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They are opening a new field of study.  Its graduates will be indispensable for this key investment

They are opening a new field of study. Its graduates will be indispensable for this key investment

There is a shortage of staff around the world to build and operate nuclear power plants. Poland is no exception here. The investment in nuclear units worth PLN 150 billion will probably be delayed. The launch of a new field at the Krakow University of Technology may alleviate this situation.

In the second semester of the academic year 2024/2025 at the Krakow University of Technology. It will be conducted at the Faculty of Environmental and Energy Engineering in cooperation with the Institute of Nuclear Physics of the Polish Academy of Sciences in Krakow. So far, the university only offered a very popular specialization in nuclear energy in the field of energy.

– We are joining forces at an important moment. Preparations are underway to build the first nuclear power plant in Poland. We will obtain its technology from foreign partners, but our companies and expert communities – scientific and academic – will be included in the great project of developing the nuclear energy sector – says the Rector of the University of Technology, Prof. Andrzej Szarata.

There is a shortage of nuclear energy specialists. Poland is no exception

After nuclear energy slowed down around the world at the end of the 20th century, there was a shortage of specialists around the world. that finding employees for nuclear development in the world may be the greatest challenge for nuclear energy. The situation in Poland is also difficult, especially since we have never had a nuclear power plant.

There is only one nuclear reactor operating in our country – Maria – which deals with nuclear medicine. And even there there are problems with employees. – The nature of the work is such that it is very difficult to recruit an external employee who already has qualifications. It almost borders on a miracle, because such people simply do not exist – said one of the employees in 2023.

About the fact that not much has changed since then. Problems with finding trained employees were also raised

“A significant obstacle to the construction of nuclear power plants is the lack of sufficiently numerous and qualified staff. In the next few years, Poland, and especially the public administration, will face a shortage of employees trained to carry out and supervise the reactor construction project. This may result in delays in issuing consents for the construction of reactors. and, consequently, delays in investment implementation and an increase in risk for investors. Immediate increase in expenditure on educating staff in the area of ​​nuclear energy is necessary,” we read in the report by Polityka Insight and Baker McKenzie.

PLN 150 billion for a nuclear power plant. And we are short of staff, which will cause delays

However, it is difficult to expect that the investment will go according to plan. The IAEA report shows that at the end of 1998, the construction of over 40 nuclear power plants was delayed by five years or more (there are 439 of them in operation around the world, as of May 2022). The construction of every tenth nuclear power plant was therefore seriously delayed. Although the IAEA report is over 20 years old, most of the world’s reactors were built between 1950 and 1980.

All this may be worrying, given the deepening climate catastrophe and rising energy prices. Chadam also revealed that the nuclear power plant will cost Poland PLN 150 billion, although, as with delays, cost overruns are practically inevitable.

– Educating staff for the nuclear energy industry in Poland is a task for Polish universities, scientific institutions and other entities supporting the education of high-class specialists. The quality of education of future engineers, radiological protection inspectors and managerial staff of the nuclear industry will determine the success of ensuring the continuity of supplies of clean, emission-free electricity and the security of its acquisition – said Prof. Tadeusz Lesiak, director of the Institute of Nuclear Physics of the Polish Academy of Sciences in Krakow, commenting on the new direction at the Krakow University of Technology.

Source: Gazeta

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