Developing a Human Resources Roadmap for New Nuclear Power Programmes
(Photo: D. Simittchieva/IAEA)
2013-10-07│ The challenges, opportunities and lessons learned in developing and maintaining a highly skilled, competent workforce for a new or expanding nuclear power programme were the focus of a four-day IAEA meeting which concluded last Friday.
Experts involved in human resources development and management in 15 Member States, representing both newcomers and experienced nuclear countries, discussed what it takes to develop and implement a sustainable, strategic human resources 'roadmap' and build the required national capacity for a nuclear power programme.
"To achieve and maintain high levels of safety and efficiency, nuclear power plants must be staffed with an adequate number of highly qualified and experienced people who are duly aware of the technical and management requirements of safe operation," said Mr Pal Vince, Head of the IAEA Nuclear Power Engineering Section.
"The challenge is to have the right number of right people in the right place at the right time," said Mr Tae Joon Lee from the Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute (KAERI), who chaired the meeting. "This requires a long lead time and involves many different stakeholders. A well-established human resources roadmap and an integrated human resource development plan that both reflect the policy and strategy for a country’s nuclear power programme are essential."
Countries with operating nuclear power programmes, including France, India, the Republic of Korea and Mexico shared their lessons learned in human resource development, while countries considering, embarking on, or expanding a nuclear power programme (Egypt, Pakistan, Romania, South Africa and Turkey) talked about the challenges they face. Opportunities for education and training, and support from experienced to embarking countries were outlined by France, Japan, the Republic of Korea and the Russian Federation.
These lessons and experiences, as well as results from discussions in smaller breakout groups, will contribute to a 'human resources roadmap' document, which the IAEA is preparing. The new publication is targeted at high level decision makers and identifies the key decisions to be made, and activities to be undertaken by a Member State in the area of human resources development for a new or expanding nuclear power programme. "We've made a substantial contribution to the IAEA’s work and will continue to contribute to the document," said Chairman Lee.
"Long term strategic planning for the necessary human resources should already begin in Phase 1 of the IAEA 'Milestones' approach, during the considerations before a decision to launch a nuclear power programme is taken," emphasized Mr Brian Molloy, the Scientific Secretary of the meeting. To date, human resources development tends to be more a focus of Phase 2, when the preparatory work for the construction of a nuclear power plant starts after a policy decision has been taken.
"Also, managerial competence should be developed in balance with technical expertise," said Mr Lee summarizing the feedback. This includes strategic, commercial and social capabilities, as well as dealing with stakeholders.
Experienced countries should help embarking ones in setting up a human resources roadmap, as newcomers may not have sufficient competencies in building up the required workforce. Support in self-assessments on human resource planning would also be beneficial. If a newcomer country has some capabilities in establishing a human resources roadmap and plan, then vendor country assistance can be utilized more efficiently.
The Technical Meeting on Human Resources Roadmap and Capacity Building for New and Expanding Nuclear Power Programmes was held at the IAEA on 1−4 October 2013.
Contact Brian Molloy at: Nuclear Energy Human Resource Development - Contact Point
Technical Meeting Group Photo
Milestones in the Development of a National Infrastructure for Nuclear Power
IAEA Nuclear Energy Series NG-G-3.1