A new report out of Finland highlights the nuclear skills shortage that will be faced in the country by the middle of next decade. In addition, it calls for the needs and focus areas of future research to be ‘accurately defined in a long-term strategy.’

The report from Finland’s committee on nuclear energy competence highlights the country’s need for around 2400 new nuclear energy professionals by 2020.

Figures show that around 1200 of the 3300 employees in the nuclear sector are due to retire. At the same time construction of new nuclear power plants and progress towards the final disposal of spent fuel means that the sector needs to raise its work force to around 4500.

In addition, more university instructors will be required for major and minor subject studies and postgraduate education in the field of nuclear energy.

In the area of research the report calls for future nuclear R&D to be accurately defined in a long-term strategy.

The primary responsibility for the financing of nuclear energy research now and in the future is borne by the companies operating within the sector. The Government for its part must ensure sufficient contribution to the development of Finnish research competence and to securing a high level of competence, the report says.

The report was put together by the Committee for Nuclear Engineering Competence in Finland, which is led by the current Director General of the Energy Market Authority Riku Huttunen, and includes representatives from ministries, STUK, VTT, universities, power companies and Posiva Oy. The report was submitted to the Ministry of Employment and the Economy on 26 March 2012.