Fears have recently arisen in the nuclear sector that there may be struggles to gain skilled workers to assist with upcoming power plant projects due to increased demand on other major projects such as HS2.
Contractor Costain and client Horizon discussed the issues they were facing with their planning for Wylfa Newydd, a new nuclear power plant in Anglesey. At the Institute of Civil Engineers’ conference on the future of nuclear, Rob Phillips, Costain’s nuclear sector director, discussed how larger infrastructure projects were more easily able to attract a skilled labour market due to their positioning around large towns and cities.
He stated: “The challenge for the nuclear industry is that there is transport, water, oil and gas projects which mean people have choices, like HS2, Crossrail and Crossrail 2.
“They will choose rail and highways because they are there. If we can move power stations to centres of [the] population it will make the industry more attractive, so we can bring those skills into the industry.”
Martin Walsh, head of civil engineering for Horizon Nuclear Power, spoke at the same event: “Anglesey is a relatively remote part of the world. We recognise that most of the supply chain and workforce doesn’t currently live in or around Anglesey, so that’s why we’ve created 4,000 living accommodation units.”
It has been estimated that as many as 6,000 workers are required for projects like Wylfa Newydd during their construction and a further 1,000 are needed once complete for maintenance. In areas such as Anglesey successfully obtaining this amount of workers is a lot more difficult than projects such as London where the workforce is so readily available- it leaves one questioning the ability for such projects to provide a cost-effective construction.
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