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2.10.4 Provision of a skill base and retention of knowledge

Contents Development of management tools

Successful execution of stewardship requires a range of special skills and knowledge frequently akin to that required for the original operations at the site in question. However, closing down the original operations typically leads to key qualified staff seeking employment elsewhere. Assigned stewards have to develop strategies to retain qualified staff or a roster of qualified consultants and contractors.

The maturing market for environmental services from the mid-1990s onwards raises concerns over the availability of a suitable workforce to implement remediation and the early stages of stewardship programmes. If the nuclear industry itself has ceased to evolve or even exist in the future, there will also be the possibility that the qualified workforce will become depleted. It is important, therefore, that a small skill base be somehow retained for both the short and longer terms. As the land use will undoubtedly have changed, the skill base itself will need to change in an appropriate manner in order to manage the new facets of the site.

The shorter term aspects are again easier to cover. Reorientation programmes, such as that of the International Science & Technology Center (ISTC) [ISTC] that aims to redirect Russian weapons scientists to civilian projects including environmental ones, may be useful. Similar activities are taking place in support of the redirection of the major US national laboratories. In USDOE complexes a range of strategic measures and incentives for employees are used:

  • Establishing a database for all the activities covered by the US Office of Environmental Management for critical questions and initiating mechanisms to foster temporary assignments;
  • Offering incentives to employees eligible for retirement to delay their departure so as to work at closure sites;
  • Removing salary offsets for retirees and offering other incentives to reemploy retirees at closure sites. Development of management tools

The fact that there are always alternative approaches to set up long term stewardship programmes necessitates quantitative comparisons of the various alternatives at both the planning and operational stages. A variety of such tools, including cost-benefit analysis, decision analysis and prioritization processes, are available but few of these are tailored to the specific needs of a long term stewardship programme.
In order to foster trust and ensure traceability of decisions on remediation work and other activities leading towards stewardship, all work should be carried out to internationally recognized standards, such as ISO 14000 [IAEA-2008a], for which specific guidance would still need to be developed.