Home » News »

Euro-Korean talks on nuclear energy

Photo of the participants of the first meeting of the Visegrad Group and South Korea forum

It was the first-ever meeting held as part of the forum, and there are plans for more

Promoting the nuclear industry and the need for cooperation in the development of human resources in this field – these were the main topics discussed during the visit of representatives from the Visegrad Group countries to South Korea. The Warsaw University of Technology was represented by the Vice-Rector for Research, Prof. Mariusz Malinowski and Prof. Rafał Laskowski from the Faculty of Power and Aeronautical Engineering.

Representatives of state authorities and science from Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Hungary came to Seoul for the first meeting of the V4-ROK University Presidents Forum for Nuclear Industry Human Resources Development. The Polish delegation included representatives of four universities: the University of Warsaw, the AGH University of Science and Technology of Kraków, Wrocław University of Science and Technology, and the Warsaw University of Technology.

Topics for discussion and cooperation

During the forum, the current state of the global nuclear industry and emerging technologies, including small modular reactors (SMRs), were presented. Representatives from South Korea, the Czech Republic, and Slovakia shared their achievements and future plans in the field of nuclear energy. During the discussion, it was emphasized that nuclear power plants are not only economic projects but also have significant political, diplomatic, and economic significance. The context of ongoing and planned works – energy security and climate change – was also highlighted.

An important part of the meeting involved discussions on staff training for the nuclear industry. All parties agreed that ensuring adequate human resources at the national level is crucial for the safest and most efficient operation of nuclear power plants. The participants of the forum discussed the importance of teaching nuclear engineering, project and human resource management, industrial law, environmental protection, business financing, IT, and artificial intelligence – this comprehensive approach aims to effectively prepare specialists for the construction and operation of nuclear power plants. Cooperation with KEPCO International Nuclear Graduate School (KINGS) is expected to be beneficial, given its active development of collaborative educational activities with nine universities from the V4 region, including the Warsaw University of Technology.

– It was a very interesting experience, providing the opportunity to learn more about the didactic and scientific potential in the field of nuclear energy in the V4 countries and Korea – says the Vice-Rector for Research, Prof. Mariusz Malinowski. – All these countries, except Poland, have nuclear power plants, which is why their methods of acquiring knowledge were interesting, providing adequate local human capital to sustain and advance the energy sector and offer new technologies on the global market, as is the case of Korea.

What can we gain?

As emphasized by Prof. Malinowski, the conclusions and proposals of the first meeting of the forum that are crucial for our University, focus on cooperation in the V4 group and Korea in the field of training future staff for nuclear energy.

– Gaining these experiences for Poland and the WUT is particularly important – emphasizes the WUT's Vice-Rector for Science. – Currently, we educate specialists who work in institutions such as the National Center for Nuclear Research, the Central Laboratory for Radiological Protection, the National Atomic Energy Agency, and the Polish Nuclear Power Plants. However, in the near future, the demand for experts in the field of nuclear energy in Poland is expected to significantly increase. Moreover, the competences of our graduates will be essential for managing maintenance in the power plants themselves, as they are planned to be operational in the relatively near future. This applies not only to conventional nuclear power plants, but also to SMRs, which are not yet on the market.

How can the Warsaw University of Technology benefit from involvement in the work of the forum?

– The most important thing is to recognize the WUT on the international forum as an institution that has been training nuclear energy specialists for years and has extensive experience in this field – emphasizes Prof. Malinowski. – We are also ready to conduct collaborative research in such sub-areas as nuclear electronics, search for new materials, cybersecurity, advanced control and security systems, specialized robots or modern sensors and communication systems. All these elements are necessary for the reliable operation of systems as complex as nuclear power plants. In addition, by becoming a partner with institutions that participated in the forum, we have the opportunity for academic exchange. In the coming months, our students will go on internships at KINGS – KEPCO International Nuclear School in Ulsan.

The upcoming meeting of the V4-ROK University Presidents Forum for Nuclear Industry Human Resources Development is planned to include representatives from the business community associated with the nuclear industry. As emphasized during the first meeting, there are over 700 South Korean companies operating in the Visegrad Group countries that can support the activities of the forum.