China, UK team up to train nuclear engineers
Britain’s University of Sheffield and China’s Tsinghua University announced on Wednesday that they have created a master’s degree program in nuclear engineering and management, to help ensure the supply of qualified graduates for bilateral projects.
The joint program is the first of its kind for China, and leverages both universities’ expertise in the nuclear technology sector.
The first class of students, whose studies begin in Beijing in September, will include 80 students from China and 30 from overseas. The two-year program will be taught in English.
Sheffield is heading efforts to market this degree outside China and is offering 10 scholarships to attract international students to the programme.
China General Nuclear Power Group, China National Nuclear Corp and State Nuclear Power Technology Co will all partner with the programme by providing internship opportunities.
One aim is to help young engineers from Britain become familiar with the Chinese nuclear industry and its technology so they can contribute to international projects.
CGN and France’s EDF are jointly investing in three nuclear power stations in Britain — at Hinkley Point, Sizewell and Bradwell. The projects represent China’s first nuclear industry investments in a mature economy.
The Chinese company has submitted its HPR1000, a domestically designed reactor, to Britain’s nuclear regulator for approval. If the plans are cleared for use, the reactor will be used at the Bradwell site in Essex.
Meanwhile, CGN has made a bid to buy an equity stake in another British plant, Toshiba’s NuGeneration, also known as NuGen.
All the projects will require considerable research and development to ensure effective China-UK collaboration and the successful localisation of Chinese technology and expertise in Britain. Cultivating the requisite knowledge and skills is seen as an important part of this work.
“Part of the aim of the joint programme with Tsinghua is to get young British engineers familiar with Chinese methods and ways of working, and vice versa,” said Andrew Storer, CEO of the Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre, a government-backed center at Sheffield University. “It’s all part of the preparation for Hinkley Point, and especially for Bradwell. It’ll be even more beneficial if CGN does acquire NuGen and HPR1000 reactors are built.”
The centre has been working with CGN on its potential acquisition of NuGen.