Sizewell A jobs boost

SIZEWELL A nuclear power plant is set to deliver a major jobs boost - as its electricity-generating days come to an end.The workforce at the site, near Leiston, will soar by 15% in a year as it enters a new recruitment drive for a range of technicians, managers and financial experts to cope with the workload created by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority's desire to speed up the planned clean-up of decommissioned sites.

SIZEWELL A nuclear power plant is set to deliver a major jobs boost - as its electricity-generating days come to an end.

The workforce at the site, near Leiston, will soar by 15% in a year as it enters a new recruitment drive for a range of technicians, managers and financial experts to cope with the workload created by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority's desire to speed up the planned clean-up of decommissioned sites.

The station is due to stop generating power in December 2006, but then enters a work-intensive defuelling and decommissioning phase.

“Since the introduction of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority in April 2005, there has been a great focus on acceleration of decommissioning activities at the UK's oldest nuclear power plants,” a Sizewell A spokesman said.


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“Managers have responded to the challenges of accelerated decommissioning with plans to adopt a new structure focused on project delivery, to be implemented immediately after the New Year.”

In April of this year, the number of full-time equivalent posts at the plant numbered 414, and have since grown to 434. By next April, staff numbers are expected to reach 478, providing a welcome jobs and economic boost to the area.

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All the new posts are permanent staff positions, and considered “long term requirements”, the company says.

In addition to these, more jobs will be created through contract work, such as a demolition contract later this year.

Around 60% of the post-generation Sizewell A workforce will be spread across four main areas - waste, decommissioning preparations, infrastructure and defuelling. The remaining 40% will work within functional teams, such as health and safety, commercial, project control, finance, human resources and engineering.

British Nuclear Group, which runs the station for the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, said there would be new employment opportunities for the local community. At the moment, 46% of its workforce comes from the Saxmundham and Leiston area.

So far, the fresh staff intake has included three local graduates who are working within the commercial and heath and safety departments.

The forthcoming recruitment drive will be aiming to attract the specialist staff needed for the site's transition from its operating phase into parallel defuelling and decommissioning.

Posts up for grabs will include specialised technicians, safety professionals, commercial specialists, financial experts, health physics monitors and project managers.

Sizewell A human resources manager Jo Woolley said although its power-producing days would soon be over, there would still be job opportunities at the plant.

“As we approach the end of our generating lifetime, we are pleased to continue our contribution to the local economy through the provision of exciting employment opportunities across a range of disciplines,” she said.

“This also demonstrates that life at Sizewell A does not end when we stop producing electricity. To the contrary, it is the beginning of a whole new chapter in the life of the station.”

Suffolk Coastal District Council Leader Ray Herring welcomed the jobs it would bring to the area.

“It is clearly good news that there will be an increase in jobs at Sizewell A, and I hope that local people will be able to grab the opportunities on offer,” he said.

“The decommissioning of Sizewell A will mean a short-term increase in the number of people employed there as they begin the long and painstaking process of taking it part safely.

“Looking to the medium and longer term future, the company has already been in discussion with this council about how it will support its current workers when they are no longer needed. Training and individual packages for staff including early retirement are among the proposed options, and I am extremely pleased that the company will be looking to work directly with us and the county council to stimulate the growth of new small businesses in the area to help create new jobs.”

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