The North-West University’s School of Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering hosted the South African Network for Nuclear Education, Science and Technology (SAN – NEST) workshop on “Future Nuclear” research and knowledge creation also known as “Green Frontiers” on 3 July 2017.
The workshop aims at bringing together stakeholders in the nuclear energy sector, in particular in the field of nuclear research to discuss the prospect of fostering an international university-centred research collaboration. This will contribute to research opportunities for bright young researchers to engage in innovation and reinvigorate nuclear research.
The Minister of Energy, Ms Mmamoloko Kubayi who attended the workshop, welcomed members and researchers from the Department of Science and Technology, Department of Energy, NECSA, iThemba Labs, the South African Young Nuclear Professionals Society, North-West University, WITS University, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, University of Pretoria and the University of Johannesburg. She stated that she was excited about the nuclear programme and its initiatives that the North-West University is running under the guidance of Dr Anthonie Cilliers which they discussed during the 2017 Atomexpo in Moscow, Russia.
Ms Kubayi further stated that the stigma of nuclear energy in South Africa needs to be addressed.
The issue of localisation, ownership and sustainability should be addressed when it comes to nuclear energy. Nuclear has a very critical role to play in our society and we want to pursue the nuclear programme. “As the government, we need to find a mechanism to communicate information on nuclear in a better way to the public and we have to be transparent and open in the process of building the nuclear sector in the country.“
“We also have to push the communication on nuclear, so that we as South Africans will acknowledge the excellent work delivered by the nuclear sector.” Ms Kubayi congratulated the NWU on the continuous work that is done around the post graduate programmes in nuclear, in particular, the Nuclear Technology Management Masters degree where the NWU became the third university in the world to be recommended for endorsement by the IAEA.
“We need to get more role players, such as graduates, in the space of nuclear, because of the different career and business opportunities it has to offer and will open for a country such as South Africa.”