ROSATOM, together with more than 900 representatives from 100 countries, discussed issues of training personnel for the sustainable development of global power engineering
On June 25-26, the 2nd Obninsk NEW International Youth Nuclear Forum 2024 was held in Obninsk as part of events dedicated to the 70th anniversary of the launch of the world’s first NPP. It brought together over 900 participants from more than 100 countries. Among them there were the heads of ROSATOM, representatives of the authorities of Russia and partner countries, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), experts in the field of nuclear education, students of nuclear and related specialties.
The key event of Obninsk NEW 2024 was the plenary session “A World Inspired by Atoms: Our Common Dream for the Next 70 Years.” The Deputy Prime Minister of the Russian Federation Dmitry Chernyshenko addressed its participants with words of welcome. He noted that nuclear power engineering is one of the cleanest in the world, and the state supports the use of its technologies in various fields of industry. According to the speaker, it is important to strengthen scientific cooperation on nuclear technologies with friendly countries, given that the Russian President Vladimir Putin has set the goal of increasing the number of foreign graduates of Russian universities up to 500 thousand by 2030. To achieve this, it is necessary to build new campuses at universities, expand the practice of double degrees and take other measures to allow foreign students to live, study and work comfortably in Russia. The Governor of the Kaluga Region, Vladislav Shapsha, in his address emphasized that nuclear power engineering and Obninsk are inextricably linked since nuclear technologies in medicine and agriculture were born here, and this is where the pioneers of the nuclear submarine fleet come from. All these achievements, the speaker believes, were created by the energy of people, and today Obninsk again accumulates this energy. The Director General of IAEA Rafael Grossi and the President of the World Nuclear Association Sama Bilbao y Leon reminded the audience in their speeches that in November 2023, at the COP 28 Climate Conference, the whole world agreed that global goals to combat climate change could not be achieved without nuclear power engineering.
The discussion took place with the participation of the Director General of ROSATOM Alexey Likhachev, the President of the National Research Center "Kurchatov Institute" Mikhail Kovalchuk, the Deputy Director General, Head of the IAEA Department of Nuclear Energy Mikhail Chudakov, the Minister of Higher Education, Innovation, Science and Technology Development of the Republic of Zimbabwe Amon Murwira, the Deputy Chief Economist, Head of the Personnel Policy Department of the China National Nuclear Corporation Yang Chaodong, and the co-founder of the "Youth for Energy in Southeast Asia" organization Jitsai Santaputra.
The main focus was on climate change, the need to provide millions of people around the world with access to green energy, clean water, healthy foods, as well as the role of science and education in the development of nuclear technology. In his speech, Alexey Likhachev shared what inspired him to implement projects in the interests of the country and the world. “First of all, people inspire. And first of all, these are the founding fathers of the nuclear industry – creative, purposeful, courageous people. It was they who, after the end of the Great Patriotic War, not only began work to restore nuclear parity, but also came up with the initiative to use the atom for peaceful purposes. In addition, I am inspired by the people of today who, despite the economic and technological war, are developing projects at home and abroad. And, of course, it is inspiring to work with young people: members of Impact Team 2050, ambassadors of Russian nuclear education, and those who have gathered today at this forum. There is no doubt that in the future you will take our places, which means you must be even more educated, skillful and ready to use your strengths and skills in the interests of your nation,” he shared.
Another important event of Obninsk NEW 2024 was the plenary session entitled “Sustainable skills for a just energy transition and clean energy technologies.” It was attended by the Deputy General Director for Personnel at ROSATOM Tatyana Terentieva, the Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research of the Arab Republic of Egypt Mohamed Ayman Ashour, the Director General of the Department of Atomic Energy of the Ministry of Science and Technology, Deputy Secretary of the Working Committee for the Implementation of Nuclear Energy programs of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar Dr. Theingi Maung Maung, the Director General of the Energy and Water Sector Education and Training Authority of South Africa Mpho Mookapele and other speakers.
They discussed the situation on the labor market in the power engineering sector of their countries, as well as the knowledge and skills that young specialists need in the context of the energy transition. The speakers agreed that in addition to fundamental technical knowledge and extensive practice, high professionalism, the ability to learn and work in a team, communication skills, and entrepreneurial thinking were important. Tatyana Terentieva spoke about the main challenges that ROSATOM faces today – internal personnel needs, demographic trends, changes in people's values – as well as the complex solution of the State Corporation: an innovative ecosystem for the development of human resources, covering schoolchildren, students, and industry professionals. The speaker dwelt in detail on the Obninsk Tech project, which will become a large scientific and educational center and unite nuclear youth from all over the world. Tatyana Terentieva emphasized that the future center already has all opportunities for this, including 20 ROSATOM flagship universities, where it was possible to do internships at research reactors. Today, within the framework of Obninsk Tech, technology schools are being held, a youth Mega Council of the project has been created, and next year its educational products will be presented.
Also, on the sidelines of the forum, a panel discussion “Nuclear Power Engineering: How to Break it Down into Atoms and Make Knowledge about Technology Accessible to Everyone” was held, dedicated to the main stereotypes in the field of nuclear technologies. In particular, the speakers debunked the myths that nuclear power engineering was unsafe, that its technology was outdated, that it should have been done by the older generation, and that training in nuclear specialties was difficult and did not open career prospects for young people and women. Together with the IAEA, an interactive seminar “Explaining the Atom: How to Win the Young Generation” was organized. At this seminar, a group of technical experts and young people discussed the most effective practices for promoting the nuclear industry and nuclear technologies, which would be used in the preparation of the IAEA Guidance.
For reference:
The Obninsk NEW International Youth Nuclear Forum is a leading international discussion platform about key technologies, innovations and education in the global nuclear industry. It is dedicated to discuss nuclear technologies for the future, including new materials and energy systems. In 2023, the forum brought together about 500 experts, young scientists and specialists from more than 70 countries. They discussed the global challenges facing the industry on the path to creating a future based on the principles of sustainable development, as well as prospects for the development of nuclear and related sciences, the creation of a new system for training and career management of industry specialists.