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Nuclear jobs in France

  1. Apr 1, 2010 #1
    Hi, I'm trying to get information on how hard it would be to get a job at a Nuclear power plant in France. It wouldn't be for 6 more years because my husband is in the navy right now but when he does retire he'll have 20 years in that field. Do you have to be fluent in French? If we find out it's likely that he can get a job we'll start learning French right away regardless, I'm looking more for the level of French he would need. What are the companies and do you know how much (approx) they would pay? We're trying to get as much information as possible on this to figure out what our plan will be over the next few years. If it's not likely to happen, then does anyone know about the plants in Georgia and Tennessee? Those are some of the other places we're looking at.
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 2, 2010 #2


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    I can only partly help you. In France, many people only speak french well, so even though it might not be strictly required to speak french fluently, I would think that it would be a major asset if you did, and a major setback if you don't. So yes, learn french, so that you can have a fluent conversation.

    As for companies, I know that the nuclear sector IS hiring right now, but to know more about it, you should find out with them. There is of course http://www.areva.com/" [Broken].

    There is also the mainly state-funded research organisation http://www.cea.fr/english_portal" [Broken] but which does much more than just nuclear, its original business.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  4. Apr 2, 2010 #3


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    The other nuclear utility in France and Belgium is GdF Suez. They have interest in a few plants on the northern border in France (but EdF may actually operate them) as well as the Doel and Tihange plants in Belgium.


    EdF operates about 58 nuclear plants.

    The have absorbed British Energy, EnBW (Germany) and have interests in or partnerships with other utilities such as Constellation (US). There is also the Engineering and R&D groups of EdF. They support operations.

    One should learn French. Note that EdF is a global energy company.

    In Georgia/Alabama, Southern Nuclear (plants Vogtle, Farley, and Hatch) or TVA (plants Browns Ferry, Sequoyah, Watts Bar) are options. In Florida, there is Progress Energy (Crystal River) and FPL Group (St. Luice, Turkey Point), or in S or N Carolina, there is Progress Energy (plants Brunswick, Harris, Robinson) or Duke (Oconee, McGuire, Catawba).
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 25, 2017
  5. Apr 2, 2010 #4
    Really depends on what type of work he does and what would he be applying for? Does he have an engineering degree? Is he a nuclear operator in the navy?

    If he is a "navy nuke" or a nuclear operator in the navy he could apply for an SRO position at a plant and they start at like 115k plus bonuses if you pass the required licencing exams. I don't know much about french nuclear operations, but I would guess all of their procedures are in french. Operators go through stressful emergency training where they have to follow complex procedures with fast (and accurate) reaction time. If reading/understanding the language slows you down at all, then I'd guess you have no chance.

    From what I've heard from my bosses, navy nukes are at a premium right now. You could make a lot of money just getting hired at one of the existing US plants if you go straight into operations.
  6. Apr 2, 2010 #5


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    As an American who lived and worked in France for four years, I'd like to comment. It will not be easy for a non-French citizen to find a job and get a work permit to work in France. With unemployment running over 10%, the French will preferentially want to hire French citizens over foreign nationals. So unless you have a skill that they can't find internally, it will be hard to find a position. Your best bet would be to find a job with an American or British company that would station you in France. I'm not trying to discourage you, but make sure you keep your expectations realistic.
  7. Apr 7, 2010 #6
    Thanks for everyone's advice! That's what I'm kind of worried about phyzguy I just don't know if in a country that has a number of power plants if his is a skill that would be hard to get internally, so we don't want to spend 6 years of our life trying to learn French if it's for nothing.
    Thanks BishopUser, I think he would qualify I just hope they're still a premium when he retires! Do you know if he has to have a specific degree or is 20 years of hands on experience enough?
  8. Apr 7, 2010 #7


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    I don't really think that it is a problem to find a job as a foreigner in France, although for sure it is true that the economy is not booming here, and that the French can give the impression to be closed upon themselves (actually, this is more because they don't really understand foreign systems, rather than some kind of "racism").
    But, but, nuclear industry IS booming in France, so even though they produce themselves quite a quantity of nuclear engineers and so on, I still think there is a shortage of skilled labor in this branch. So I don't think it is a problem.
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