The civil nuclear sector employs 64,509 people across the UK, an increase of over 3,000 compared to 2021, although the NIA said urgent investment is needed to sustain that trend and ensure that nationally critical skills are not lost as the existing nuclear fleet retires.
The Hinkley Point C nuclear project in Southwest England employs around 8,000 people, up from 6,300 in 2021, at what is the largest construction site in Europe. Over 950 apprentices having been trained on the project to date, and it will continue to support thousands of jobs across the country as it begins its next major phase.
As a replica of Hinkley Point C, the much-delayed Sizewell C nuclear station in southeast England would also deliver thousands of new jobs, so government action to get the project to a final investment decision is vital, the NIA said.
In September, former prime minister Boris Johnson promised £700m (€802m) of funding to get the project into operation as part of a drive to improve the UK’s energy security.
Innovations in advanced nuclear technology have also driven the sector’s strong employment presence, with a strong and growing workforce led by Rolls-Royce developing its SMR in Derby and Warrington. Over 330 jobs have already been created, more than double last year’s number, and Rolls-Royce SMR deployment could create 6,000 additional jobs.
The UK is also pursuing next-generation high temperature gas-cooled reactor designs that would also be led by and build on the achievements of British engineering.
Elsewhere, the UK’s world-class nuclear fusion research expertise sees more than 2,200 people employed at the Culham Centre for Fusion Energy in Oxfordshire, as another solution for a net-zero 21st century.