TABLE 8-3 Supply and Demand of Nuclear and Radiochemist Degree Holders over the Next 5 Years
*New degree holders
States (e.g., as U.S. citizens or permanent residents), the projected supply of new Ph.D. nuclear and radiochemists over 5 years is estimated to be 65.
Table 8-3 compares the projected supply and demand for nuclear and radiochemistry degree holders 5 years from now: the projected supply of B.S. chemists seems adequate to meet the projected demand, but the number of Ph.D.s is far short of the projected need of 306 Ph.D.s.
Estimates of the adequacy of the supply of nuclear and radiochemists to meet future needs are very uncertain, in part because of the difficulty in tracking availability of expertise, as discussed in Chapter 1. For example, there are no specific nuclear and radiochemistry undergraduate degree programs, so the projected supply will be drawn from B.S.-degree chemists who may or may not have specialized expertise in nuclear and radiochemistry. The future pool of Ph.D.s with nuclear and radiochemistry expertise is similarly difficult to estimate because of the lack of data on individuals earning doctorates in these fields and the degree to which other disciplines such as nuclear engineering, inorganic chemistry, and analytical chemistry can serve as “substitute producers” of nuclear and radiochemistry expertise with on-the-job training in the respective application areas.
The committee concludes that the current demand for nuclear and radiochemistry is barely being met by the supply—and on an ad hoc basis at that. Although there is evidence that the number of Ph.D.s in nuclear and radiochemistry is growing, their influx into the pipeline may be insufficient, given the aging of the current workforce with the necessary expertise and the fact that there are limits to the extent to which on-the-job training of those in closely related fields can suffice. For example, many Ph.D.-level nuclear and radiochemists at the national laboratories are inorganic chemists who have been trained on the job. Such training fills gaps in expertise in the short term but does not provide the same quality of preparation and expertise