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Britain’s first nuclear power plants in a generation: What does this mean for engineers?

Rebekah Valero-Lee Career Advice

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The first UK nuclear power plants in a generation have been proposed, but where are they, who owns them and what do they mean for nuclear engineers?

Over the next 10 years, the nuclear industry will be evolving. Three major projects have been proposed in sites across the UK, bringing large-scale employment to the nuclear, construction and engineering industries.

Currently, there are 15 reactors in the UK which generate over 20% of the country’s electricity, but this percentage will reduce with the government plan to close all coal-fired power stations by 2025. The aim of the new projects is to satisfy demand in the UK – to “keep Britain’s lights on”, whilst reducing the country’s carbon emissions in line with targets set by the Committee on Climate Change.

Depending on which project begins first, Britain will see its first nuclear power plant built in 20 years, bringing job opportunities to a new generation.

Moorside Nuclear Project

Moorside, proposed by Nugen – a joint venture between Toshiba’s Westinghouse and ENGIE – will be the UK’s largest nuclear power station, and Europe’s largest new construction plan. Three AP1000 reactors will supply enough low-carbon electricity to power approximately 6 million homes, which is around 7% of the country’s total electricity demand. The site, located at Sellafield, Cumbria, is expected to produce electricity by 2025. Currently, the project is in its development stage, with a final investment decision being made in 2018.

Moorside could create between 14,000 and 21,000 jobs across all areas of the project, with 5,000 available during the construction stage and 500 permanent roles when the plant is operational.

Hinkley Point C

EDF Energy’s Hinkley Point C, located in Somerset, will generate 3.2GW of low-carbon electricity for 60 years, creating over 20,000 jobs in the area and offering re-development of surrounding sites. Two EPR™ reactors will provide electricity to approximately 5 million homes, whilst £100 million will be invested into the regional economy during peak construction.  Hinkley Point C is expected to generate electricity by spring 2026.

Wylfa Newydd

Horizon, owned by Hitachi, have proposed a low-carbon nuclear power plant in Wylfa, on the Isle of Anglesey. This will be situated on an already operational nuclear power plant, owned by Magnox. Two Advanced Boiling Water Reactors (ABWRs) will be built, generating 2,700MW of electricity. Wylfa Newydd could see the generation of up to 1,000 permanent jobs and a construction workforce of 4,000 – with the potential to reach 8,500 during peak times.  This project is expected to be operational during the early 2020s.

The above proposed projects will bring thousands of jobs to a new generation and change Britain’s nuclear outlook for years to come.

Interested in a career in nuclear? Speak to our consultants for advice on roles or take a look at the latest nuclear power plant jobs available right now.

 

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