Young Nuclear Professionals and the Prospects Of The Nuclear Energy Programme In The Republic Of Zambia

On August 14th 2020 Zambian students studying nuclear energy programmes in the Russian Nuclear Research Institute MEPhI participated in a discussion with the head of the Zambian Atomic Energy Agency (ZAMATOM) as well as Experts from of Rusatom Service JSC, MEPhi and Rosatom Central and Southern Africa.

The discussion, which was conducted via video conference focused on the history and goals of the nuclear energy programme development in the Republic of Zambia. Dr. Roland Msiska, Director General of ZAMATOM shared the ongoing objectives of the nuclear energy programme in Zambia which are aimed at development of nuclear infrastructure and a sustainable financing model for the nuclear industry with the students.

 “For Zambia to attain the projected goal of being a middle-income country by the 2030, energy supply plays a major contributing factor and therefore needs adequate attention. The decision to construct the Centre for Nuclear Science and Technology in Zambia was made to support human resource development as Zambia develops and constructs its first Nuclear Power Plants. This will promote localisation and technology transfer to Zambian professionals in the entire nuclear value chain,” highlighted Dr Msiska.

Currently 17 Zambian MEPhI students are undergoing internships at Rusatom Service JSC, an integrator of nuclear development services for countries embarking on or are developing nuclear energy programmes with the use of Russian technologies.

Dr. Dmitrii Samokhin, Deputy Director of the Center for Nuclear Power Engineering of the МЕРhI, discussed the various programmes that the Zambian students are studying in Russia and highlighted the importance of practical education.

“Practical education is a vital part of the entire education programme. We appreciate that students have the opportunity to receive, in a manner of speaking, hands-on training in a company that conducts activities on nuclear infrastructure development in Rosatom partner countries and acquire knowledge to apply in their future professions,” noted Dr. Samokin.  

Addressing the young professionals, Mr. Ryan Collyer, Acting CEO of Rosatom Central and Southern Africa highlighted the company’s commitment to education in Zambia and on the African continent and commended the bravery of Zambian students who have embraced the opportunity to  study nuclear science in a new environment thousands of miles away from home, family and friends.

“As a responsible vendor Rosatom understands the necessity of a comprehensive human resource development programme for any nuclear new build and in particular for newcomer countries. We therefore view education as vital aspect of our collaboration with partner countries

and we play an active role in the development educational programmes in Africa,” explained Collyer.

Over 1900 student from 45 countries are currently studying various disciplines in Russia under nuclear education programmes.  

He went on to highlight the role nuclear energy has to play in bettering the lives of millions across the globe and urged the students to take what they have learned in Russia home to Zambia and change the lives of their countrymen for generations to come.

“In these trying times when humanity is faced with uncertainty around the global pandemic, it is not celebrities or sports stars that we turn to save us, but science and scientists,” concluded Mr. Collyer.  

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