North West at centre of the UK’s nuclear industry


The North West remains the leading hub of the nuclear industry, according to the latest report published today (September 14) by The Nuclear Industry Association (NIA).

The findings show robust jobs figures, showing that the number of people employed in the industry as a whole has remained steady, despite the pandemic.

According to the NIA’s annual Jobs Map, 59,584 people are employed in the civil nuclear sector across the UK, a slight increase on 2019.

All parts of the industry, including generation, new build, decommissioning and research and development, have sustained operations throughout the disruptions of COVID-19.

Thousands of workers in the existing fleet across Scotland and England have ensured that no station has had to stop producing power because of the pandemic, and Hunterston B has been able to restart generation, underscoring the resilience of the sector.

The report confirms that the North West remains the leading hub of the nuclear industry, with more than 24,000 people employed in highly skilled disciplines including decommissioning, fuel cycle research, generation and reactor design.

Sellafield Limited, in Cumbria, remains the largest employer with more than 8,000 people who sustain its global reputation for dealing with legacy issues.

In Lancashire, Heysham I and Heysham II sustain more than 1,000 jobs and provide an essential source of low-carbon power to the nation.

The sector retains a strong presence in other regions.

New build projects have played a key role in sustaining employment and improving the UK’s construction skills base: Hinkley Point C in the South West employs around 4,500 people on site.

The UK’s world-class nuclear research expertise sees more than 1,700 people employed at the Culham Centre for Fusion Energy in Oxfordshire, and others employed in modular reactor design at sites around the country.

Tom Greatrex, NIA chief executive, said: “The nuclear industry has shown extraordinary resilience in sustaining high-skilled, well-paid jobs and keeping the lights on throughout this pandemic.

“The growth in employment on new-build projects and advanced research and development shows how investing in emissions-free, reliable and secure nuclear power can cut emissions and create the skilled, long-term jobs we need for a green recovery.

“Now the Government should back nuclear workers by committing to new nuclear capacity as an essential part of the net zero energy mix.”