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Building the skills of the young generation of nuclear professionals

I’ve always believed that the best leaders develop their young people. And this is reflected with my own experience as a young nuclear professional. Early in my career, my boss asked me to take up a secondment working for Taiwan Power Company. I left my home plant in South Africa to work in a country with a different language, culture and working environment.  

It was challenging. But it broadened my experience and developed my skill set and network enormously. I learnt so much in that year away. It was also enjoyable, and I made some lifelong friends. When I returned home, the skills I gained helped my colleagues and improved the safety of my home plant.

It was one of the best opportunities I ever had. It laid the foundation for a lifelong career of benchmarking and performance improvement, which is at the centre of WANO’s values.

So, the theme of this issue of Inside WANO – developing the industry’s young generation – is a topic close to my heart. And today it is as important and pressing an issue than ever.

For many of today’s leaders in the nuclear industry will retire over the next decade. With this, there will be added pressure on the following generations to step up to lead the industry. Tomorrow’s leaders will have to deal with growing challenges – not least how to ensure safety at new plants both in countries with an existing nuclear capability and also newcomer nations starting from scratch.

Against this background, we need to ensure our young nuclear professionals have the knowledge, skills and confidence to lead the industry in the years ahead.

What is WANO’s role in supporting the young generation working at our member utilities and stations worldwide?

We provide opportunities for young professionals and develop them. Our offices around the world provide young nuclear professionals the opportunity to gain valuable experience and broaden their skills and mindset.

Our young secondees have the opportunity to meet their counterparts in different nuclear power plants during our peer reviews, member support missions and benchmarking reviews. This lets them interact with peer review teams and helps them build up their knowledge. This helps them obtain an international perspective and helps them understand what international standards of excellence look like.

We need to harness the enthusiasm and spread the word. My message to young professionals is clear. You can gain the benefits of working for WANO, take them back to your plant, and then become a leader in your company.

And my message for you - our member organisations - the more exposure that your young professionals are given to gaining international experience, the stronger your company and plant performance will be.

I do hope you enjoy reading this latest edition.

Peter Prozesky, WANO CEO