Training support for emerging nuclear energy nations

22 March 2010

While US organizations have agreed to help the United Arab Emirates (UAE) establish an institute for training its nuclear energy workers, Russia has signed an agreement to help Vietnam train its nuclear workforce.


A letter of intent has been signed by organizations from the UAE and the USA to establish the Gulf Nuclear Energy Infrastructure Institute (GNEII). The GNEII will initially provide classroom instruction and hands-on experience in nuclear energy safety, security, safeguards and non-proliferation for the UAE's civil nuclear energy program. It could later be expanded to provide nuclear energy training for programs throughout the Middle East, UAE state news agency WAM reported.


The agreement to establish the institute was signed on 17 March during a four-day international conference in Abu Dhabi on human resource development organized by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).


GNEII will be associated with Khalifa University for Science, Technology and Research (Kustar) with support from the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (Enec) and the UAE Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation (FANR). The US organizations involved in the project are Sandia National Laboratories (SNL) and the Nuclear Security Science and Policy Institute (NSSPI) at Texas A&M University.


The organizations have agreed to develop the institute's curriculum, establish its physical facilities in Abu Dhabi, provide guest lecturers, and prepare the institute's staff and GNEII program graduates to help GNEII become, within five years after its inauguration, a self-sustaining source of nuclear safety, security, and non-proliferation education consistent with international standards. In the letter of intent, they also agreed that, as the GNEII develops, its mission and priorities within the Arabian Gulf and the wider Middle East area would be expanded.


"World class performance in safety, security and safeguards, as well as non-proliferation, is the foundation of a responsible and successful nuclear energy program," said interim Kustar president Arif Sultan Al Hammadi. He added, "We are pleased to be playing a key role in bringing expertise in those fields to the UAE, and eventually to the region."


Amir H Mohagheghi, SNL's program minister for the Middle East and South Asia, commented: "We're very pleased to initiate this cooperation with Khalifa University. It shows the potential for US public and private entities to support both our mutual desire for good partnership on the highest nuclear safety and non-proliferation standards, as well as President Obama's call in Cairo for scientific and technological cooperation."


According to preliminary estimates, the UAE will require some 2300 employees by 2020 for its nuclear energy program.


The USA signed an agreement with the UAE in January 2009 for cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy, having completed negotiations on the text of a bilateral agreement in December 2008.


In late December 2009, the UAE awarded a $20 billion contract to a consortium of South Korea companies, led by Korea Electric Power Company (Kepco), to construct four APR1400 reactors. The first of the 1400 MWe reactors is to come on line in 2017, with the others following by 2020.


Russia helps Vietnam


Meanwhile, Russia's state nuclear corporation Rosatom has signed a memorandum of intent with Vietnam's ministry of education and training related to the training of workers for the Southeast Asian country's nuclear power program.


The agreement was signed on 17 March by Sergei Kiriyenko, director general of Rosatom, and Nguyen Thien Nyan, Vietnam's deputy prime minister and minister of education and training.


The memorandum provides for cooperation in nuclear education, training and research for the introduction of nuclear energy into Vietnam. Under the agreement, Rosatom and Russia’s National Nuclear Research University (MEPI) will assist Vietnam in developing the curriculum and selecting Vietnamese citizens for training programs.


Researched and written

by World Nuclear News