CONSULTANT ATKINS said this week that it was setting up an in-house decommissioning academy to supply staff for the government's nuclear power station demolition programme.
'This won't be aimed exclusively at recent graduates and existing staff, ' said Atkins Nuclear & Power managing director Dr Paul Dollin.
'We intend to recruit staff with appropriate basic skills from such sectors as rail, oil and gas, and offshore, who have experience of asset management and decommissioning.
'Then we'll give them the special training needed to operate in the nuclear decommissioning field.' Dollin said the initiative would also seek to exploit skills from other sectors, to encourage innovation in the decommissioning market - expected to be worth £56bn over the next 40 years.
Atkins' academy will be up and running in six months.
The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) confirmed on Monday that its planned £20M Cumbria-based Nuclear Institute - which will train post-graduates in partnership with the University of Manchester - will not be in operation until 2008 at the earliest.
'We hope our proposals for a national nuclear skills academy will get government approval this summer, so we can have this open next year, ' a NDA spokesman said. 'But this is aimed at the vocational end of nuclear decommissioning, to produce technicians with the appropriate skills.'