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nucleareurope supports National Nuclear Workforce Assessment workshop

On 25 January 2024, nucleareurope Director General Yves Desbazeille and DG Office, Legal & Intl Relations Director Berta Picamal participated in a workshop co-organised by the Joint Research Centre/European Human Resources Observatory for the Nuclear field (EHRO-N), nucleareurope and ENS. The workshop focused on approaches for managing human resources and competences in the nuclear sector.

During the opening session Yves provided an overview of the 150GW target of installed nuclear capacity by 2050 set by the Nuclear Alliance of Member States and highlighted what this means in terms of skills. He noted the role which Small Modular Reactors (SMRs) will play and the fact that this may change the way in which we build and integrate nuclear into the energy system.  In terms of what needs to be done to ensure that we have the skilled workforce to meet our future human resource requirements, he noted that:

  • On the one hand, industry needs to clearly communicate what workers they are going to need over the next couple of decades and which skills they are looking for
  • On the other, it is clear that more needs to be done to encourage more young people into STEM subjects in general. Here he suggested that the EU should tackle this aspect in order to increase the number of students with STEM skills which could then go on to specialise in nuclear topics.

Berta participated in the first workshop focused on national perspectives. Here, she noted that as part of the ENEN2Plus project, nucleareurope was the lead partner on a task to assess the industry’s needs in terms of human resources up to 2035.  Based on the responses received from industry, a significant volume of skilled personnel will be required to build and operate the new nuclear projects foreseen over the next decade, as well as in areas covering regulatory aspects and waste management. Between now and 2035 between 148,000 and 167,000 people will need to be recruited in the nuclear industry in EU27+UK (with direct jobs accounting for between 50,000 to 60,000). The types of jobs which the industry will be looking to fill include process engineers, operators, and construction engineers 

Achieving this will require:

  • Clear Government policies and plans as these will play a vital role in providing a clear and stable framework for the nuclear sector.  By establishing long-term commitments to nuclear energy, governments provide the industry and its supply chain with the confidence needed to make strategic workforce decisions
  • Promotion of National Nuclear Workforce Assessments (NWA) in order to comprehensively understand current and future human resource demands.
  • The introduction of multidisciplinary curricula E&T providers to better fit with the evolving needs of the industry

In addition, industry will also have to:

  • Systematically provide input which will enable the updating of national NWAs
  • Ensure greater harmonisation of vocational education and training at international level in order to adapt to changes in the labour market.
  • Show greater recognition of transfer of critical expertise and best practices, senior employees’ expertise and know-how as a key-asset. 

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