Nuclear power in general requires highly qualified, skilled and well trained professionals in order to assure the supply of energy and to secure safe operation and the development of reliable technology. The recent Fukushima nuclear accident in March 2011 firmly underscores such requirements.
At the same time, the IAEA and OECD/NEA has observed a shortage of high level graduates educated in the nuclear field, combined with the retirement of professionals in the nuclear sector. For this reason, the EU Council issued conclusions and recommendations in the field of ‘needs for skills in the nuclear field’ in December 2008.
Currently, the EU and Canada work on the Super-Critical Water-cooled Reactor (SCWR), a reactor concept selected by the Generation-IV International Forum because of the advantages regarding safety and sustainability.
The EURECA! project, being a collaboration between the EU and Canada, will define an international education & training program which (i) enhances the skills of current professionals in the nuclear sector, (ii) attracts young graduates and professionals in other sectors to work in the nuclear field and (iii) enhances the mobility of professionals in the EU and Canada.
The project focuses on the innovative SCWR concept due to its attractiveness to graduates and young professionals and to pave the way for future collaboration between the EU and Canada on this reactor type. Although the SCWR is still a conceptual reactor, the level of knowledge and skills regarding current, water-cooled reactors will be improved and ensured as well, since the concepts and technology of the SCWR are close to the ones of conventional water-cooled nuclear plants.
The EURECA! project consists of a European organizational branch (consisting of EU participants), and a mirrored, Canadian organizational branch (consisting of Canadian participants). Although financially separated, both branches will have a strongly symbiotic, collaborative relationship.
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