Task force to focus on building skills in nuclear sector

It is part of the Government’s efforts to drastically scale up nuclear capacity.

A new task force has been launched to ensure the UK has the right skills in the nuclear industry as part of Government plans to drastically scale up nuclear capacity.

The panel will work to ensure roles are filled in the rapidly expanding defence and civil nuclear sectors, the Ministry of Defence said.

It will develop a national skills strategy for jobs across the industry, from technical scientific and engineering roles to logistics, project management, commercial and finance.

The task force will be chaired by Sir Simon Bollom, the former chief executive of Defence Equipment and Support, and include Government officials, academics and industry partners.

Defence procurement minister James Cartlidge said: “By developing nuclear skills, we are not just investing in the UK economy but our national security.

“The creation of this new task force will challenge the whole of the UK’s nuclear sector to be ambitious in addressing the nuclear skills gap, and we are delighted to appoint Sir Simon Bollom to drive this work forward.”

Sir Simon said: “The nuclear sector is vital to our nation, and I am proud to have been given the opportunity to lead such an important task force to ensure that we have the people and skills we need to deliver our programmes.”

Nuclear minister Andrew Bowie hailed a nuclear “revival” with the launch of Great British Nuclear, an arm’s-length body involved in the Government-backed competition to develop smaller-scale nuclear technology projects.

The announcement comes after MPs questioned the Government’s ambitious nuclear goals, with doubts over whether it has a specific strategy to meet the target of bolstering the UK’s nuclear capacity to 24 gigawatts (GW) of electricity by 2050.

In a report on Monday, the Science, Innovation and Technology Committee backed the decision to look to nuclear power as a way to meet the UK’s electricity needs amid the race to net zero.

But it warned that the Government’s own most recent energy security plan, published in March, offers little clue about how measures will be implemented.

Committee chairman Greg Clark noted that the “stretching” ambitions to achieve 24GW of nuclear power by 2050 would be almost double the highest level of nuclear generation that the UK has ever attained.

“The only way to achieve this is to translate these very high-level aspirations into a comprehensive, concrete and detailed nuclear strategic plan which is developed jointly with the nuclear industry, which enjoys long-term cross-party political commitment and which therefore offers dependability for private and public investment decisions,” he said.

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