Part of the first cohort of South African nuclear professionals who will further enhance their skills in China. [Photo provided to CRIENGLISH.com]
By Andrew Ngozo for gmmg.com
As South Africa gears up for one of its most ambitious nuclear projects in history, it has looked to China for assistance with capacity building and skills development for its nuclear workforce. The move comes as the first group of South African workers began a nuclear power plant training course at a Chinese university, as agreed under an earlier accord. An agreement signed between the Nuclear Energy Corporation of South Africa (Necsa) and the China Nuclear Energy Engineering Group stipulates that South African trainees would undergo training in China on nuclear power plant construction.
Necsa also signed a cooperation agreement with China's State Nuclear Power Technology Corporation (SNPTC) for training on project management for nuclear power projects. SNPTC is one of the international companies that have expressed an interest in being a major part of South Africa¡¯s nuclear build programme. The agreement calls for South Africa to send project managers to construction sites in China where demonstration CAP1400 units are planned. ¡°Through this collaboration with China we are enhancing our skills base with practical experience from China's massive nuclear build programme," said Necsa in a statement. ¡°This also cements the relationship between the two countries who are indispensable partners in the exploitation of nuclear technology.¡±
The latest agreements follow those signed in December 2014, including a memorandum of understanding on a nuclear fuel cycle partnership, a financing framework agreement for the construction of a new nuclear power plant in South Africa, and an agreement on nuclear personnel training. Those agreements follow on from an earlier signing of an inter-governmental framework agreement on nuclear cooperation by the two countries, a preparatory step towards the possible construction of Chinese nuclear power plants in South Africa. South Africa plans to build 9.6 GWe of new nuclear capacity. Another agreement, also signed by SNPTC and Necsa, will see SNPTC provide training to around 300 South African nuclear professionals in a scheme involving two years of basic training, professional training and in-service training. The training will take place at the Shanghai Jiao Tong and Tsinghua Universities. The training will be in the form of lectures and visits to some of China's nuclear facilities.
One of the trainees, Katlego Mokoena, said going to China would allow him the opportunity to be one of the best in his field. ¡°It is a given that China is a global super power on many fronts and it is one of the major players in the nuclear sphere. Because they are very good at what they do, I believe that South Africa will learn global best practices from China, in so far as nuclear technology is concerned. Further to that, it means that those of us who have been selected to train there will be able to come back home to South Africa and transfer that knowledge with peers so as to ensure a thriving nuclear energy sector in South Africa. Who knows, we may be the ones to share that knowledge and expertise with other countries on the continent in the near future,¡± he said.