Cross-cutting Topic: Education and Training
A broad range of different types of qualifications, competence and expertise is needed for every stage of a repository development programme as defined, for example, in international guidelines (e.g. the IAEA’s safety requirements WS-R-4 and safety guide for geological disposal of radioactive waste GS-G-3.4) and in national regulations.
In terms of suitably qualified and competent personnel, the geological disposal community is fairly small. Many waste management programmes may be faced with a future skills shortage owing to an ageing workforce where many senior workers and executives are approaching retirement. There is a lack of mechanisms with few national exceptions for formal education specialised in geological disposal that could be recognised directly in the different European Member States. A solid basic education in one of the related technical or natural science disciplines is also seen as more relevant for the professionals in the field starting their career. The geological disposal specifics are generally learned on-the-job. The lack of formalisation and mutual recognition applies in a greater extent to training courses and other competence development activities undertaken by professionals in the field. There are also few formalised strategies for transmitting knowledge and insights from senior workers to those with less experience and knowledge of geological disposal. The IGD-TP can act to support recognition of learning outcomes, quality assurance of existing and new training schemes, and competence maintenance and development activities.
A more co-ordinated and formal approach to education and training in the field of radioactive waste management and disposal would be of benefit to various programmes, both at the national level and the international level, to complement existing efforts. Updating and improving knowledge on radioactive waste disposal is a common interest of the IGD-TP and can be applied to all activities undertaken to address the identified RD&D topics. The IGD-TP can co-operate with existing education and training activities through:
- mutual recognition and accreditation of programmes which meet the quality level required by the IGD-TP;
- defining requirements for the development of a framework for the mutual recognition and accreditation of training programmes;
- contributing to the identification of needs, the inventory of available resources and the conception of training programmes; and
- supporting existing and future European Fission Training schemes and other education and training initiatives and increasing the participation of their personnel in such schemes.