Friday, April 27, 2007

Explosive nuclear job growth

I ran across this article linked at the NEI Nuclear Notes blog.

Workers in short supply for U.S. nuclear power

A 2005 study by the Institute found that half of the industry's employees were over 47 years old, while less than 8 percent of employees were younger than 32. Most Americans retire after turning 65, and the survey found more than a quarter of nuclear workers were already eligible to stop working.

Even the government's regulator, the NRC, is scrambling to add 200 new employees this year just to monitor the sector, Klein said.

The number of nuclear engineering majors at colleges around the country has risen to 1,800 last year from just 500 in 1998, according to the Energy Department, but that is still not enough to feed current needs.
That median age seems dead on. I turned 47 in 2005 and just about all my colleagues are clustered around my age. The statement about retirement is not quite true. With the current demand and wages, no one I know can seem to leave the nuclear industry. Most retirees return almost immediately to work in contract positions at inflated wages. That's a good thing.

Also in the NEI blog post.

ROBISON: You wouldn't have ever expected it because the uh, I guess I'd call 'em tree huggers, I don't know what organization they were from, they came over and you would have thought that we were best friends. They said it was such a great idea and they supported nuclear power and they wouldn't have said that 10 years ago. They would have been exiled from their own group for having said that.

These aspiring nuclear engineers say global warming has forced many to rethink nuclear power since it doesn't emit greenhouse gases. And they're convinced it's safe.
A new generation is catching on. Another good thing.

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