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Using Simulators to Train Nuclear Professionals

IAEA Launches Regional Training Course in the Middle East on Pressurized Water Reactors

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IAEA course participant Patthra Srisawat, from the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand, using the PC-based nuclear reactor simulator software to mimic normal operating conditions in a nuclear power plant, February 2018. (Photo: University of Sharjah)

The development and management of national nuclear power programmes requires a systematic and continuous training for qualified nuclear professionals. This drives a need for developing and updating existing nuclear education and training programmes. In support of human resource development in Member States, the IAEA uses PC-based simulators to actively train nuclear professionals.  

Last month, in cooperation with the University of Sharjah, in the United Arab Emirates, the IAEA launched the first Regional Training Course in the Middle East on Pressurized Water Reactors (PWRs). The course, which took place from 19 to 23 February, brought together more than 20 participants from 8 Member States at the University of Sharjah’s College of Engineering.

PC-based simulators can simulate actual operational conditions of nuclear power plants. These include what to do during power fluctuations, starting and stopping cooler pumps, bringing the turbine generator into and out of service, and moving control rods.

“This training course is extremely important for the international community, and particularly for the UAE,” said Wallid Metwally, Vice Dean and Associate Professor at the University of Sharjah’s College of Engineering. “Given the IAEA’s wealth of experience and various tools, our engagement with the Agency is critical for the success of such courses. The training course successfully educated the participants, ensuring that they will become future trainers themselves.”

These training sessions also teach participants what technical measures are necessary to implement in ensuring reactor safety during accidents. First-hand response simulations ensure that students fully understand and can effectively apply theoretical content.

“These courses are highly suitable for operators, maintenance technicians, suppliers, regulators, students, and engineers,” said the Technical Officer, Tatjana Jeremovic, from the IAEA's Nuclear Power Technology Development Section. “In addition to five other regional training courses conducted last year, this course in Sharjah brings our total number of trained participants to 125, from over 20 Member States.”

Knowledge gained in this course is expected to help professionals further advance teaching and training of nuclear related topics in their own respective countries. Launching this first regional training course in Sharjah, is expected to aid research and development institutions, universities, operators, and regulatory bodies in newcomer countries, including those that are considering adding nuclear power to their energy mix.

This training course is extremely important for the international community, and particularly for the UAE.
Wallid Metwally, Vice Dean and Associate Professor at the University of Sharjah’s College of Engineering

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