ESTABLISHMENT OF THE SOUTH AFRICAN CENTRE OF EXCELLENCE FOR NUCLEAR SAFETY
Currently, South Africa does not have a dedicated centre or institution for nuclear safety which provides, among other needs, a continuous supply of personnel trained in nuclear safety to serve the needs of the nuclear regulatory body and the nuclear industry in general.
Other needs identified, include provision of continuous professional development programmes in Nuclear Safety, undertaking of Nuclear Safety research to support regulatory activities and decision making, as well as provision of technical support services in Nuclear Safety to the regulatory body and the nuclear industry.
In order to address the challenges highlighted above, and to adequately prepare for the envisaged nuclear expansion programme, the NNR has taken an initiative of establishing the NNR Centre of Excellence for Nuclear Safety. The model for the operation of the Centre is based on forming partnerships with relevant training and research institutions, both local and international, to provide training for NNR staff, to undertake research required to support regulatory activities and to localise technical support functions in the form of a small unit hosted or attached to a university.
The proposed Centre will be the first applied research and training establishment dedicated to developing essential skills demanded by South Africa’s nuclear sector outside the traditional university sector. It will houses training facilities for NNR staff, a selection of state-of-the-art irradiation and analysis equipment for researchers and students to use, including analytical and inspection laboratories, computer modeling facilities, meeting and seminar rooms, and office accommodation. Most importantly, the combination of facilities and diverse expertise, which will be available through a network of collaborations with local and international institutions, will complement and significantly expand the nuclear research and education capability of South Africa’s academic institutions by providing universities the opportunity to enrich the scope and value of their research programmes. This will increase the number of Masters, Doctoral, and post-Doctoral graduates produced by local institutions and support the creation of a knowledge-based economy. Finally, the Centre will play a role in the harmonization of undergraduate and postgraduate educational programmes in South Africa by facilitating the creation of joint-qualification programmes among collaborating institutions.