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Nuclear skills gap must be plugged by graduates and engineers from other sectors, says Magnox chief

The nuclear decommissioning and new build sectors are facing a massive skills shortage and it will take a combination of strong graduate training and the upskilling of engineers from other sectors to meet the demand, a top nuclear engineer said yesterday.

Over the next 10 years National Skills Academy for Nuclear estimates the sector will need to recruit an additional 10,000 people, while at the same time 80% of the current 50,000 strong workforce is aged over fifty and close to retirement.

Speaking at Civils 2008, Magnox South chief engineer Steve Hodson said his firm, which is responsible for the decommissioning of Berkeley, Bradwell, Dungeness, Hinkley Point A and Sizewell A, was doing everything it could to cope with the anticipated skills shortage.

"We need to attract young people and engineers from other areas," said Hodson.

"The UK civils community provides all the skills I believe we need. The transferring process [of engineers from other sectors] is simply to help them how their skills must be applied in a heavily regulated and safety-conscious sector like nuclear.

"When we bring people into the industry, we make sure that they are working with those more experienced members of our teams, some of which have been in the industry for over 40 years."

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