In early March a delegation from Japan spent two days in CICE&T to investigate the system of nuclear power personnel training in Russian Federation.
The representatives of Tokyo Institute of Technology (Titech) approached the State Atomic Energy Corporation “Rosatom” and requested to organize a familiarization visit to Obninsk for their professors with a view to learn first-hand about the practices of the Russian system for continuing education and training. On the 5th March the Japanese delegation Central Institute of Continuing Education and Training (CICE&T). The Japanese visitors noted that CICE&T activities serve as a good example of establishing an industry-wide system for advanced and continuing training. The Rector of CICE&T Mr Yu.Seleznev briefed the Japanese delegation on the key activities of CICE&T and prospects for further development. From the Russian side, Vice President of JSC “Rusatom Overseas” Mr Yu. Sokolov, Director of Department of Global Nuclear Infrastructure also took part in the meeting. He provided an overview of the State Corporation approach to rendering assistance in development of national infrastructure for governance and regulations of nuclear power programmes in newcomer countries. The issues highlighted by Mr Yu.Sokolov included the IAEA recommendations on nuclear infrastructure development, training of Russian experts to be engaged in assisting newcomer countries to establish nuclear infrastructure and practical experience of Russia in cooperation with countries embarking on nuclear power programmes to establish national nuclear infrastructure.
In turn, Prof. Hiroshi Akatsuka spoke about the nuclear education in Japan. The emphasis in Japan is primarily placed on “education through research”. The higher education system involves three stages and on completion of postgraduate programme students are awarded the degree of Doctor and take engineering positions in major companies such as Hitachi, Mitsubishi, Toshiba. “When we looked into the Russian experience we were surprised that taking a philosophy exam was required for obtaining the Candidate of Science degree,” Hiroshi Akatsuka said. Now it has been decided to teach “non-physical disciplines’ in the Tokyo Institute of Technology.
A major change in the educational system has happened after the Fukushima accident. Staff is now demanded who would be capable of understanding all aspects of nuclear power at the international level. In this context the need arises to develop new programmes for fostering future nuclear elite. Accordingly, education should include economics, law, history, philosophy, culture and foreign languages. In Titech, by the way, students from other countries are instructed in English when taking a Master’s course. There were quite a number of Russian students in Titech about 15 years ago, but not a single one today. “That is why my Russian is getting worse,” Prof H. Akatsuka said self-critically in good Russian. Foreign students coming here are now mainly from South East Asia: Malaysia, Vietnam, Thailand. The current practice is the use of visiting instructors. Titech professors go abroad for delivering week-long courses. Of course, a week is not enough for proper training and these lectures are mainly for familiarization purposes. Those foreign students who get interested come to Titech to join a Master’s or Doctor’s programme. Such visiting teaching was organized in Saudi Arabia, Vietnam, Thailand and Malaysia.
After the workshop a tour of the Interdepartmental Special Training Center (ISTC) was organized and on their second day in Obninsk the Japanese delegation visited the Obninsk Institute for Nuclear Power Engineering – Branch of MEPhI National Research Nuclear University.
“We have established warm relationship thanks to Professor Vladimir Artisyuk who worked in Titech for ten years. Our cooperation should be maintained for the sake of knowledge transfer and support. It is not just about knowledge, but also mutual scientific and cultural cross-fertilization. When Vladimir Artisyuk arrived in Japan and began learning the Japanese language, I started learning Russian. I could even make scientific presentations in Russian. Now I tend to forget Russian because there are no Russian students in our Institute. It is desirable that more Russian students would study in Japan”. One of the nearest goals for our cooperation is conducting specialized courses in CICE&T for Japanese students and instructors. Joint course will contribute to strengthening our links. CICE&T has experience in conducting courses for countries- recipients of Russian nuclear technologies. We are also aware that specialized training on engineering aspects of nuclear fuel was organized in CICE&T last year for European postgraduates. The credits awarded by CICE&T instructors were accepted in accordance with the European credit system. We would like to see a similar training for Japanese students. About Obninsk: wonderful city focused on science, it is quiet and clean.”
“Just one meeting cannot resolve all issues, it is more important to maintain contacts on routine basis. Actually, this kind of system is now taking shape: some time ago I visited the Tokyo Institute of Technology and Vladimir Artisyuk was there later. Today’s workshop can be considered as returning the visit. It is true that the systems for training top management for national nuclear programmes in our countries do not cross over, being self-sufficient , but cooperation in training students would certainly be beneficial. Even if one student goes to study in Japan, it would be an accomplishment. And what seems totally feasible is sending a professor from Russia to Japan to deliver lectures there, while a professor from Japan could be visiting us and delivering lectures in English to our students.”