NEST Building competence, Expert knowledge, Applied techniques, Safe decommissioning, Train fellows (BEAST)
Ongoing

The decommissioning of nuclear facilities as well as the associated waste management poses a major challenge to all participating institutions. The number of nuclear facilities which have to be decommissioned will increase rapidly worldwide within the next five to ten years, leading to many countries facing the same challenge. By 2030, more than 300 nuclear power plants (NPP) will be shut down for decommissioning. More than 50% of those NPPs are located in Europe. This means that in particular European utilities, expert organisations, regulation authorities and the industry are faced with an enormous task. Qualified personnel are needed for the upcoming decommissioning of nuclear facilities and the treatment and disposal of the radioactive waste. Current challenges include the following:

  • Demographic changes and the negative image of nuclear energy/nuclear technology make it very difficult to excite young people's curiosity about the looming issues.
  • Generation changes currently cause staff shortages in the following areas: radiation protection, nuclear radiation measurement, nuclear physics simulations, reactor safety engineering.
  • Scarcity of pure nuclear engineering study programmes. Lectures in nuclear chemistry or nuclear physics do not train young professionals for nuclear decommissioning, radiation protection or radiological characterisation. With respect to the challenging tasks, the topics are often touched only from a "theoretical" point of view.

The consequences of the above challenges are manifold. The most important are:

  • Massive loss of competence regarding nuclear fundamentals and the handling of ionising radiation;
  • Delay of decommissioning projects due to staff shortages;
  • Many companies have to train qualify their employees themselves through internal or external training because the market no longer supplies these candidates.

The solution for those challenging tasks mentioned above can only be achieved through a strategic approach, involving all stakeholders. There is a high demand for specialised training courses. AiNT supports this process by offering a tailor-made education and training programme in which current R&D projects are presented and the fellows get hands on-trainings due to internships at project partners. The training is performed in co-operation with a wide range of partners (see below). The proposed NEST project Building competence, Expert knowledge, Applied techniques, Safe decommissioning, Train fellows (BEAST) is addressed at postgraduate students, postdoctoral researchers and young professionals, who intend to work in the field of Nuclear Decommissioning and Waste Management. The following issues are addressed in particular:

  1. Radiological characterisation of nuclear facilities and decontamination technologies;
  2. Clearance of buildings and radioactive waste;
  3. Characterisation of radioactive waste, especially legacy waste.

Fellows will in a first phase receive a theoretical training, which consists of webinars (online lectures) and a special workshop focused on actual R&D projects of the partners. In a second phase hands-on experience will be provide and NEST fellows will work in current R&D projects at the facilities of the BEAST partner organisations (internships) The proposed BEAST project addresses postgraduate students, postdoctoral researchers and young professionals, who intend to work in the field of Nuclear Decommissioning and Waste Management.

Objectives

  1. Building in-depth expertise
  2. Improved teamwork
  3. Extended network

Leading organisation

  • AiNT (spin-off of RWTH Aachen University)

Participating organisations

  • CEA, France
  • Forschungszentrum Jülich, Germany
  • SCK-CEN, Belgium
  • Technische Universität München - Radiochemistry Munich (RCM), Germany
  • ENEA, Italy
  • Tomsk Polytechnic University, Russia
  • Moscow State University, Russia
  • University of Glasgow, UK (non-NEST Country)