South West Nuclear Sector Worth £1.6bn in 2016

The Nuclear South West Partnership has welcomed a new study released this week which shows that the impact of the nuclear sector on the economy in the south west was worth £1.6bn in 2016, second only to the north west of England.

This new study, compiled by experts Oxford Economics, commissioned by the Nuclear Industry Association, highlights some of the opportunities in the region, such as the construction of the new power station at Hinkley Point C and several decommissioning sites.

The study found that in total, the UK’s civil nuclear sector last year contributed £6.4 billion to the economy; so the cluster of businesses operating within the area of the Nuclear South West Partnership have an opportunity to increase the region’s contribution to UK plc.

Nuclear South West (NSW) is a partnership between the nuclear industry network in the south west and the stakeholder alliance of the Local Enterprise Partnerships: Heart of the South West, West of England, Dorset and GFirst; the academic and skills sector and business support agencies.

Research by Nuclear South West anticipates that over the next 20 years, there will be at least £50billion worth of contracts available to south west companies across 15 projects in new build, decommissioning and defence.

There are over 180 nuclear companies and organisations in the area, with over 8,000 highly skilled workers, which is increasing due to interventions made by the LEPs and partners.

NSW has been working to harness the immense opportunities presented by the nuclear sector through projects such as the National College for Nuclear, which provides technical training for the sector, and the Hinkley Supply Chain, co-funded by the Heart of the South West and West of England LEPs, which helps local businesses take up contracts generated by the industry. The Somerset Energy Innovation Centre provides a business hub for nuclear power, and the Growth Deal funded Hinkley Point Training Agency supports technical learning to upskill the local workforce to be equipped for the high level skills required in the industry.

Other initiatives across the south west include the South West Nuclear Hub in Bristol, which brings together academic and industrial expertise in the nuclear sector, the Berkley Green Skills Centre in Gloucester and the Junction 21 Enterprise Centre off the M5.

Matt Burley, Chair of Nuclear South West said:

“We welcome the findings of this new report, that shows the nuclear sector was worth £1.6bn to the economy last year. This figure is about to grow with more contracts generated through the Hinkley Point C Supply Chain and decommissioning of Hinkley Point B within the next decade.

“We look forward to more announcements in the coming weeks from Government about a Nuclear Sector Deal. We submitted a thorough response to the draft Industrial Strategy consultation earlier this year, and were encouraged by the acknowledgment of the growth potential in the Industrial Strategy white paper last week. Now we want to work with government and our partners in the region to make these ideas into a reality that will benefit the whole region’s economy.

The study shows this economic impact increases to £12.4 billion and 155,000 jobs when the sector’s spend on associated goods and services in the supply chain and the wage spend by employees is taken into account.

Each nuclear sector employee contributes an average of £96,600 in gross value added (GVA) to the economy, 73% higher than the UK average, reflecting the highly-skilled nature of the workforce and the use of advanced technologies.

This direct impact, while accounting for 0.3% of UK GDP, also generates substantial sums in taxes paid to the Exchequer, with the report estimating the sector paid around £2.8 billion in tax payments in 2016, rising to £4.5 billion when associated spend is included.

The benefits of the civil nuclear sector are felt across the country with the industry’s activities supporting £1 in every £50 of economic output in the north west and south west of England.

The data is released as part of the NIA’s first Nuclear Activity Report which outlines the progress made across the nuclear sector in 2016.

Tom Greatrex, Chief Executive of the Nuclear Industry Association, said:

“For the first time we have comprehensive data which shows the important role the UK’s civil nuclear sector plays in generating highly skilled and well paid jobs, making a significant contribution to the economy.

“The UK’s nuclear sector is a vital part of the UK’s industrial heritage and the government’s Industrial Strategy and the work being undertaken to bring forward a Nuclear Sector Deal will be vital to underpinning and ultimately increasing this contribution.”

Notes to Editors:

Nuclear South West (NSW) is a partnership between the nuclear industry network in the south west and the stakeholder alliance of the Local Enterprise Partnerships: Heart of the South West, West of England and GFirst; the academic and skills sector and business support agencies. More information is available at: http://nuclearsouthwest.co.uk/

The Nuclear Industry Association report is available at: https://www.niauk.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/Nuclear-Activity-Report.pdf