NNR partners with UP to launch first Centre of Excellence for Nuclear Safety and Security in Africa

Posted on October 06, 2016


The National Nuclear Regulator (NNR), in partnership with the University of Pretoria (UP),  officially launched the first Centre of Excellence for Nuclear Safety and Security (CNSS) in South Africa on 16 September 2016. The event took place on UP's Hatfield Campus.

Until now, South Africa did not have a centre or an institution dedicated to nuclear safety. Such a centre will provide 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 the provision of continuous professional development programmes in nuclear safety, researching nuclear safety to support regulatory activities and decision making, and providing technical support services in nuclear safety to the regulatory body and the nuclear industry.

'The CNSS is the first applied research and training establishment dedicated to developing essential skills required by South Africa's nuclear sector outside the traditional university sector. It will house training facilities for NNR staff, a selection of state-of-the-art irradiation and analysis equipment for researchers and students to use, including analysis and inspection laboratories, computer modelling facilities, meeting and seminar rooms and office accommodation,' explained NNR CEO Dr Mzubanzi Tyobeka.

Prof Cheryl De la Rey, Vice-Chancellor and Principal of UP and 
Minister of Energy, The Honourable Ms Tina Joematt-Petterson

Most importantly, the combination of facilities and diverse expertise, which will be available through a network of collaboration 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 with the opportunity to enrich the scope and value of their research programmes.  It is envisaged that this will increase the number of master's, doctoral and postdoctoral graduates produced by local institutions and support the creation of a knowledge-based economy.


About the National Nuclear Regulator

The National Nuclear Regulator (NNR) is a public entity established and governed in terms of section 3 of the National Nuclear Regulator Act 47 of 1999. The fundamental objective of the NNR is to make provision for the protection of persons, property and the environment against nuclear damage by establishing safety standards and regulatory practices suitable for South Africa. To this end, the NNR provides oversight and assurance that activities related to the peaceful use of nuclear energy in South Africa are carried out safely and in accordance with international principles and best practices.


About the University of Pretoria

In terms of student numbers, the University of Pretoria (UP) has one of the largest engineering schools on the African continent and certainly the largest in South Africa.

The Thomson Reuters International Science Index, which measures research productivity and citations of research work, ranks the UP School of Engineering among the top one per cent in the world and right at the top in South Africa. Almost 52% students in the Faculty of Engineering, Built Environment and IT are black and 32% of students are busy with postgraduate studies.

UP has been involved in a substantial amount of research and development associated with nuclear projects. Specialists from several faculties have contributed extensively to the successes of research and development projects at the South African Nuclear Energy Corporation (Necsa) and rendered substantial support as consultants to the Koeberg Nuclear Power Station. The technology development projects identified for improvement of the pebble bed modular reactor (PBMR) design, led by Prof Johan Slabber, also made extensive use of the specialist knowledge available in a number of departments at the University.

The Dean of the Faculty, Prof Sunil Maharaj, says that: 'The University of Pretoria celebrates 60 years of engineering education in 2016 and having the opportunity to host the Centre of Excellence in Nuclear Safety and Security in partnership with the NNR is indeed an honour for us and a historic event in the history of this institution. The University of Pretoria is well aligned to meet this challenge of human capital development, cutting-edge research and consultancy support to meet the vision of the NNR and the national Department of Energy. By collaborating with other universities, SOC and industry we will all contribute towards the development of a high level of expertise and the establishment of a sound regulatory and technology foundation for the nuclear energy mix for our country.'



- Author Gino Moonsamy

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