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School of engineering in Physics, Applied Physics, Electronics & Materials

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Interview with Adeline MESZAROS (responsible for relations with higher education) and Sylvain BAU (operations manager at EDF)

Published on April 22, 2013
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Communique November 5, 2012

The EDF group, one of the leaders in the energy market in Europe, operates in every area of the business: energy production, transmission, distribution, trading and selling.

What course at Phelma is the most suitable match for your needs?

For EDF, Phelma is an excellent generalist school, and, of course, we have identified it as somewhere that trains specialists in nuclear enginee ring. We have met students from the GEN (Energy and Nuclear Engineering), SIM (Material Science and Engineering) and EPEE (Electrochemistry and Processes for Energy and the Environment) courses.

Have you already hired Phelma trainees / final-year students and / or engineers?

On a regular basis! In 2010 we hired 21 graduates from Phelma, and 25 in 2011. At EDF, around 500 trainees join the engineering and production sectors every year and about 30 % of them end up with proper jobs at the company.

What is Phelma's image like at EDF?

As I said earlier, Phelma is a great generalist school that trains excellent engineers in nuclear energy. We also know that the school boasts at least twenty years of experience in the nuclear field through ENSPG, one of Phelma's three founding schools. (Note: the Ecole Nationale Supérieure de Physique de Grenoble was founded in 1986). In addition, Sylvain is a former student of this school!

From the accident at Fukushima to the possible reduction in nuclear power's share in energy production in France, how would you reply to all those who think that there is no future for the nuclear sector?

Sylvain BAU: The national need for energy has never been so high, and, even with a firm energy efficiency policy, that need is not going to fall. On a global level, the demand for electricity is only going to grow. The nuclear sector will always have a role in meeting these needs, and the feedback from Fukushima tends to emphasise the development of a nuclear option with strong and increasing safety requirements. It so happens that this is our core business, and it is against this background that EDF is expanding internationally in the field of nuclear energy. Paradoxically, incorporating the feedback from Fukushima - which requires a great deal of engineering work - creates jobs in our industry. Regarding the decision to shut down the Fessenheim plant, which we acknowledge, it backs up our decision to increase the use of our existing power plants. That is bound to create a huge demand in terms of maintenance and renovation. All these factors are the source of numerous projects for EDF and will generate jobs.

Adeline Meszaros: In addition, EDF is in a situation where it needs to replace employees who are retiring on a huge scale. Between 2012 and 2020 in France, the trend is to hire between 4,000 and 6,000 new recruits a year with three record years: 2011, 2012 and 2013. 40% of the people who will be working for EDF in 2020 are yet to be hired!

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Date of update April 22, 2013

Université Grenoble Alpes