Keywords: nuclear knowledge management, reactor pressure vessels, RPV, embrittlement, nuclear safety, nuclear knowledge preservation, nuclear knowledge consolidation, nuclear knowledge dissemination, nuclear education, nuclear energy, nuclear power
Nuclear knowledge preservation and consolidation: think big and act small
Lately, many stakeholders have recognised the urgent need for qualified human resources in the nuclear field, owing to the large-scale retirement of first-generation nuclear experts. In parallel, there is a need to make nuclear knowledge easily accessible to future generations. In addition to the knowledge in each member state, the European Commission (EC)'s Institute for Energy (IE) produced a long-standing record of results from its own institutional activities and even more through participation in a large number of European Network partnership projects. The IE has developed a method for the consolidation of nuclear knowledge which relies on the mobilisation of all identified leading experts in the European Union (EU) in reevaluating old knowledge and consolidating what is valuable to create training materials for new generations. This method was applied for a pilot study for consolidating and preserving Russian reactor-type (WWER, i.e., the Russian version of a pressurised water reactor) RPV safety-related knowledge, which is scattered in many countries and in different languages, facing a serious issue in terms of getting lost. The initiative of the IE is a small part of a wider nuclear knowledge preservation and consolidation challenge (think big), which will be elaborated and discussed in this paper, as well as the experience gained from the first pilot study (act small).