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Last Updated: Thursday, 7 August, 2003, 15:31 GMT 16:31 UK
Post-Sellafield jobs crisis predicted
Sellafield will eventually be decommissioned
The number of jobs at the Sellafield nuclear plant in Cumbria will drop significantly after the next decade, new research predicts.

The study, on the economic and social impact of the site, sets out how west Cumbria will benefit from the complex.

The report - West Cumbria Socio-Economic Study - suggests that for the next decade, the current 12,000 on site jobs will largely be maintained and could increase.

But it warns that thereafter, on-site jobs could fall significantly.

The report follows government moves away from nuclear power generation and more reliance on renewable energies, such as wind and wave power.

The report is based on plant owner British Nuclear Fuels Limited's (BNFL) 2002 corporate plan and has been published by the Environment Council (EC).

The EC is charity which examines the environmental issues faced by major companies.

Steven Broomhead, chief executive of the Northwest Development Agency, said: "We welcomes this report, which gives an indication of the challenges and opportunities ahead.

We recognise that serious problems lie ahead, with major reductions in employment likely early in the next decade
Rex Toft, leader of Cumbria County Council
"This agency is already working with local authorities in Cumbria and the two regeneration companies to maximise the opportunities associated with the emerging nuclear clean-up industry.

"We are committed to ensuring that west Cumbria is well prepared to make the transition needed in order to maintain employment levels and economic growth in the long term.

"In due course the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) will arrive in west Cumbria.

"This provides a unique opportunity for the area and North West region as a whole, to be at the forefront of a new industry that has international potential and in doing so create new jobs and growth.

'Continued employment'

"The first step is to understand the implications of the NDA's plans for the Sellafield site - as its new owner - and hence we have committed to carry out a further in depth study into the economic and social impacts of the clean up programme."

Rex Toft the leader of Cumbria County Council, added: "We very much welcome the new report, which implies a number of years of continued employment at Sellafield.

"With the coming of the NDA to Cumbria, there is an opportunity to enhance economic development in west Cumbria.

"Nevertheless we recognise that serious problems lie ahead with major reductions in employment likely early in the next decade.

"This means we need to act now to ensure a prosperous long-term future for west Cumbria as activity at Sellafield increasingly focuses on decommissioning."

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