After the setbacks of the EPR, EDF will open a secondary welding school

After the setbacks of the EPR, EDF will open a secondary welding school

Industrialists definitely like to invoke mythology in times of turbulence. We think of Prometheus in particular when it comes to the future Ariane rocket engine. On this occasion, it is Hefaïstos, god of the forge and metalworking in ancient Greece, who is summoned to the bedside of the EPR. Two years after the CEO of EDF announced the implementation of the plan standing out Supposedly to remedy the loss of skills in the nuclear sector, the energy company is preparing to open a “welding secondary school” on the Canal under the name of Hefaïs.

Promised by Jean-Bernard Levy after the publication of the -severe- report by Jean-Martin Folz on the failure of the third Flamanville reactor, the creation was born from an unprecedented alliance between EDF, Orano, Naval Group and the Normandy Metallurgical Constructions (CMN) supported by the Union of Industrial and Metallurgical Trades (UIMM), the State (in the framework of the Investment for the Future Program) and the Normandy Region. With a cost of 12 million euros, his ambition is to form nothing less than ” the best welders and welders in France “. By best, we mean professionals capable of meeting the very high level of requirements of naval and nuclear specialties.

There is a significant gap between the welder who operates in a conventional environment and the one who intervenes in these environments where it is necessary to master both the technical gesture and highly specialized industrial and documentary processes. », emphasizes Corentin Lelièvre, director of Hefaïs.

immersive training

Claiming a ” innovative pedagogy “, the school will offer its students the opportunity to train on full-scale industrial models, which will identically reproduce the ballast of a ship, the cell of a nuclear power plant or even the controlled areas of the Orano sites. . “ The student will be truly projected in his future work environment. She will be able to understand the limitations of radiation, heat and depression protection in real world conditions. “says David Le Hir, president of the structure, also director of the Flamanville 1 and 2 power plant. The course, which lasts seven months in initial training, will be complemented by the use of virtual and augmented reality.

Temporarily installed in The Hague pending the construction of a new building in Cherbourg by the Cotentin Agglomeration, Hefaïs will initially welcome employees from subcontracted companies before opening up to beginners next year: “ job seekers and people in recycling » thanks to funding from the Region. Objective: to bring together annual classes of around 200 students from all over France. This sizing echoes a study carried out last year by the Manche Chamber of Commerce. He had estimated the need for welders at 700 by 2025 for the Normandy territory: a figure that does not seem underestimated.

Opportunities like it’s raining

The next few years, in fact, will be marked by the start-up of several important works in the naval and nuclear branches in Normandy, starting with the two EPRs in Penly (Seine-Maritime) whose needs will be enormous. To take the measure, let us remember that a power station houses more than 130 kilometers of pipe and that ” its construction requires 316,000 welds », as recently pointed out by the engineer Alain Tranzer, whom Jean-Bernard Levy commissioned to direct the plan Excellent

An air call is also expected at the Orano site in The Hague with the construction of the future spent fuel storage plant, to be delivered in 2035. Finally, at Naval Group in Cherbourg, the decade will be occupied by the start-up of the new third-generation ballistic missile nuclear submarine program, known as SNLE 3G, which is also labor-intensive. We see it, ” the best welders and welders in France are guaranteed to find outlets.

It only remains to convince the candidates to take the step. ” The recruitment of future students will be national “, we say in Hefaïs. Undoubtedly a wise decision knowing the little appetite of the younger generations for the trades in the industry.