Russia, Hungary to cooperate in nuclear staff training

18 February 2015

Russia and Hungary have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on cooperation in the training of nuclear energy personnel.

Russia-Hungary Feb 2015 - 460 (Rosatom)
Kirienko and Balog exchange copies of the MOU in front of Russian President Vladimir Putin and Hungary's Prime Minister Viktor Orbán (Image: Hungarian government)

The agreement was signed in Budapest by Sergey Kirienko, director general of Russia's Rosatom and Zoltan Balog, Hungary's minister of human capacities, during Russian President Vladimir Putin's visit to Hungary yesterday.

The MOU follows an intergovernmental agreement Russia and Hungary signed in January 2014, according to which Rosatom is to build two new units at the Paks nuclear power plant. Under the MOU, the two countries will cooperate in education, training and science related to the use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.

Joint educational and training programs will be developed in order to provide highly-qualified personnel related directly to the new reactor units and also to university education, the Hungarian government said.

Russia is the world's leading country in nuclear power plant operation, the government said, with 34 reactors in operation in Russia and a similar number of Russian-designed and commissioned units operating in other countries. Rosatom is also working on a "significant proportion" of ongoing construction projects, it said.

"A high-priority for Hungary is to benefit from Russian professional experience at different levels of the training program, and to further expand its nuclear training system, which stretches back nearly 60 years, thus enabling the safe construction and operation of the new reactor units in Paks," the government said. "Hungary expects that the professionals participating in the building and future operation of the new nuclear units could take part in training programs in Russia for shorter or longer periods of time, thus giving them the opportunity to become familiar with the technology of the new units destined for Paks as soon as possible."

Regarding university-level education, further protocols related to the MOU were signed in Budapest that will allow students to take part in training courses in Russia. There will be university lecturer exchange programs and cooperation in joint scientific research programs.

"The excellent safety and operational results of the current nuclear reactor blocks at the Paks nuclear power plant are to a large extent ensured by skilled operation and maintenance personnel, and the memorandum of understanding will guarantee the training and future supply of such personnel," the government said.

According to a Rosatom statement, Balog said: "This memorandum not only creates the legal framework for strengthening our long-standing cooperation in the academic and scientific fields, but it also allows continuing its good traditions. For many decades, our countries have jointly developed peaceful nuclear technologies. Many Hungarian nuclear engineers received their degree in Russia, and we know that the reliable operation of the four units of the Paks NPP can be attributed to their high qualification, too. Now it is necessary to prepare a new generation of professionals who will participate in the design, construction, and operation of the new units."

Kirienko added that bilateral cooperation in the field of education and science "opens up broad prospects". Rosatom offers its partners "integrated solutions" that, in addition to financing, also include training of personnel. "We have always had close ties with the Paks NPP and the Hungarian scientific institutions. The memorandum provides now an opportunity to expand and intensify our cooperation," he said.

Russian news agency Tass quoted Kirienko as saying construction work will start on the new Paks units this spring.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News