with the aim of training 7,000 new nuclear engineers by 2020 and there are degree-level apprenticeships for young engineers looking to take their first steps into the nuclear industry.
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