Britain's University of Sheffield and China's Tsinghua University announced on Wednesday they have jointly created a master’s degree course in nuclear engineering and management, something that will help ensure the supply of suitably qualified graduates for bilateral nuclear projects.
This program is the first China-international joint masters in nuclear engineering and management, and leverages on both universities' respective expertise in the nuclear technology sector.
The first intake of students, who will start their classes at Tsinghua University in Beijing in September, will comprise 80 students from China and 30 from overseas. The two-year master's program is taught in English.
The University of Sheffield is heading efforts to market this program outside China, and in addition it is offering 10 scholarships to woo international students to join the program.
China General Nuclear Power Group, China National Nuclear Corporation, and the State Nuclear Power Technology Company will all partner on the master’s degree program by providing students with internship opportunities.
One aim of the program is to help young engineers from the United Kingdom become familiar with the Chinese nuclear industry and its technology, especially so they can contribute to projects such as Hinkley Point and Bradwell.
CGN, and France's EDF are jointly investing in three nuclear power stations in the UK: Hinkley Point C, Sizewell C, and Bradwell B. The projects represent China's first investments in the nuclear industry within a mature economy.
CGN has submitted China's nuclear reactor design, HPR1000, to the UK’s nuclear regulator in search of its approval. If the plans are cleared for use, the Chinese-designed reactor will be built at Bradwell B.
Meanwhile, CGN has made a bid to buy an equity stake in another UK plant, Toshiba's NuGeneration, which is also known as NuGen.
All of the developments will require considerable research and development work to ensure effective China-UK collaboration and the successful localization of Chinese technology and expertise in the UK. Cultivating the requisite knowledge and skills is seen as an important part of this localization work.
"Part of the aim of the joint program with Tsinghua is to get young UK engineers familiar with Chinese methods and ways of working, and vice versa," said Andrew Storer, chief executive officer of the Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre, the UK government-backed center at the University of Sheffield. "It's all part of the preparation for Hinkley Point C, and especially for Bradwell. It’ll be even more beneficial if CGN does acquire NuGen and HPR1000 reactors are built."
The Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre has been working with CGN on its potential acquisition of NuGen.