According to Washington, D.C.-based trade group Nuclear Energy Institute, the current average age of nuclear workers is just over 48, and one in three nuclear workers will be eligible to retire in 2012. This comes at a time when the nuclear industry is experiencing unexpected growth. “We will not have enough people in two or three years,” says Charles Goodnight, founder of Goodnight Consulting, Vienna, Va., a nuclear consulting firm specializing in staffing.

Currently, 84 reactors have received or are applying for 20-year operating license extensions. In addition, there are plans to build 22 new reactors. In addition, organizations that regulate the industry and companies that supply nuclear power facilities will also be scrambling for additional employees. In the last two years, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, D.C. has hired 350 staff members.