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Establishment of a Regional Center of Competence for VVER Technology and Nuclear Applications

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Dedicated training on nuclear reactor technology

In the aftermath of the Fukushima accident, an EU-funded initiative sought to enhance both safety and performance of nuclear power plants with VVER technology through knowledge transfer and competencies building.

Industrial Technologies

VVER, the Russian version of the pressurised water reactor and employing light water as coolant and moderator, is currently operated in 11 countries. Although education and training have always been an enabling factor of sustainable development for this nuclear technology, high-level courses were at risk of discontinuity. Against this backdrop, the EU-funded project CORONA (Establishment of a regional center of competence for VVER technology and nuclear applications) was initiated to develop a training centre dedicated to VVER technology. In this endeavour, universities worked together with research organisations, regulatory bodies and industry representatives. CORONA partners first identified the training needs of nuclear professionals and researchers, subcontractors and students in nuclear disciplines. The next step was to gather the most experienced trainers in all the different aspects of VVER technology within the EU and abroad. Lastly, multinational training schemes for all the different target groups were proposed. Pilot training courses were organised in Sofia and Kozloduy (Bulgaria), in Loviisa (Finland) and Moscow (Russia). The feedback received from participants showed that textbooks and multimedia resources have successfully provided specialised knowledge and skills. They also promote attitudes identified as a necessary ingredient to assure a high level of safety for European nuclear plants. To overcome the mobility challenge, the VVER knowledge portal was developed to provide easy access to VVER-related information that is essential for managing nuclear power plants. All the training material is archived in a document repository. In addition, the portal features the latest news from the nuclear industry and offers tools to improve collaboration within the VVER community. The CORONA project has laid the groundwork for the harmonisation of training programmes according to commonly accepted standards recognised in the EU. By improving the way of training nuclear professionals as well as specialists working in support of nuclear power plants, such as civil engineers, VVERs are expected to remain among the safest industrial facilities.

Keywords

Nuclear reactor, nuclear power plants, VVER, knowledge transfer, education and training

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16 March 2020