Courses span apprenticeships, workplace events and advanced academic degrees

Five training courses have been recognized in the first annual Nuclear Training Awards, from the publishers of Nuclear Engineering International magazine. The winners were picked from an elite group; judges praised the ‘high calibre’ of the entries.

The awards were launched to recognize excellence in the academic, vocational, and workplace training essential to maintain industry skills, and the recruitment of new workers essential for the future.

"The future operators are not us, but young people," said Jacques Regaldo, chairman of the World Association of Nuclear Operators (WANO), one of the awards’ five judges.

The winners are:

Three additional training programmes were also recognized by the judges. Exelon’s Introduction to Power Plant Operations was highly commended in the category training course of the year (less than one year). The Eastern European Research Reactor Coalition won a special award for the apprenticeship of the year category, and the UK nuclear training programmes Fit for Nuclear and Triple Bar Existing Sites (industry skills programme of the year) also share a special award.

More than 40 applications were received from from private training courses, universities, utilities, vendors and research centres in North America, Europe, and the Commonwealth of Independent States.

The awards were chosen by a cross-industry panel of judges: Jacques Regaldo, chairman of the World Association of Nuclear Operators; David Whitmore, Atkins global engineering and technical director; Ronald Knief, Sandia National Laboratories TA-V Nuclear Facility training coordinator & nuclear criticality safety engineer; Ulrik von Estorff, operating agent, European Human Resources Observatory for the Nuclear Energy Sector, EC JRC, Institute for Energy; and James Varley, group managing editor, Global Trade Media.

The awards come at a time of great change for the industry. Many senior experts who worked in the golden age of civil nuclear power in the 1970s and 1980s are now retiring. By 2020, an estimated 92,500 new technicians, non-nuclear engineers and other graduates will be needed to replace the retiring nuclear workforce in the EU-27 alone, according to a European Commission report* co-authored by Ulrik von Estorff from the EC Institute of Energy and Transport European Human Resources Observatory for the nuclear energy sector, who is also a judge in the awards. Academic and vocational training programmes ensure that new recruits understand nuclear culture and nuclear standards.

The 2014 NEI Nuclear Training Awards will launch later this year.

Nuclear Engineering International magazine ( is a UK-based monthly magazine for the nuclear power generation industry, published since 1956.

*Putting into perspective the supply and demand for nuclear experts by 2020 within the EU-27 nuclear energy sector,’ European Commission, Joint Research Centre, EUR 25291 EN, 2012. (