News, Nuclear, O&M

NIA: UK nuclear industry jobs robust despite COVID-19 impacts

The Nuclear Industry Association (NIA) has published robust jobs numbers, showing that the number of people employed in the industry has remained steady despite the pandemic.

According to the NIA’s annual Jobs Map, 59,584 people are employed in the civil nuclear sector across the UK, a slight increase on 2019.

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, underscoring the resilience of the sector.

Read about other nuclear projects in Europe

New build projects have played a key role in sustaining employment and improving the UK’s construction skills base: Hinkley Point C employs around 4,500 people on site, and more than 600 apprentices have been trained on the project. Other new build projects in the pipeline, including Sizewell C and Wylfa Newydd, are planned to be on a similar scale.

The nuclear industry remains critical to regional economic development, with more than 24,000 people employed in the North West in decommissioning, fuel cycle research, reactor design and other disciplines.

In the South-West, the sector employs more than 12,000 people, and more than £1.6 billion has been spent across the region from the Hinkley Point C project.

The UK’s world-class nuclear research expertise sees more than 1,700 people employed at the Culham Centre for Fusion Energy in Oxfordshire, and others employed in modular reactor design at sites around the country.

MERS virus, Meadle-East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus

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.”

This year’s Jobs Map also highlights stories of workers who have found opportunities in the nuclear industry.