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Nuclear inspector recruitment drive to start

LONDON (Reuters) - The government is about to start recruiting more nuclear inspectors, aiming to ease a bottleneck in the current workload and the process of approving designs for new nuclear power stations.

The Health and Safety Executive on Friday confirmed reports that theTreasury had accepted its case for a pay increase for nuclear inspectors, bringing them into line with the rest of the industry.

A spokesman also confirmed that a recruitment drive was about to start to help the Nuclear Installations Inspectorate meet existing and future workload.

The first move will be an job advert in the Sunday Times newspaper, he said.

The government is expected to decide in early January whether to give the go-ahead to a new generation of nuclear reactors.

The global nuclear industry looks set for a renaissance with the world seeking to wean itself off fossil fuels blamed for global warming.

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The industry has grown little in Europe since the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster damaged its safety credentials.

The government has signalled its support for nuclear power, which is virtually CO2 free and would help Britain meet EU-wide goals of cutting CO2 emissions by 20 percent by 2020.

It is looking at four possible reactor designs with a view to pre-approving them to speed the planning and building process.

But German utility E.ON, which is interested in building in the UK, warned in October of a “significant risk of delay” in pre-approval due to a shortage of inspection staff.

A recent survey found their average pay was up to 15 percent below industry averages.

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