National electricity utility Eskom has announced that it started training some 100 recruits as nuclear operators on May 1. This Nuclear Project 100 initiative was formally launched on Thursday by Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown. The training is taking place at the Koeberg nuclear power plant (NPP), near Cape Town.
The government is planning to construct 9.6 GW of new nuclear generating capacity. The programme should see the construction of three new NPPs with a total (depending on the design chosen) of six to nine reactors.
“Eskom’s Nuclear Project 100 will provide a platform for developing a robust nuclear operator pipeline for South Africa,” she affirmed. “The programme, spanning five years, aims to build a path to ensure that there are sufficient local nuclear resources to service the country’s present and future nuclear needs.”
“After the five-year period, trainees will qualify as nuclear plant operators or will enter related career equivalents,” she explained. “What is inspiring is that approximately 95% of students are 35 years and younger and about 40% are black females from various parts of the country.”
The training programme at Koeberg is accredited by the National Academy of Nuclear Training (NANT), an initiative of the US-based Institute of Nuclear Power Operators. This ensures that the Koeberg programme is of the highest standard. Koeberg is the only NPP outside the US whose training programme is accredited by the NANT.
“We support national initiatives like the National Development Plan to build skills amongst the youth of South Africa for Eskom as well as the country’s needs,” stated Eskom board chairman Dr Baldwin Ngubane. “The country’s new nuclear build will require additional resources for operations and the nuclear operator training programme is geared towards ensuring that the South African youth who has aspirations to access a career path in nuclear has a chance at realising his or her dreams.”