Combined expertise for nuclear solutions in SA
A week-long workshop to formalising a unique academic network kicked-off on 3 November in Potchefstroom. The academic network is a first of its kind in South Africa and links institutions that conduct research and education in nuclear science and engineering to collaborate on the goal to deliver nuclear scientists and engineers to the industry.
The network, known as “South African Centre of Excellence for Nuclear Education, Science and Technology” (SACoE-NEST) are supported by the Department of Energy (DoE) and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
According to Dr Anthonie Cilliers, programme manager: nuclear engineering at the Potchefstroom Campus of the North-West University (NWU), it is clear that South Africa is serious about utilising nuclear energy as part of the solution to the electricity needs of the country in future. “For this specialised personnel are required, something South Africa has been developing for years. The reality is that we need more to achieve this; various mechanisms are required to speed up the rate of specialists released to the industry. SACoE-NEST is the ideal mechanism to achieve this. The network is based on the outcomes defined in the National Programme Framework (signed between South Africa and the IAEA in 2013) and unlocks collaboration on research and education. It breaks down traditional walls between tertiary education institutions. The network will focus directly on the needs of the nuclear industry and the national nuclear regulator (NNR) and can adapt dynamically to the needs of the nuclear build program as it changes over time.”
The DoE, IAEA, Necsa, the NNR as well as representatives from the main tertiary institutions are present at the workshop and are very excited about the future state of nuclear science expertise in South Africa. We are prepared!