As the minister for Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy recently reiterated, nuclear power will play a significant part in the energy mix for at least the next 40 years - long enough in theory to keep future engineers busy for their entire careers! This is all the more true because expertise in the field will be needed not only to construct new installations but also to dismantle plants around the world at the end of their life-cycle. Contrary to what one might think, dismantling a plant requires the same expertise and resources as for building the equivalent structure. And we have a level of expertise in France that is recognised the world over, as is the case for the aerospace and railway industries. The French nuclear industry today employs a total of more than 220,000 people, which can be broken down into 125,000 direct and 95,000 indirect jobs, to which can be added around 190,000 openings in related sectors. These jobs consist of a great variety of professions which, for the most part, are not unique to the nuclear industry but that demand professionalism, safety and security* on a permanent basis. The nuclear industry covers a wide diversity of professions: in addition to neutronics and thermal hydraulics, there is also the public buildings and works sector, automation for instrumentation and control systems, IT for simulation and supervision, etc. The Grenoble INP group, which has been offering courses in civil nuclear engineering since 1955, now trains almost a sixth of all graduate engineers in the area in France.
* Report by the Strategic Committee for the Nuclear Industry, December 2012 Pierre Benech, director of Grenoble INP - Phelma