Exelon & Duke Identify Ageing Workforce as Key Challenge in Managing Used Fuel

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An ageing workforce plus difficulties in recruiting staff are driving the switch to independent spent fuel storage installations – ISFSIs – leading owners tell Nuclear Energy Insider (NEI). Owners will address their HR challenges at NEI’s 2nd Annual Used Fuel Strategy Conference, 21-22 November, in Charlotte, North Carolina.

In a recent Nuclear Energy Insider (NEI) roundtable, owners identified skills and other HR issues as one of the key challenges they face as they shut their nuclear power plants down and prepare for decommissioning and decontamination.

And an ageing workforce has emerged as a factor driving the switch to ISFSIs as owners seek to cut operating costs.

An example is Dairyland Power Cooperative, which closed its 50 MW nuclear power plant in 1987 and stored spent fuel in its pool until moving it to an on-site ISFSI last year.

Dairyland’s vice president Brian Rude told NEI that slashing annual operating costs from $6m to $2m was the main driver for the move, but he added: “Other key factors in the decision to move ahead included the age of the plant, an ageing workforce, and an inability to recruit new employees to work at a closed facility.”

Dairyland supplies power to Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota and Iowa.

His views were echoed by Wayne Norton, president and CEO of Yankee Atomic Electric Company, who told NEI that personnel management is a major challenge in moving from operation to decommissioning.

“You are transitioning from an organization created to support the safe operations of a nuclear plant to one that is more of a projects organization with a focus on safe dismantlement,” he said.

“To a large extent numbers of people and their skill sets vary for these two very different missions and you have to make the organization transition under strict regulatory requirements and in a relatively short timeframe.

“The human resource process for the transition needs to be well thought out and undertaken.”

Rude and Norton are among the owners now grappling with the challenges of decommissioning and fuel management who will share their experiences at Nuclear Energy Insider’s 2nd Annual Used Fuel Strategy Conference, 21-22 November, in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Also speaking are Pamela Cowan, director of spent fuel and decommissioning for Exelon Generation, Jimmy Glenn, manager of spent fuel at Duke Energy, and David Jones, senior vice president of Areva’s Back-End Business Group.

For more information about the event, speakers and agenda, please view the website: http://www.nuclearenergyinsider.com/ufs.

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James Sampson
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