France’s Ministry of Energy Transition last Friday announced an investment of more than €100 million ($108 million) in civil nuclear sector training, research, and innovation in alignment with President Emmanuel Macron’s October 2021 unveiling of the “France 2030” investment plan, as well as his February 2022 call for a “rebirth of France’s nuclear industry.” (Among other things, Macron’s envisioned rebirth includes the construction of at least six new nuclear reactors and life extensions for the country’s existing units.)
The breakdown: According to the ministry, funds will be allocated as follows:
- €42 million for training programs.
- €40 million for the modernization of the equipment of the Large Heavy Ion National Accelerator, or GANIL.
- €25 million for start-up firms Naarea and Newcleo—the first two winners in a call for innovative reactor proposals under the France 2030 plan.
- Significant public funding for the front-end design phase of Électricité de France’s Nuward small modular reactor project.
Plus: The Université des Métiers du Nucléaire has submitted a detailed action plan on skills so that the French nuclear industry is able to attract, train, and recruit the 100,000 people it would need over the next 10 years to carry out all its industrial projects, the ministry said.
The action plan, according to the announcement, “provides a business-by-business analysis of all existing training courses and proposes concrete actions for each one, such as the creation of new training courses or actions aimed at strengthening the attractiveness and visibility of the courses.”
The university offered a set of 30 concrete actions with the following aims:
- Strengthen the attractiveness of jobs and training in the nuclear field.
- Promote the orientation of students towards scientific and technical courses.
- Broaden recruitment pools to attract underrepresented groups to the nuclear industry.
- Adapt the offer of initial and continuing vocational training.
- Successfully integrate new employees into companies through what the ministry describes as “a sector strategy in terms of companionship and by facilitating intergenerational skills transfers.”