The Scene

Sufficient expertise in the field of nuclear chemistry is a basic prerequisite in many areas of radionuclides and ionizing radiation applications. Among the most important ones, one should list nuclear energy (e.g. the development, design, construction and safe operation of the reprocessing facilities, pre-disposal treatment of liquid radioactive waste, experimental and modeling base for performance assessments of radioactive waste repositories, etc.), environmental radiochemistry and radioecology, or radiopharmaceutical chemistry (including radionuclides production, labeled compounds, radiodiagnostics and radiotherapeutics development, production and application), etc.

The current situation in nuclear chemistry education and training in Europe is quite diverse ranging from full three + two + three years nuclear chemistry bachelor + master + PhD courses down to teaching the nuclear chemistry only at PhD level study. In addition, full transition to the Bologna system has not been achieved at all universities, yet. A list of universities teaching nuclear/radiochemistry in Europe has been one of the first CINCH deliverables.

In the current system in Europe, there is no common basis to the fragmented activities in this field, which is limiting factor for migration of students, fresh graduates and specialists, and also for experience and knowledge exchange. Thus any established cooperation will move the education and training in nuclear chemistry to a qualitatively new level.

A problem parallel to the education is the question of training – continuous professional development at post-gradual level. Here, the current situation is even more complex; in most cases, the vast majority of the training is performed by the industries as a part of their personnel and human resources development policies. There is a lot to improve in the universities – industries interaction in this field Europe-wide.

The possible renaissance of nuclear power and transition to GEN IV reactors at one site, and shutting reactors down followed by decommissioning at another side, will require a significant increase of the numbers of the respective specialists, among others also nuclear chemists. This requirement does not apply to nuclear engineering only, needed to build and operate the respective nuclear reactors, but applies at the same level also to the remaining two roots of nuclear sciences – the nuclear physics and nuclear chemistry.