Maintaining critical mass in Europe's nuclear workforce Europe is experiencing what is being called a 'nuclear renaissance', although progress is being hampered by a shortage of trained talent. An EU-funded project has raised the bar in the training stakes to fill this gap. Energy © Thinkstock Nuclear research faces a dual challenge in Europe: the greying of the existing workforce and the emergence of new frontiers in knowledge. Ensuring that a new generation of researchers emerges to take over from those nearing retirement and is capable of continuing the nuclear renaissance requires effective and systematic high-level training. Building on the success of a previous EU-funded project, the 'European nuclear education network training schemes' (ENEN-III) project sought to facilitate the emergence of a new cadre of nuclear researchers able to maintain current plants and help develop next-generation facilities. Financed by the EU's Seventh Framework Programme's (FP7) European Atomic Energy Community (EURATOM) programme, ENEN-III focused on four forms of training. The first was basic training in selected nuclear topics for non-nuclear engineers and professionals in the nuclear industry, such as programme, performance, design and safety engineering. The second was specific technical training for the design challenges of third-generation nuclear power plants, namely system and process engineering, and safety analysis evaluation engineering. The third focus was on the construction challenges of third-generation nuclear power plants, including heating, ventilation and air conditioning, as well as the construction of fluid systems. The final area of training related to the concepts and design of fourth-generation nuclear reactors, which operate at higher temperatures and thus require innovative cooling systems. ENEN-III not only designed a robust framework for such research but also developed a system for mutual recognition to facilitate the mobility of nuclear researchers within the EU. With such a system in place, Europe can face the challenge of the shortage of personnel in the nuclear sector and accelerate progress towards next-generation nuclear power.