Report shows thousands of jobs are powered by nuclear in the North West

The North West remains the powerhouse for the nation's nuclear industry with more than 24,000 people employed in highly skilled disciplines, a new report says.

By Tim Gavell
Tuesday, 15th September 2020, 7:00 am

The research from the Nuclear Industry Association also shows that the number of people employed in the industry has remained steady despite the pandemic.

All parts of the industry, including generation, new build, decommissioning and research and development, have sustained operations throughout the disruptions of COVID-19.

Thousands of workers in the existing fleet across Scotland and England have ensured that no station has had to stop producing power because of the pandemic, and Hunterston B has been able to restart generation.

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Westinghouse's nuclear fuel plant at Salwick

But the North West remains the hub of the nuclear industry, with jobs including decommissioning, fuel cycle research, generation and reactor design.

In Lancashire, Heysham I and Heysham II sustain more than 1,000 jobs and provide an essential source of low-carbon power to the nation ,while the nuclear fuel producer and research laboratory at Westinghouse's Springfields factory at Salwick employ hundreds more.

Sellafield Limited in Cumbria remains the largest employer with more than 8,000 people who sustain its global reputation for dealing with legacy issues.

Heather Lovell joined the nuclear industry in 2015 as a Higher Engineering Apprentice at Springfields. Today, she’s recognized as the 2020 Engineering Apprentice of the Year, and overall UK nuclear Apprentice of the Year, by the UK Nuclear Skills Awards.

Heather Lovell who works at Springfields

She said: “Having a career in nuclear is really exciting because of the variety of work, challenges and innovation that I get to witness and be involved with – making a real difference.”

Tom Greatrex, Chief Executive of the NIA said: “The nuclear industry has shown extraordinary resilience in sustaining high-skilled, well-paid jobs and keeping the lights on throughout this pandemic.

"The growth in employment on new build projects and advanced research and development shows how investing in emissions free, reliable and secure nuclear power can cut emissions and create the skilled, long-term jobs we need for a green recovery.

"Now the Government should back nuclear workers by committing to new nuclear capacity as an essential part of the net zero energy mix.”