Building the workforce of tomorrow

February 8, 2023, 7:04AMNuclear NewsSteven Arndt

Steven Arndt

One of the duties of the ANS president is to visit with American Nuclear Society student sections. As some of you know, I have been doing this both in person and virtually. Although meeting via Zoom and other platforms is easier in terms of scheduling and travel, there is nothing like being able to interact face to face. Visiting student sections in person has been the highlight of my time as president. As I have stated on several occasions, the enthusiasm and excitement I have seen among the nuclear engineering students in the U.S. is nothing short of exhilarating!

When we think of workforce planning, those of us who have had long associations with universities naturally think first of undergraduate and graduate nuclear engineering programs at our universities, but this is of course only a part of the overall solution. The first—and in many ways the most important—part of workforce development is getting our nation’s youth excited about nuclear science and technology.

Enriching nuclear’s human element

February 7, 2023, 7:02AMNuclear NewsCraig Piercy

Craig Piercy

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.

A review of workforce trends in the nuclear community

February 3, 2023, 3:01PMEdited February 3, 2023, 3:01PMNuclear News

The nuclear community is undergoing a moment of unprecedented interest and growth not seen in decades. The passage of the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and the Inflation Reduction Act are providing a multitude of new funding opportunities for the nuclear community, and not just the current fleet. A mix of technologies and reactor types are being evaluated and deployed, with Vogtle Units 3 and 4 coming on line later this year, the Advanced Reactor Demonstration Projects of X-energy and TerraPower, and NuScale’s work with Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems to build a first-of-a-kind small modular reactor, making this is an exciting time to join the nuclear workforce.

The need for sustainable nuclear/alpha skills in the U.K.: A Sellafield perspective

February 1, 2023, 4:03PMNuclear NewsHenry Hickling

The United Kingdom’s nuclear renaissance

The United Kingdom’s nuclear industry is expanding, with the U.K. government committed to supporting the build of more civil nuclear power plants (deployments up to 24 GW by 2050)1 while also undertaking large-scale decommissioning work in parallel.2 The defense sector is experiencing growth with the decommissioning, operation, and new build of submarines, plus managing the U.K.’s deterrent.3 Although the civil and defense programs are separate, they draw on the same group of skills and people.