To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to provide the skills and manpower required to build and deliver the proposed new nuclear power stations; and what assessment they have made of the likelihood of those plans delivering that programme. [HL4339]
The Government recognise the challenge of ensuring that the UK has enough skilled workers to maintain and decommission existing nuclear power stations as well as building new ones.
Specifically we are improving science provision in schools, have charged the Sector Skills Council with taking forward a training strategy, and have helped set up the National Skills Academy for Nuclear to improve the supply of specialist skills at all levels.
The Office for Nuclear Development (OND) in DECC has fostered links with all of the various skills bodies, other government departments, academia and industry involved in the nuclear sector to ensure that all are working towards the same goals of ensuring enough skilled people to build a new generation of nuclear power stations.
The OND is currently working in partnership with a number of bodies, including Cogent (the sector skills council responsible for nuclear) to develop a high level skills and capability plan detailing exactly what skills will be needed, the volume of different skills and when they will be needed in order to be able to have new nuclear power plants built and generating electricity by 2018. With this detailed plan in place we will then work to identify and close any potential skills gaps in the nuclear workforce before they become critical. A report will be published in autumn 2009.