COP27 & The Next Generation Of Nuclear Professionals

To mark Energy Day at COP27, newcleo COO Elisabeth Rizzotti has shared her thoughts on the future of nuclear talent.

Today marks ‘Energy Day’ at COP27.

Delegates from around the world are gathering in Egypt to discuss the global shift away from fossil fuels, a conversation made all the more important by the energy security crisis in Europe. With winter looming, countries are urgently seeking out a reliable but clean energy supply, and we’re confident that nuclear power has a vital role to play.

There has been plenty of talk about a global ‘nuclear energy renaissance’ in recent months as governments worldwide realise the role nuclear power can play in ensuring energy security and decarbonising our energy systems. The renaissance goes back to the post-Second World War era when the international community first realised the potential of nuclear energy – it was viewed as a cheap and sustainable power source, the very same reasons that it’s making a comeback today.

A small number of tragic incidents, most notably Chernobyl in 1986, saw governments in Europe pull back in the development and rollout of nuclear power. Since then, enormous progress has been made in ensuring the safety and technology of next-generation nuclear power. In fact, more people die from air pollution diseases linked to coal power stations every year than have died from nuclear incidents.

A by-product of the sudden nuclear renaissance is a gap in talent moving into the industry. There was a large pool of nuclear physicists and engineers working to advance nuclear energy technology in the late twentieth century, but this generation of talent has since moved on. As nuclear energy makes a comeback, there’s a real gap in the market for new talent to push the technology forward and make a positive impact.

Green skills will undoubtedly be an important topic of conversation at COP27. As governments work to build green economies, it follows that societies must adapt to new ways of working. The growth of nuclear energy creates an opportunity for more people to build a career in a vibrant and vital industry that is experiencing significant growth.

The recent Tech Nation’s new Climate Tech Report 2022 reveals that globally, the number of emerging technology companies tackling the climate crisis has increased four-fold, by more than 35,000 firms since 2010 to reach 44,595 in 2022. At newcleo, we were delighted to be named one of the UK’s leading climate ventures.

Just like the sector, our team is rapidly growing, and we cannot wait to welcome even more talent to our ranks. We know that we have a role to play in helping nurture the next generation of nuclear scientists who will be critical in solving the challenges of tomorrow. At newcleo, we currently have a team of around 150 people based across the UK, Italy and France, and we have ambitions to increase this number to 500 in 2023.

With the right channels for cross-industry collaboration, government support and knowledge sharing in place, we’re confident that the nuclear energy industry will attract the brightest minds from around the globe, who will contribute to solving one of the greatest challenges facing humanity: climate change.

We’re already taking proactive steps to help grow the industry’s talent pipeline thanks to a concerted effort towards knowledge sharing, and providing in-house training opportunities, particularly having young recruits work closely with the senior scientists on our team. We’ve already engaged with a number of international academic institutions and are working towards more partnerships – to support ongoing research into the advancement of nuclear energy technologies and we are exploring other partnerships with educational institutions further afield.

It’s an exciting time to join the nuclear energy industry and help drive real change as the world transitions to cleaner energy sources. As delegates gather in Egypt this week to discuss the transformation of our energy system and the development of green skills, we’re proud to be part of the solution.

Elisabeth Rizzotti, COO, newcleo

If you are interested in exploring opportunities to join our team, please get in touch here.

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