Nuclear powerplant development in the U.K. and U.S. is moving forward with vigor. In the U.K., imminent eBay-style land sales will lead to the first major financial commitments by power companies in the nation’s emerging nuclear-plant program. In the U.S., the Nuclear Regulatory Commission is processing 17 applications for 26 possible new nuclear powerplants even as new questions arise over whether the government’s Yucca Mountain nuclear-waste repository will ever open.
Construction of a fleet of new plants in the U.K. is not expected to start until 2013, but nuclear power already seems to be fueling the otherwise gloomy jobs market. London-based contractor and service company Amec PLC, London, “is recruiting quite steadily [for] new build and maintenance,” says Harold Ashmore, spokesman for the firm’s nuclear division. Amec has decommissioning business at the Sellafield, Cumbria, nuclear-fuel plant.