3 Jun (NucNet): Links between the nuclear research sector and education and training must be strengthened if the nuclear energy industry is to be assured of qualified human resources, the European Atomic Energy Society (EAES) has said.
The society, a scientific association founded in 1954, said in a statement following its 2013 annual meeting that qualified human resources for the nuclear industry, including nuclear regulation and research and development, are “a crucial prerequisite” for the safe and economic use of nuclear technology.
It said because of the stagnation of new build in some countries after the 1986 Chernobyl accident, the availability of those resources became an issue and the “low attractiveness” of nuclear professions, particularly for the highly qualified, became “a key concern”.
The impact of the March 2011 Fukushima-Daiichi accident in Japan aggravated the situation, the society said.
The relationship between nuclear education and training and nuclear research is of particular relevance if the industry wants to make sure qualified human resources are available for the future, the society said.
The quality of nuclear research depends directly on “the interest and engagement of highly qualified scientists and engineers”.
The society said research plays “a crucial role” towards the qualification of young scientists and engineers by providing the skills needed to solve technological and safety issues and to ensure “the capability for leadership” in private industry as well as governments and authorities involved with nuclear technology.
It called for the strengthening and formalising of links between nuclear research and nuclear education and training.
It said the mobility between industry and R&D organisations should be increased, and the nuclear industry needs to be engaged in the optimisation of research and educational programmes.
The EAES called for:
- Improvement in the opportunities for young scientists and engineers to work on challenging research topics;
- Opportunities for education and training programmes to include direct experience and experimental work in nuclear research;
- Strengthening the international dimension of nuclear education and training programmes to respond to the increasingly international character of the industry;
Nuclear research and development are vital if the industry is to maintain its knowledge and make the sector attractive for a new generation of employees, the society said.
Follow NucNet on Twitter @nucnetupdates