Retirees and older pros return to the nuclear industry

May 28, 2024, 2:58PMANS Nuclear Cafe

The U.K.-based Financial Times recently featured an article focusing on the return of retirees and the extending of professional careers in the nuclear industry in Western countries. According to the article, “the nuclear power industry is seeking to lure back thousands of retired engineers and older professionals as Western companies try to fill a skills gap to deliver the biggest wave of new projects in decades.”


American Nuclear Society Executive Director/Chief Executive Officer Craig Piercy calls this phenomenon a “silver tsunami.”

Concerns about both climate change and energy security are driving the revived interest in nuclear energy that is creating the need for older, experienced professionals, the Financial Times asserts. Countries specifically mentioned in the piece are the United States, Great Britain, France, Poland, and India.

Old pros: Jean-Marc Miraucourt, a 69-year-old retired engineer and manager who left his job at France’s EDF in 2019 and is now advising the company on various projects was quoted as saying, “I loved my job. Demand is greater now as we have concrete programs. We know there are needs and it would be a shame not to share some of our experience.”

Antony Woaye-Hune, a 62-year-old engineer and technical adviser who is training new employees at London-based Newcleo (where the chief scientific officer is 75 years old) and at EDF-owned Areva, is quoted as saying, “Newcleo is a start-up, there’s a new drive, a new dynamic, and new engineers who are going to add energy. I told myself I have to be there. People might say I’m at the end of my career. Maybe. I don’t know when the end of my career will be—we’ll see.”

Experconnect, a Paris-based employment agency that specializes in placing retirees, reported that it has “1,600 ex-nuclear workers, from scientists to welders, on its books.” Marie-Pierre de Montessus, an energy expert at the agency, said, “Demand has really grown. With the nuclear winter we experienced, there were no investments and hiring was frozen. We now go and see the big companies and show them that the skills of retirees are worth their weight in gold.”

ANS speaks: Piercy was also quoted in the article, saying, “You are seeing people stay in the nuclear game longer. I see a lot of people retiring who are not retiring.” He told the Financial Times that the average age of ANS members is 51.

ANS member Grace Stanke, a nuclear engineering student and Miss America 2023, noted that younger people are also being attracted to the nuclear industry. She said, “Gen Z’s generational issue is . . . climate change, and I find that most young people are very open to talking about nuclear energy.” She added that she has tried to show through her high-profile advocacy that nuclear engineers could be “approachable, social, funny, and ready to take on the world’s challenges.”

ANS member Todd Allen, chair of the Department of Nuclear Engineering and Radiological Sciences at the University of Michigan, reinforced Stanke’s point by observing that undergraduate enrollment in his department jumped to 79 students between spring 2023 and spring 2024, an increase from the 53 students in the department during the previous 12 months.

Related Articles

Strong performances across the board

May 8, 2024, 7:00AMNuclear News

Another year, another stellar performance by America’s nuclear plants. We’ve come to expect high capacity factors, and it’s a credit to the men and women of the profession. They’ve...

Framatome signs contracts with Sizewell C

April 18, 2024, 3:02PMNuclear News

French nuclear developer Framatome is slated to deliver key equipment for Sizewell C Ltd.’s two large reactors planned for the United Kingdom’s Suffolk coast.The agreement, reportedly...

Bringing Part 53 across the finish line

April 4, 2024, 9:26AMNuclear News

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s Regulatory Information Conference—“the RIC” as it’s commonly known—is an annual rite of spring for many nuclear energy professionals. Each...

Nuclear moments

March 21, 2024, 9:30AMNuclear NewsGrace Stanke

I just spent 13 months as Miss America 2023 advocating for nuclear energy. Throughout those 13 months, I traveled approximately 280,000 miles to 23 states and eight countries. I have now seen...

“Buy the best and only cry once”

March 14, 2024, 9:30AMNuclear News

Spoiler alert: America has one more nuclear reactor on line.It’s been a long, hard slog for the Vogtle reactor expansion project, and the news coverage has been tough. I would describe it as...