What skills are most needed in the advanced reactor workforce?

February 15, 2023, 7:05AMNuclear NewsNick Touran

Nick Touran

I got into nuclear engineering when I realized I could apply my passion for computers to the critical human challenge of energy. After training, I spent the past 13-plus years building automated and integrated engineering analysis tools for the efficient design/licensing of advanced nuclear reactors. Given what I’ve seen, I expect that modern high-level programming languages and data systems will continue to enable new efficiencies in analysis, configuration management, work planning, procurement, training, compliance, and execution in operations. The magnitude of potential impact laid out, for example, in Information Technology for Nuclear Power Plant Configuration Management (IAEA-TECDOC-1651) is well within reach. These impacts are identical to those promised by digital twins. Achieving these goals will require more information workers in the offices of nuclear vendors and operators to develop sophisticated skills in software engineering, database administration, statistics, and business analytics. Additionally, decision makers must be better trained to best understand and choose specialized IT systems and software.