Nuclear Education to Have a Positive Impact on Egypt’s Economy – Experts
As Egypt is about to sign the final contracts with Russia’s Rosatom for the construction of its first nuclear power plant at El Dabaa, the issue of educating and training personnel for the country’s nuclear industry, which will require thousands of qualified cadre, is coming to the fore. Experts agree that the training and education of nuclear personnel is vital to Egypt’s economy, and the cooperation of all parties involved is going to be crucial to its success.
Nuclear training and education is conducted at three levels, corresponding to the levels of specialists needed for work in Egypt’s nuclear industry – engineers, technicians and administrative staff. Dr. Maher Aziz, former minister of environment and Chief Advisor For Energy, Environment, and Climate Change, notes, ‘The educational and training programs will continue at these three levels in the medium and long term, to ensure the utmost preparation and development of cadres required for the operation of the nuclear project throughout its operational life.’
Dr. Mohamed El Sobki, engineering professor at the Faculty of Engineering at Cairo University, believes that, ‘The training should be supported by all entities that are linked directly or indirectly to nuclear power and should be implemented according to the highest level of specialization, which will help the trainees to become trainers in the future. This level of training reflects the quality standard of knowledge transfer in nuclear power.’
Speaking of the current state of nuclear education and training at all three levels, Dr Aziz notes that nuclear engineers are needed for the operation and maintenance of the NPP, while ‘technicians are the main pillar of the actual operation and continuous maintenance of the nuclear plant. Therefore, great attention should be paid to them in terms of high-level preparation during the construction period by mean of training programs starting in Russia and continued in Egypt.
‘The training program and preparation of cadres in connection to the project includes the establishment of a nuclear technical school in Dabaa near the construction site, to receive batches of graduated cadres required to operate the nuclear project throughout the operational life of the plant, which may extend to 80 years. There will be also a coordination between the Nuclear Power Plants Authority (NPPA) in the Ministry of Electricity and Renewable Energy, the Ministry of Education and Matrouh Governorate, to ensure the quality and the high level of education and training in the Nuclear Energy Technical School.
‘In pre-university education, educational exchange programs are focusing on providing opportunities to young people in technical education to master key aspects of nuclear plant operation, as well as providing them with the opportunity in conventional education to have nuclear culture and knowledge in order to empower society and raise awareness on nuclear technology. Regarding university education; Rosatom has pursued to sign cooperation agreements with major Egyptian universities in Cairo, Alexandria, Helwan, Assuit and other universities. These agreements aiming at providing university youth with nuclear culture, science and technology to deepen their knowledge of nuclear age and to emphasize the role of nuclear power technology in the current global energy crisis, and in energy future until 2100. Egypt is looking forward to these programs as a high quality and advanced education.’
Remarking on the wider importance of nuclear power and nuclear education to Egypt, Dr Sobki notes, ‘Nuclear power and education will have many positive impact on many sectors, including direct impact on electricity production and indirect impact on other sectors including health and environment. It is recommended that the training should be carried out and updated continuously, and to be expanded to encompass a larger number of trainees. On the other hand, the principles of nuclear energy for peaceful uses should be part of the school curriculum.’
Dr Aziz asserts that Egypt will benefit greatly from ‘promoting nuclear culture and raise societal awareness to accept and deal with nuclear technology, as well as raising awareness of the importance of nuclear power in technological, educational, and industrial development.’
The State Atomic Energy Corporation ROSATOM is one of the global technological leaders. The company has assets and competencies to work at all stages of the nuclear production chain from uranium mining to decommissioning of nuclear facilities and spent nuclear fuel management.ROSATOM brings together about 400 enterprises and organizations, including the world's only nuclear icebreaker fleet. It is the largest electricity generating company in Russia, accounting for 18.7% of the country’s total generation of electricity. ROSATOM is the third in the world in nuclear power generation.The corporation is the global leader in simultaneous implementation of NPP power units and has the largest portfolio of foreign construction projects (36 NPP units in 12 countries). ROSATOM manufactures equipment and produces isotopes for nuclear medicine, carries out research and material studies. It also assembles supercomputers and designs software as well as different nuclear and non-nuclear innovative products. The company has business ventures covering various clean energy projects, including wind energy. ROSATOM has second largest uranium reserves and 17% of the global nuclear fuel market.