Short–term funding cycle threatens nuclear skills

Short–term funding cycle threatens nuclear skills

Prospect has warned that the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority’s failure to prioritise skills in its latest Draft Business Plan for 2008-09 is a big mistake in the light of the promising future for the nuclear industry.

On behalf of 15,000 scientists, engineers and specialists in the nuclear and radioactive waste management industry, National Secretary Mike Graham, said: “In the current state of the economy, the nuclear industry and the prospect of new build are a potential source of new, high-quality jobs.

“Yet the short-term nature of the NDA plan, and its requirement for at least 3% savings to be delivered each year over the 2007 comprehensive spending review period, means once again that staff face an uncertain future.

“Prospect recognises that the NDA is constrained by government spending limits, which is why the emphasis in its strategy has changed from decommissioning to keeping high hazard areas in a safe state.

“But we believe the government is being very shortsighted. It needs to make a long-term commitment to nuclear decommissioning. A completely new funding regime is required for the NDA, which takes into account the long-term planning required for the industry. Ministers cannot fund nuclear decommissioning and hazard reduction on a three-year funding cycle. We need a holistic plan that recognises that, and a wider remit for the NDA.”

Prospect’s response to the plan, submitted to the NDA today, points out that the plan cannot even identify funding for year three, despite the need for decommissioning to take place over a period of many decades. The full document is available from the Prospect library