Keywords: attrition, critical knowledge, knowledge loss, risk factor, risk management, workforce, nuclear knowledge management, nuclear competencies, skills loss, nuclear energy, nuclear power
Risk management of knowledge loss in nuclear industry organisations
Maintaining nuclear competencies in the nuclear industry and nuclear regulatory authorities will be one of the most critical challenges in the near future. As many nuclear experts around the world are approaching retirement, the potential exists for the loss of a substantial amount of critical nuclear knowledge and corporate memory. The loss of such employees, many of whom literally designed, constructed and now operate existing nuclear power plants, poses a clear internal threat to the continued operations of these facilities. In addition, the loss of this knowledge and expertise could impact future plans for the construction of new, advanced nuclear units. This paper provides practical guidance on knowledge loss risk management. The guidance is based upon the actual experiences of IAEA member states' operating organisations and is intended to increase awareness of the need to develop an integrated and strategic approach to capture critical knowledge before it is lost. The specific objectives of the paper are to enable nuclear organisations to: (1) conduct knowledge loss risk assessments to identify specific knowledge loss threats, (2) evaluate the consequences of the loss of critical knowledge and skills, (3) develop action plans to retain this knowledge and (4) use this knowledge to improve the skills and competencies of new and existing workers.