The situation concerning nuclear human resource has deteriorated in the EU in the past decades and there is a risk of the loss of important nuclear knowledge if no action is taken. This prompted the Council of the EU to conclude, on 1 December 2008, that it is “essential to maintain in the European Union a high level of training in the nuclear field” and, at the same time, preserve the skills that we already have. The latter is especially true if we are to guarantee the highest level of nuclear safety (subject of the Council’s Nuclear Safety Directive, which was adopted on 25 June 2009).
On 16 September 2011, the European Commission published its "First situation report on education and training in the nuclear energy in the European Union", mentioning EHRO-N as "the central information source" for all nuclear stakeholders in the EU interested in the optimization of the initiatives taken.
The idea of a European Human Resources Observatory for the Nuclear Energy Sector (EHRO-N) emerged within the European Nuclear Energy Forum (ENEF), which was launched by the European Commission’s Directorate General for Energy (DG ENER). The setting up of EHRO-N began in October 2009. The European Commission’s Directorate General Joint Research Centre (DG JRC) - more specifically its Institute for Energy and Transport (IET) - was charged with its implementation and day to day management.
1. Produce and regularly update a quality-assured database on the short-, medium-, and long-term needs for human resources for the different stakeholders in nuclear energy and nuclear safety
2. Identify gaps and deficiencies in the European nuclear education and training (E&T) infrastructure and elaborate recommendations for remedial actions and optimization.
3. Play an active role in the development of a European scheme of nuclear qualifications and mutual recognition.
4. Regularly communicate by conventional and electronic means relevant data to the Member States governmental, academic, and private organizations involved in nuclear E&T.
5. Provide information and recommendations to the European Commission that could be used to report to the European Parliament and the Council.
The management of EHRO-N consists of two instruments:
1. The Operating Agent, that is the DG JRC' s Institute for Energy and Transport, providing the necessary infrastructure, networking and long term stability. Its activities focus on the setting up and maintenance of a database and the carrying out of regular analyses, reviews, compilations and specifications. The activities also include the tendering of specific studies, the production and the distribution of regular communications, the organization of workshops and meetings, support for the Steering Group, the establishment and maintenance of close links with organizations and related initiatives, e.g. ENEN, SNE-TP, ENEF, IAEA, OECD-NEA, ENS etc. and the provision of co-ordination where necessary, and
2. The Senior Advisory Group (SAG) - composed of highly-qualified experts, who meet twice a year and focus on providing general guidance on conceptual issues. These could be, for example, the type of data and data quality required, the analysis to be performed, the endorsement of major human resources-related reports and the preparation and execution of major communication campaigns.