A Message from the Chair

This year’s winter program, “Future Nuclear Technologies: Resilience and Flexibility” caused me to take a moment’s pause. First let me share some background on why…

A recent assessment of the commercial nuclear workforce indicated that there would be 25,000 positions to be filled in the next 4 years. And this is just the jobs we survey primarily in commercial generation. It doesn’t account for DOE, NRC, OEMs, constructors, outage companies, educators and certainly other fields that require the same or similar credentials. Bottom line… the number is likely higher. Retirement of baby-boomers, long threatened to hurt the industry, hasn’t seemed to materialize but that is a situation that cannot be put off forever. It will come…

So the result of my pause over this year’s program focus is simply this: How resilient and flexible is our workforce development system? How resilient and flexible is our workforce? And finally, how resilient and flexible are the education and training processes and pipelines that produce the worker we need to continue to operate and maintain our plants safely and efficiently?

Our industry has responded to a great number of challenges both historically and in recent times. We have actively sought opportunity to sustain rigor and discipline in our training programs, to pursue excellence in preparing our plants and our people, to ensure that we are second to none when it comes to protecting public health and safety as well as the safety and health of our employees. I know we will continue to aggressively pursue these things.

But, our world is changing around us more rapidly than we could have imagined. The globalization of nuclear power, current light water reactor sustainability, issues of knowledge transfer from outgoing to incoming generation, the diversity we are promoting in our workforce, uniformity and standardization of technician and other education programs, the emergence of small modular reactors and the digitization of our current operations and the new threats of proliferation and cyber attack, all of these require resilient and flexible people, systems, educational processes and workforce systems. I hope that you will join me at this year’s conference and consider how we can and should implement the people programs and processes that will sustain and grow nuclear power as a source of clean, safe and affordable energy.

This year’s program includes many opportunities to consider these issues including:

Student Design Competition – Mon. p.m.
The Innovations in Fuel Cycle Research Awards Program — A Student Competition – Tues. a.m.
Becoming a Nuclear Spokesperson – Panel – Tues. p.m.
Telling the Nuclear Story Using Online Video and Broadcast – Panel – Tues. p.m.
Cutting Edge Techniques in Education, Training, and Distance Learning – Wed. a.m.
Education, Training, and Workforce Development: General – Wed. p.m.

Best regards,
Richard Holman, Chair
Education, Training and Workforce Development Division

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