Officials estimate that half of the workers now in jobs in the nation’s nuclear industry will be eligible to retire over the next decade.
Dr. Doug Woodward with the Darla Moore School of Business at the University of South Carolina has received a research grant to conduct a national survey of the workforce needs of the nation’s nuclear energy industry, including nuclear power and weapons facilities. The $150,000 award from the U.S. Department of Energy will be used to assess needs over the next 20 years for nuclear scientists and engineers.
“Our expectation is that we’re not producing enough graduates, especially in high-tech fields that require engineering and sciences that support the nuclear industry,” said Woodward. “We’re going to look at the skill set in graduates coming out of colleges now and how that matches industry needs.”
The Department of Energy is expected to announce results of Woodward’s survey this spring.
Woodward says while a need will exist just due to the retirement of so many people, the shortage will be much greater due to current plans for a growth in nuclear energy–the “nuclear renaissance” as some officials have called it. “As we can see, it’s getting ramped up again in South Carolina,” he said. “It’s not just in nuclear energy but all applications including the military so we anticipate that will lead to a shortage at educational institutions.”