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University and Lloyd's Register Educational Trust Unveils Nuclear-specialist Chair

Story supplied by LU Press Office

Michael Kayser of the Lloyd's Register Educational Trust Michael Kayser of the Lloyd's Register Educational Trust

Lancaster University and The Lloyd's Register Educational Trust (LRET), an independent charity wholly funded by leading international risk management group Lloyd's Register, last night announced the creation of a nuclear-specialist university Chair, marking the UK's first response to the regulatory skills gap currently present in the nuclear industry.

The launch of the 'Lloyd's Register Educational Trust Chair in Nuclear Engineering and Decommissioning' at Lancaster University comes only days after the UK Government announced it was giving the go ahead for nuclear power to form part of the UK's future energy mix.

The LRET is providing £755,000 in funding for the chair, for a period of five years. The programme launch follows an extensive evaluation of UK universities offering nuclear-based courses, which concluded Lancaster as being best placed to focus on meeting the needs of decommissioning and a new reactor build programme.

The Lloyd's Register Group provides assurance of the safety of nuclear facilities through independent verification and validation of the processes from conceptual design, construction to commissioning and operation. It has been involved with over 85 nuclear projects worldwide and was the Independent Third Party Inspection Authority (ITPIA) for the Sizewell B plant.

The Group believes that by taking action now, the shortage of skills and supply can be addressed so that the proposed new nuclear power stations can be constructed and brought into safe operation.

Group CEO, Richard Sadler,is convinced that the new Chair at Lancaster University is a major step forward in providing the skills that the UK's nuclear industry will need in the future, saying:

"Through our Educational Trust, we are extremely proud to be involved in placing greater focus on our nuclear industry and the opportunities to give students appropriate qualifications to become experts in the field and over come the significant skills shortage in the UK."

Mr Sadler added: "The Chair will see an improved focus on skills in the nuclear industry, providing additional skilled workers in the nuclear industry and go a long way to ensuring safety across future nuclear programmes in the UK. We agree with the Government that safety in the nuclear industry is a priority and can be managed so that the risks are acceptably low."

The nuclear industry will face a serious skills shortfall in the near future and with demand expected to grow, is anticipated to need up to 1,000 new graduates a year for the next 15 years.

The Lloyd's Register Educational Trust chair in Nuclear Engineering and Decommissioning will help plug this skills gap, building on Lancaster University's strong track record in Nuclear Engineering and acting as strategic contact between University researchers, academics and the nuclear industry.

Lancaster University has strong research expertise in nuclear safety and specialises in education surrounding nuclear engineering, making it a suitable partner for the Lloyd's Register Educational Trust and providing a clear way to ensure the work force of the nuclear industry in the years to come.

Michael Franklin, Director of the LRET, commented: "Lancaster University has a proven track record in undergraduate and post graduate education in this field, a broad research portfolio across a number of disciplines as well as strong links with the nuclear industry. We are very pleased to support this important initiative which will help make a significant contribution to the industry's future needs."

Mon 14 January 2008

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