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IAEA Helps Nuclear Newcomers with Workforce Planning Tool

Construction work at the turbine building of Units 3 – 4 of the Mochovce Nuclear Power Plant, Slovakia

Construction work at the turbine building of Units 3 – 4 of the Mochovce Nuclear Power Plant, Slovakia. A nuclear power programme needs a skilled workforce from a wide range of backgrounds. (Photo: A. Evrensel/IAEA)

In developing the necessary workforce for new nuclear power programmes, the IAEA is making increased use of a new modelling tool to help newcomer countries understand their human resources requirements.

The so-called newcomers are countries that are considering or already working to add nuclear power in their energy mix. Workforce planning is an important component in the overall strategy for developing the necessary nuclear infrastructure.  When countries consider adding nuclear power to their energy mix, they need to know the number and types of qualified personnel that will be required to support the planning, procurement, construction, licensing, regulation, start-up and operation of a nuclear power plant.

The Nuclear Power Human Resources (NPHR) modelling software simulates both the education system and the workforce needed for constructing, operating and regulating the power plants.

The NPHR tool was provided cost-free by the US Government to the IAEA for free use by its Member States. The IAEA, for its part, has trained experts from newcomer countries interested in applying the modelling tool.

Turkey, for example, has developed its National Human Resources Development Plan for Nuclear Power Projects using the NPHR model to help estimate the number and type of personnel they need. "Turkey is the first newcomer country to use the NPHR model, share their modelling results with the IAEA and ask for feedback and further recommendations," said Brian Molloy from the IAEA Division of Nuclear Power, who led an IAEA expert mission to Turkey early this month.

The IAEA experts met representatives from several organizations involved in building the national nuclear infrastructure, including the Nuclear Energy Project Implementation Department of the Turkish Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources, the Turkish Atomic Energy Authority TAEK, the Akkuyu Project Company, the state owned Electricity Generation Company EUAS, the Ankara Chamber of Industry ASO and the Hacettepe University.

Planning in Kenya

In early June, a delegation from Kenya, another newcomer country, will receive training on using the NPHR model.

The IAEA will convene a meeting to further develop the model and train more trainers who can support other interested Member States, Molloy said.

The NPHR model runs on a set of data inputs which reflect all aspects of a nuclear power programme. It comes with a set of generic datasheets so that users can simply run the model to understand the workforce dynamics. However, as countries develop their nuclear power programmes, they can tailor the datasheets to more accurately reflect their national situation. The skill sets required differ from country to country and depend on the kind of reactor design used, as well as the existing national power and regulatory infrastructure. Planning is thus essential to ensure that the necessary education and training programmes are in place to be able to deliver qualified personnel.

The model's structure is consistent with the IAEA Milestones approach in the development of a national infrastructure for nuclear power and the Nuclear Energy Series Report on Workforce Planning published in 2011. It is expected that more and more countries will make use of the model and share experiences with both the IAEA and each other to improve their knowledge and the model itself.

Last update: 26 Jul 2017

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