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Third International Nuclear Human Resource Development Conference 2018 in Geongju, South Korea

Last update: 11/07/2018
 

Fig 1. VVIPS at the Opening Ceremony of the Conference in Geongju, South Korea led by His Excellency Mr In Ho Lee
By Sheriffah Noor Khamseah Al-Idid binti Dato´ Syed Ahmad Idid Innovation & Nuclear Advocate, Alumni Imperial College, University of London, UK





KUALA LUMPUR, (Bernama) Nuclear energy had its origins in military applications. In the years just before and during World War II (WWII) , nuclear research focused mainly on the development of defense weapons for use in WWII, with the MAUD Committee in the United Kingdom, the Manhattan Project in the US and key teams in Germany as well as the then Soviet Union according top priority and investments in this technology.

The devastating impact of nuclear was unfolded during the bombing of Hiroshima on 6 August 1945 with a Uranium bomb, nicknamed Little Boy and three days later in Nagasaki on 9 August 1945 with a Plutonium bomb, nicknamed Fat Man. The dropping of these two bombs had ended World War II.

The destructive power of nuclear remains etched in the minds of many people then creating a negative image of nuclear power which lasts till today amongst a large population.

In the post-World War II era, the US Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) was created to explore peaceful opportunities for the same nuclear materials the U.S. used in Japan at the end of the war.

The World Nuclear Association (WNA) had outlined that in the course of developing nuclear weapons the Soviet Union and the West had acquired a range of new technologies and scientists realised that the tremendous heat produced in the process could be tapped either for direct use or for generating electricity. It was also clear that this new form of energy would allow development of compact long-lasting power sources which could have various applications, not least for shipping, and especially in submarines.


Fig 2 : Mr Chung Jae Hoon, CEO of KHNP addressing participants Pix Courtesy of Sherrifah


THE DEFINING ATOMS FOR PEACE SPEECH BY US PRESIDENT D .EISENHOWER

1953, Dec 8 marked a significant turning point for the world and Nuclear Power as US President D. Eisenhower in his "Atoms for Peace" Address at the United Nations shared his vision for nuclear power to be used for peaceful civilian applications. He had called for greater international cooperation in the development of atomic energy for peaceful purposes and thus set the course for civil nuclear energy development. Establishment of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)

On October 1, 1957 The United Nations established the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna, Austria, to promote the peaceful use of nuclear energy and prevent the spread of nuclear weapons around the world.

HUMAN RESOURCES NEEDED TO SUPPORT SAFE AND EFFICIENT NUCLEAR POWER PROGRAMME

The introduction and expansion of nuclear technology for peaceful purposes including for power applications ( generating electricity ) and non power applications ( for medical, agricultural and industry sectors) requires skilled and competent human resources in diverse fields


Fig 3 : Mr Mikhail Chudakov, Deputy Director-General IAEA delivering his Speech Pix Courtesy of Sherrifah


THIRD INTERNATIONAL NUCLEAR HUMAN RESOURCE DEVELOPMENT (HRD) CONFERENCE 2018

In recognition that the nuclear sector relies heavily on a highly qualified competent and specialized workforce for its safety, sustainability and high levels of performance and that countries already operating nuclear facilities, as well as those introducing nuclear power, need to ensure that they have the right workforce not only today, but also in the future, the IAEA organized the Third International Nuclear HRD Conference 2018 in Geongju, South Korea hosted by the Korean Government through Korea Hydro and Nuclear Power (KHNP). Business Korea reported that KHNP relocated its main office to Gyeongju, North Gyeongsang Province in March 2016.

The four-day International Conference on Human Resource Development for Nuclear Power Programmes: Meeting Challenges to Ensure the Future Nuclear Workforce Capability located at the Hwabaek International Convention Center (HICO) is the third such conference organized by the IAEA, following previous gatherings in Vienna, Austria in 2014 and Abu Dhabi , UAE in 2010.

The conference sessions covered four main themes: • Attracting, recruiting and retaining a high quality nuclear workforce; • Developing individuals and teams within organizations; • Education, training and qualification of a nuclear workforce; and • Organizational culture and its impact on the workforce.

These themes were discussed at Operator Perspective, Regulator Perspective and Interactive Presentation.

OPENING CEREMONY

The Opening Ceremony was graced by His Excellency Mr In Ho Lee Republic of Korea´s Vice Minister Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy, His Excellency Mr KANG Cheol-gu Deputy Major Geongju City, Mr Jae Hoon Chung President & CEO Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power CO. Ltd (KHNP), Mr Mikhail Chudakov Deputy Director General Head of Department of Nuclear Energy, IAEA and His Excellency Yves Bréchet French High-Commissioner for Atomic Energy. ( Fig 1)

520 participants from 51 Member States and five international organizations gathered in Gyeongju, Republic of Korea, to review the global situation in human resource development and discuss the future of the nuclear labour market.

ADDRESS BY HIS EXCELLENCY MR IN HO LEE REPUBLIC OF KOREA´S VICE MINISTER MINISTRY OF TRADE, INDUSTRY AND ENERGY

His Excellency Mr In Ho Lee expressed his great pleasure for this Conference to be hosted here on Geongju, South Korea. H.E remarked that for many decades, nuclear energy has provided safe and economic electricity, making great contributions to industry development and economic growth around the world.

His Excellency outlined that Nuclear energy could grow into an important pillar of the world energy sources thanks to continuous investments from the global nuclear industry dedicated to development of technology and human resources.

H.E shared that today, the nuclear industry is facing new challenges due to changes in social and economic environments triggered by various developments including technological advances in renewable energy and underlines a number of ways to address these challenges including first, obtaining direct and responsive capability against accidents is essential for safe use of nuclear energy. From the Three Mile Island (TMI) and Chernobyl accident, the response of capable personnel during emergency is critical. And it is vital to carry out systematic training

Secondly, as there are still a number of nuclear power reactors worldwide being shut down, thus in addition to safe operation, nurturing qualified manpower for decommissioning and spent fuel treatment is gaining more importance and in view that it is difficult to get qualified workforce in a short time, hence thirdly, close cooperation among nations is also crucial.

South Korea has experienced transformation in nuclear technology, from using imported technology for its first plant Kori#1 in 1978 and the successful construction of Hanul# 3 using local technology in 1998 to the nation´s successful export of its locally built nuclear reactor APR-1400 to the UAE in 2009.His Excellency had emphasized that behind these successes South Korea had accorded priority to the development of human capital.

Foreign experts were invited to also participate in Korea´s Nuclear Power Programme (NPP). H.E highlighted that presently Korea is providing human resource development for the United Arab Emirates and that KEPCO International Nuclear Graduate School (KINGS) is offering training to 50 foreign students per year from different countries.

His Excellency concluded his remarks with the hope that this 4 day conference will be valuable to participants in building a strong network in HRD and that all will enjoy scenic Geongju.

ADDRESS BY MR CHUNG JAE HOON (CEO OF KHNP, KOREA HYDRO & NUCLEAR POWER CO. LTD)

Mr Chung Jae Hoon, CEO of KHNP (see Fig 2) expressed his warmest welcome to the participants from over 60 countries who have travelled a long way to be in Geongju, South Korea.

Mr Chung had remarked that although nuclear power plants are constructed using state-of-the-art technology with multiple safety functions, however, the most important aspect of nuclear safety would be individuals.

He highlighted that even with the most reliable safety systems and technologies, safety can collapse in an instant when regulations and procedures are not followed and therefore, emphasized that human resource development is tremendously important.

Mr Chung dovetailed that with recruitment of qualified individuals and developing their skills through training and education, the safety of nuclear power plants will be improved to a higher level and shared that KHNP has been making efforts to secure nuclear power safety by utilizing technology of the fourth industrial revolution and expressed that this also requires a highly qualified workforce.

He spotlighted that Third International Conference on Human Resource Development is very significant as the conference brings nuclear industries from around the world to share and discuss ways to secure and develop experts for our future.In regards, Mr Chung thanked the IAEA for the Agency´s extensive efforts toward global nuclear safety and development. Following from the theme of the conference is, "Meeting Challenges to Ensure the Future Nuclear Workforce Capability. "

Mr Chung explained that in Korea, there is a common proverb that goes, "If you are planning for a year, sow rice. If you are planning for a decade, plant trees. If you are planning for a lifetime, educate people. " This means, for a bright future, there is nothing more valuable than to develop qualified individuals and staffs.

Mr Chung outlined that Korea is now constructing 4 units of the APR1400 reactors in the UAE. As the first commercial GEN-3 reactor, the APR1400 is currently being evaluated by the US NRC for design certification which Korea expects to receive the Design Certificate (DC) soon. The EU-APR, a customized model for European market acquired EUR certification in 2017. Mr Chung stressed that these achievements cannot be met without exceptional manpower and explained that is why KHNP is increasing its efforts to develop the company´s employees. He highlighted that it is critical to secure capable individuals and develop their potential to successfully implement various issues facing the nuclear industry.

ADDRESS BY MR MIKHAIL CHUDAKOV, DEPUTY DIRECTOR GENERAL IAEA

Mr Mikhail Chudakov, Deputy Director-General IAEA ( see Fig 3) welcomed participants to this IAEA Conference and shared that the IAEA holds major events every year, focussing on various aspects of nuclear power. He stressed that this conference is quite specia as " It focuses on the human aspect,,, the people,,, you and me… Is there anything more crucial for the future of nuclear power? "

Mr Chudakov offered several key updates regarding nuclear including ; Nuclear power provides about 11% of the world´s electricity, but, this is about a THIRD of the world´s LOW CARBON electricity. And there are presently 450 nuclear power reactors in operation in 30 countries., with 59 nuclear power reactors under construction in 17 countries, 4 of which are newcomers.

He further highlighted that amidst the stiff competition between high-tech sectors, attracting and retaining a high quality nuclear workforce is becoming challenging. And asked the question of "So what do we do? Mr Chudakov explained that the IAEA is world´s hub for information exchange of peaceful nuclear technologies and that the Agency Support Member States in the development and qualification of the workforce needed for all stages of nuclear power development.

Using the human resources planning tools countries that are embarking on nuclear power programmes can better estimate the number of skilled students and individuals needed to enter into their future national nuclear workforce. At the same time, the Agency helps countries with operating nuclear power plants improve and optimize their training and evaluation schemes. Under the IAEA´s technical cooperation programme, the Agency provide specialized capacity building initiatives, to help foster and develop the future nuclear workforce.

We organize theoretical and hands-on training sessions across the world… We offer review services to help Member States better capture the knowledge and experience of retiring workforce,, and transfer it to the next generation… We use research reactors and nuclear power reactor simulators in training future nuclear workforce… We organize schools for entry and mid-level career professionals, as well as for managers, that cover the whole fuel cycle… We coordinate among universities in providing a high level masters degree in nuclear management… Our regional networks, our communities of practice, our distance learning programmes supports the nuclear community worldwide.

Mr Chudakov remarked that "Looking to the future, the IAEA´s work will continuously evolve to keep up with developments in the nuclear industry. We are aware of the challenges in training and qualifying nuclear workers. We need to work together with the industry and other international organizations to find innovative ways to deliver performance improvements at a lower cost. These solutions must keep nuclear safety as the top priority ".

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