Tuesday, 3 April 2007

More on Prerequisite Infrastructure – HELP Wanted!

From Chapter 10 if the recent review of Uranium Mining, Processing and Nuclear Energy.

Significant additional skilled human resources will be required if Australia is to increase its participation in the nuclear fuel cycle.

The number of personnel required to participate in various stages of the nuclear fuel cycle are similar to those needed for many other industrial processes (Table 10.1). Although the required skills sets are not unique to the nuclear sector, their area of application is. Issues such as quality control and stringent safety standards also create a need for additional training.

Although lead times for the construction of nuclear fuel cycle facilities could be several years, it would be important to establish the appropriate skills for planning, regulation and design at an early stage. The establishment of a skilled workforce, including local training of personnel and international recruitment, would need to be considered at the same time that Australia’s policy decision about the nuclear fuel cycle is determined.

And similarly in the USA as reported here (sorry to keep comparing with the Yanks, but their information is just too easy to find).

The average age of a worker in nuclear power is 48, among the oldest of any industry. In three years, a quarter of those workers will be eligible for retirement forcing power generators to fill more than 15,000 highly specialized jobs at 104 reactors nationwide.

I invite all to attend an ANA meeting sometime and count the number of heads that are not silver (if there’s much hair left). I mean no offense - they are very wise gentlemen.

While I'm on the subject of the ANA, why not attend the 25 July, 2007 meeting. It looks to be about this very subject.

Back to the news article…

Twenty new reactors are scheduled to be built in the coming years…

Thomas Rumsey [GE Nuclear]: "We've hired about 300 people the last couple years in a row."

The starting salary for a nuclear engineer out of college is just over $54,000 [over $66,000 Australian], that's up 6.6 percent from last year.

And it's not just nuclear engineers who are in short supply. Electrical, civil, and chemical engineers are needed, as well as skilled electricians, plumbers and cement layers.

Note they are quoting 20 reactors to be constructed in the coming years within the USA. And Australia is supposed to be pondering 25??

One of the strategies mentioned in the above review suggests a wooing of science, engineering and technology (SET) resources away from other countries. Nuclear Engineers in Europe are compensated, on average, a bit better than in the USA (Eastern-Europe notwithstanding).

Australian regulatory agencies and utilities will have to compete for these resources if a serious nuclear endeavour is undertaken.

There may also be interest in this article.

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