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Bright Future for Construction Industry in UK's Nuclear Power Sector

If predictions are correct, the future is bright for the construction industry within the area of new nuclear power plant construction. The call for civil engineers, environmental consultants and waste management consultants should offer many UK career opportunities.

Nuclear energy currently accounts for about 19% of that used in the UK. This is generated by an existing 15 nuclear reactors, but the percentage is decreasing as the UK's plants deteriorate and are decommissioned. However the industry is due for regeneration.

According to the EU Renewable Energy Directive, 30% of UK electricity alone should come from renewables by 2020 but that is looking like a tough call.

Our national resources of gas and coal are limited and running out fast. So far renewables only make up a tiny proportion of what we use and need, so developing new nuclear power plants is deemed the way forward.

In the Pipeline

Currently there are three new nuclear power plants in the pipeline and more in the planning. This is backed up by a quote from Energy Secretary, Amber Rudd:

"We are dealing with a legacy of under-investment and with Hinkley Point C planning to start generating in the mid-2020s, this is already changing. It is imperative we do not make the mistakes of the past and just build one nuclear power station. There are plans for a new fleet of nuclear power stations, including at Wylfa and Moorside. It also means exploring new opportunities like small modular reactors, which hold the promise of low cost, low carbon energy."

Hinkley Point

The furthest in development is the Hinkley Point power plant in Somerset - or so we had been led to believe.

Funding for the project has come from EDF and CGN. The first is a well known energy company in the UK but it is a French company almost fully owned by the French government. The CGN aka the China General Nuclear Corporation has agreed to buy a 33.5% stake in the £18 billion project.

Work actually started at the site back in 2012 but come last April, everything stopped and not just for tea. The halt was called to await EDF's decision about the final investment stage and the outcome is still pending.

In the last few weeks the expected decision about the final agreement has been eagerly awaited but as yet there is no word. Confidence is low as EDF's Project Director Chris Bakken has handed in his notice to return to the USA.

Those less generous (The Ecologist), are suggesting that work will not resume until 2019. Knowing this publication's stand on nuclear power and as this doesn't appear to have been reported elsewhere, can we take this as gospel?

But others are sceptical too as EDF's nuclear power station development in France is already well-over budget and running six years late.

A Positive Note

On a more positive note, when this project finally gets off the ground, EDF are promising a pot of gold in terms of job opportunities. Construction at the site is expected to create 25,000 jobs and a further 900 during its time in operation.

With this in mind, civil engineers, waste management, environmental consultants and others looking for opportunities in the UK should keep an eye on our site. Once the go ahead is given, we expect it to be like a veritable gold rush.

To ensure that you don't miss out on any opportunities in the nuclear power construction industry, get your CV over to us to make sure you don't miss out.

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Steve Thomas
Director - Hong Kong & UK Construction Recruitment Specialist

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