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Skills Shortage Threat to New Nuclear Plant Sites


A huge potential boost for jobs around the UK was confirmed by Chris Huhne yesterday.

The minister announced plans to build up to 44,000 wind turbines around the coast and to encourage households to put up solar panels in order to generate more green energy. There will also be significant investment in developing new ‘carbon capture and storage’ or CCS technology so that coal can be used to generate electricity with reduced pollution.

Britain faces a black out unless new power stations are built to replace the coal-fired and nuclear power stations due to close over the next decade.The new Government want to replace the old stations with renewable energy or low carbon sources like nuclear in order to meet climate change targets.

The new nuclear power stations will be built near existing sites in in Bradwell in Essex, Hartlepool, Heysham in Lancashire, Hinkley Point in Somerset, Oldbury in South Gloucestershire, Sellafield in Cumbria, Sizewell in Suffolk and Wylfa in Anglesey.

The new stations will not start generating power until 2018 so the Government also plans to allow existing nuclear stations to extend their life.

Ironically implementation plans are behind target by 6-9 months which is not a particularly good omen. There is also the challenge of skills shortages to be overcome as the UK is already turning to Eastern Europe for skills such as fabrication and welding as shown by the recent influx of Polish workers to fulfil naval contracts.

 

Author: Chris Slay

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