Enriching nuclear’s human element

February 7, 2023, 7:02AMNuclear NewsCraig Piercy

Craig Piercy
cpiercy@ans.org

This month’s Nuclear News focuses on the challenges of building and maintaining a strong, productive nuclear technology workforce. While my sense is that U.S. nuclear is in significant growth mode, I’ve made a habit of asking our Utility Working Conference and Winter Meeting exhibitors, “What is the most significant challenge you face today?” The answer is almost always some form of “finding good talent.” Conversely, ask any nuclear engineering student about their career prospects, and you will likely get a confident response, so it seems that multiple offers are becoming the norm in the nuclear tech employment market.

Of course, empirical data is harder to come by. A 2019 study by the National Association of State Energy Officials and the Energy Futures Initiative found 60,916 workers employed in U.S. nuclear power generation, with another 9,406 employed in the nuclear fuels sector. But we still lack good, publicly available numbers for national labs, universities, and suppliers, as well as any job focused on nonnuclear applications of nuclear technology.

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