The IAEA Knowledge Management Assist Visit on Benchmarking Nuclear Education

11-15 October 2011, NPI Texas A&M University, USA.

 The IAEA Knowledge Management Assist Visit on Benchmarking Nuclear Education was conducted from 11 to 15 October 2011 at the Nuclear Power Institute of Texas A&M University, USA. 6 representatives from the IAEA Member States Universities and the IAEA participated in the mission and provided their expert judgment and recommendations.

 Established in 2007, the Nuclear Power Institute (NPI), has developed education and training programs focusing on nuclear power plant operations and safety. NPI has in place the capacity to make significant contributions to the IAEA goals of “managing nuclear knowledge”, and to “develop the human resources for the State organizations and also for the operating organizations required to effectively supervise and implement the nuclear power programme.” NPI was established to address this core issue that crosscuts the anticipated use of nuclear energy in all countries.

 The Mission activity consisted of several components.

 The first session consisted of presentations by Mission participants on their national education systems and nuclear programmes, best practices that are being used in nuclear engineering education, and how these might relate to the work that is carried out by NPI.

 The second session consisted of presentations from the Nuclear Power Institute at Texas A&M on the background and status of nuclear engineering education in Texas as well as the organizational, structural and educational role of NPI.

 The third component of the Mission involved tours to facilities of Texas A&M, Nuclear Engineering Department as well as stakeholders of NPI. The first was a visit to the Texas State Technical College, Waco (TSTC). Training programmes in instrumentation and control, welding and radiation protection technology were presented. The second was the departmental laboratory tours and visit to the Nuclear Science Center (with a 1 MW reactor) and Microbeam Laboratory. The third place visited was the fire training field, Disaster City and the Emergency Operations Training Center which are world-reknown facilities for training on nuclear security, emergency preparedness and response. The next tour was to the STP Nuclear Power Plant. The plant demonstrated excellence in the close collaboration with training centres, community colleges and Texas A&M University, as well as a very successful knowledge transfer programme. Next visited place was the Center for Energy Development and County Junior College. The last tour was to the Van Vleck High School where NPI outreach initiatives were presented. Comments on each of the visits were provided by the Assist Mission Committee.

 After deliberating on all aspects of the Mission, the Committee provided feedback to NPI on its impressions and recommendations.