EPSU raises skills needs and safety in nuclear sector at the “Nuclear in a changing world” Conference

FORATOM June 2019

Improving the social dialogue between the employers and the trade unions in the nuclear industry guarantees that workers will have good quality jobs in the nuclear industry. It ensures the attractiveness of the industry for young people, mentioned EPSU’s representative Ionut Zaharov, during the FORATOM Conference “Nuclear in a changing world” which took place in Bucharest on 26th of June.

This conference aimed to identify best solutions in achieving the European’s Commission’s legislative package “Clean energy for all Europeans” . The Commission recognises a significant role for nuclear energy, together with renewables energy, in the effort to decarbonise the European economy by 2050.  Actions need to be taken by decision makers, industry representatives and social partners  to identify skills needs in the future and ensure workers will be provided with the right training and qualifications.  The future of the sector depends on the sector’s ability to attract students and young workers. This is important for long term storage facilities, for refurbishing and for continuing production in a safe manner. While not addressed at the conference, it is an issue for countries that do dismantle their power stations as well.

Speaking for EPSU, the European trade union federation representing workers in the nuclear energy sector, as well as other sectors of production, transmission and distribution, Zaharov mentioned national energy mixes are defined by Member states. For some countries nuclear power is part of their long-term energy strategy. For these  countries and in the EU the nuclear sector will help strengthening security of supply while ensuring Europeans have access to reliable and affordable energy . To do so, it is of upmost importance to preserve global leadership, both in terms of technological breakthrough, business developments and workers’ skills. EPSU invited nuclear industry representatives to join forces with the unions to develop common understanding on the future developments in the nuclear sector, to identify skills needs and to facilitate a smooth transition of young people from education systems to the labour market.  

Senior representatives from across the nuclear supply chain outlined what they believe more needs to be done in order to achieve a decarbonised Europe by 2050, whilst at the same time maintaining growth and jobs. In their manifesto they call upon EU policymakers to work with them to overcome the hurdles which have the potential to prevent Europe from achieving its goals.

Ioanut Zaharov is from the Romanian union Universe, an EPSU affiliate. More information about manifesto can be found here.

For more information of EPSU’s work in the nuclear industry.