Applying for a job is something most people have done many times. For positions that require some degree of skill or expertise, there are usually long applications forms and in-depth interviews. If the position works with something that is potentially dangerous like nuclear power, there is also another layer added dealing with some security clearance. This is a very standard approach to filling highly-skilled and hazardous jobs.
To perhaps attract a different pool of applicants than they typically saw, a Czech nuclear power plant tried something a little different. In the name of promoting educational efforts about nuclear energy and science, the CEZ Temelin power plant turned the hiring of interns into a bikini contest. Temelin is listed as being the biggest source of power for the region and the main nuclear site in the Czech Republic.
As ten high school students applied to be interns at the plant, they were all asked to pose for pictures in skimpy swimsuits and hardhats. Theses pictures are no longer online, but the pictures and overall hiring process of the interns was described in a news report:
“It’s normal to expect a certain level of scrutiny when a company wants to hire an intern. That scrutiny is not usually based on swimwear.
A Czech nuclear power station seemed to focus more on looks than qualifications when they used a swimsuit contest — yes, swimsuit contest — to hire interns.
CEZ’s Temelín station posted photos of 10 high school graduates posing in bikinis and hard hats on its Facebook page last week. According to the post, the woman with the greatest number of likes was supposed to be crowned “Miss Energy 2017” and score a two-week internship with the company.
“We think photographs are very tasteful,” the company wrote in a comment on the post. “The combination of beauty and the industrial environment gives an interesting result.”
Shockingly, people were not thrilled.
“You find the number of likes under half-naked picture of a young lady as adequate and/or tasteful criterion for a career opportunity that is promoted as ‘professional?'” one Facebook user commented.”
It is not clear how the initial pool of ten females was gathered to fight for the crown of “Miss Energy 2017.” While at first, the plant stood by its choice to allow someone to work at a nuclear power plant based on “likes” on a bikini picture, this support changed after many made negative comments on social media. The pictures are no longer available, and the company issued an apology about the stunt:
“The purpose of the competition was to promote technical education. But if the original vision raised doubts or concerns, we are very sorry.”
The bikini contest may have gone too far for many, but it does seem to be in line with the different way the Czech plant owners approach nuclear power. Their social media is flooded with silly pictures within the plant of workers doing odd yoga poses and tourists posing with the iconic nuclear towers. There seems to be a silly and almost whimsical approach to security at the plant.
The plant is not only open to school groups wanting to tours the area to learn about science, but it is also a sort of tourist destination. This simply does not happen in most parts of the world. Security and attention to things like an actual security clearance here in the United States make most nuclear sites far less fun than the ones in the Czech Republic.
As the public pushed back about the bikini-clad models being posted on the plant’s Facebook page, the would-be interns received great news. They were all offered a two-week long internship, so there will be only winners in the “Miss Energy 2017” pageant.
With a very different approach to nuclear power and security in the United States, it is doubtful that we will ever see an American version of “Miss Energy.” For the most part, working with nuclear materials is serious business and a well-guarded secret. This is not something worthy of throwing on a bikini and hard hat to take pictures for. Even if the staff at the CEZ Temelin insist that this was done in good clean fun and in the most tasteful way possible, their new idea seemed to bomb.