Decommissioning has gradually become a “normal” stage in the life of nuclear installations and a requirement of environmental ethics.
This final industrial stage in the life cycle of nuclear installations now complements construction and operation. With more than 400 nuclear facilities to be phased out by 2040, where 75% of them are commercial NPPs, the growing expectations of the decommissioning market create the potential for new activities, new technologies and job opportunities.
Decommissioning programmes consist in a sequence of complex and highly diversified activities that take place over long periods of time. This explains, at least in part, the variety of skills required. These range from nuclear site, project and programme management (including, in particular, the specialised fields of risk management, scheduling and costing), to engineering (electromechanical, civil, mechanical and chemical processes, new construction, environmental risk assessment, … ), in addition to works supervision and implementation (safety, radiation protection and security managers, operational and technical staff “in the field” in charge of very different operations (decontamination, cutting, characterisation, waste treatment and transport, maintenance, etc.). In addition to operational staff, the large number of contracts that structure these activities and the associated financial challenges also require contract management, financial and legal skills.
Dismantling projects also present an interesting technological challenge. They require creative solutions in innovative and diversified fields (e.g. automation, robotics, digital tools, measurement techniques, …). Many new processes have to be developed to make the work more efficient.
The Women in Nuclear Decommissioning Initiative (WiNDI) was launched in September 2021 under the framework of the partnership between WiN Global and EDF, with the aim of creating a multidisciplinary group among WiN Global members.
The mission of the initiative is to promote diversity in the nuclear decommissioning industry where women can play a key role in developing innovative and sustainable solutions.
- To regularly meet as a multidisciplinary network from different organizations, companies, countries, fields and backgrounds, enhancing discussion about trends, best practices and gender issues in the decommissioning sector.
- To organize and conduct gender balanced webinars, workshops and panel discussions on topical areas in decommissioning sector.
- To launch initiatives to give visibility to professional women working in the field of decommissioning to illustrate the diversity of possible jobs and careers in dismantling and promote them as a reference to the youngest ones and to attract new talents to our sector.
- To participate in conferences, panel sessions and events related to decommissioning and gender equality.
Estelle Desroches - EDF
Estelle is currently the CEO of Cyclife, a subsidiary of EDF dedicated to decommissioning and waste management. After a degree in chemical engineering and a PhD in engineering sciences, she has spent her entire career in the energy sector. In 2016, she joined the world of decommissioning, first leading the decommissioning program for EDF's graphite reactors in France before taking over the management of Cyclife in 2021.