27 noviembre 2009 | EN
South Africa has one nuclear power station and some are trying to assess the science needed for more
The South African government may be keeping its nuclear energy plans under wraps but that hasn't stopped a research organisation from drawing up a wish list of science skills needed to expand the country's nuclear industry.
The Nuclear Industry Association of South Africa (NIASA) plans to issue a document at the end of this month (November) that lays out how tertiary institutions should prepare for nuclear expansion and the research and teaching required to drive a large-scale nuclear industry.
It presents different scenarios for a nuclear programme and outlines the number and type of scientists, engineers, technicians and other workers that would be needed for each one.
Gert Claassen from NIASA's secretariat said: "We need to do as much as we can to support the preparation of a possible nuclear roll-out."
NIASA believes a substantial nuclear expansion in South Africa is inevitable and as well as the skills scenario is planning a large-scale project connecting universities and technical institutions around the country.
NIASA's plans have their challenges. For example, organising a collaborative budget could prove tricky as universities are funded on an individual basis. And there are key decisions yet to be made such as from which university a student will receive their nuclear-related degree if classes were taken at multiple locations.
Still, it's a crucial step. "Everybody sees nuclear as growth and everybody's trying to get a competitive advantage in the industry," said Jeff Victor, who compiled the document.
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