UK decommissioning costs will rocket due to rapidly rising salaries for skilled engineers, experts warned this week.
The nuclear industry will be forced to pay engineers 20% to 25% more than they earn in other sectors if it is to attract staff with the skills needed to tackle decommissioning and possible nuclear new build, predicted chief executive of specialist recruitment firm EPC Global, Tobias Read.Soaring pay means that the government's cost models for decommissioning 'will have to be radically readjusted', Read added.'Government probably calculated the cost of decommissioning two years ago on the basis of available skills in a non-elastic market.'Other experts agreed. Dave Kirby, managing director of decommissioning contractor Jordan Nuclear explained that the industry was facing a skills black hole that could only be plugged by increasing salaries: 'It's going to be very difficult to persuade people to come across [to the nuclear sector] when you've got lots of highly paid construction jobs elsewhere in the UK,' he said.Read also claimed that the skills shortage could soon be heightened as the US is planning to relax its visa requirements in order to attract people with expertise in fields including nuclear engineering. 'In the last 18 months engineering salaries have gone up 30% to 35%, especially in the oil and gas sectors, which require similar skills to nuclear. To attract people into the nuclear industry you'll have to pay people 20% to 25% on top of that.'