How to capture and manage your company’s institutional knowledge for immediate action
- Edited by Christopher Smith -
The ups and downs of nuclear knowledge:As the Nuclear renaissance is taking shape, more and more organizations realize that the knowledge and skills being lost due to baby boomer retirements are threatening the bottom line by compromising the safe and reliable operation of plants.
In the heyday of global nuclear development, nuclear plants drew the best of the best from universities and an abundant engineering and nuclear knowledge worker pool. But in the United States the newest nuclear power plants started contributing to the energy grid in the mid-1980s, resulting in a significant time gap in the development of new nuclear plants.
This latency in the evolution of nuclear power has affected the industry by reducing the number of nuclear university programs and discouraging new engineers from pursuing disciplines in the nuclear field. During this period a global freeze on new nuclear plant development magnified the problem. The amount of new talent entering the industry became stagnant for decades.
With the new emphasis on green energy, smaller carbon footprints and the ecological impact and cost of fossil fuels, the nuclear industry is once again growing, producing a rising market demand for nuclear professionals and an increased awareness of the need to maintain, sustain and grow the nuclear knowledgebase. The growth of the industry will be impeded unless viable solutions are implemented to capture and apply the knowledge of workers.
In 2006, the IAEA’s (International Atomic Energy Agency) report titled Risk Management of Knowledge Loss in Nuclear Industry Organizations stated “There are two other complicating factors. The USA faces the issue of a ‘greying’ workforce where literally half the current workers will be eligible to retire within the next five years.
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