Nuclear technology a boon for industry development

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Speaking at the official opening of the SA Nuclear Energy Corporation’s Radiation Protection Training Centre, Minister Davies said there were many applications for nuclear energy, which presented great opportunities for industry to prosper.. Speaking at the official opening of the SA Nuclear Energy Corporation’s Radiation Protection Training Centre, Minister Davies said there were many applications for nuclear energy, which presented great opportunities for industry to prosper..

Trade and Industry Minister Dr Rob Davies has encouraged South African industry to make use of nuclear technology in order to stay competitive and innovative.

Speaking at the official opening of the South African Nuclear Energy Corporation’s Radiation Protection Training Centre (RPTC) on Tuesday, Minister Davies said there were many applications for nuclear energy, which presented great opportunities for industry to prosper.
 
Industries such as manufacturing, the medical field and agriculture could benefit from exploring the use of nuclear technology, the minister said.
 
The Department of Trade and Industry (dti) has contributed R3 million for the purchase of laboratory equipment towards the training of Radiation Protection Officers (RPOs) within the nuclear and non-nuclear industry, and Necsa is at the forefront with its training programme.
 
The centre, which began operating in March 2013, has already trained 100 RPOs.
 
“RPOs are people that are responsible for safety in various applications of radiation and nuclear technologies. I think that it’s not widely appreciated at how broadly the application of radiation technology is in manufacturing, in many agricultural companies, and in the medical technology field, where radiation technologies are used,” said the minister.
 
The training will contribute to the creation of employment, equity and enterprise development in the nuclear industry and other industries, including agriculture, standards, research and development, as well as environmental protection.
 
The minister said the ability to be able to roll-out the use of nuclear and radiation technologies depended on the country’s ability to be able to operate these technologies safely.
 
While nuclear technology is beneficial, there are risks of accidents.
 
“We are bound by international conventions, for example, the convention on nuclear safety that requires adequate standards of safety, and these are also required by our national legislation,” Minister Davies said.
 
The centre, said acting RPTC CEO Xolisa Mabhongo, was the first of its kind for Africa within the nuclear energy industry arena, and it had been internationally benchmarked in line with other nuclear energy training centres around the world.
 
“This centre is a pioneering initiative that will catapult South Africa’s nuclear protection status to new levels. The potential of this training centre is enormous and we are certain that it will create many new opportunities, not only for Necsa but South Africa and Africa as a whole by introducing more people to this industry and introducing even more skilled personnel into the sector,” said Mabhongo.
 
Courses at the centre are specialised and offer three levels, namely radiation protection monitoring (RPM) (NQF level 3), Radiation Protection (PR) (NQF level 4) and Radiation Protection (RP) (NQF level 5).
 
The centre also provides university projects ranging from honours to PhD degree levels and currently the centre has students from the University of Johannesburg, Venda University and North West University

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Energy  |  Rob Davies  |  South African Nuclear Energy Corporation  |  Department of Trade and Industry (dti)