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VN wastes funds on overseas training for nuclear energy workforce

Update: 14-07-2014 | 00:00:00
Although Vietnam needs a qualified workforce for its nuclear energy development program, it has been wasting trillions of dong on overseas training courses that have not brought results.

 

Dr. Tran Dai Phuc, consultant to a nuclear power plant project in Ninh Thuan province, expressed his disappointment about the program to prepare human resources for the nuclear power industry, saying that the results had been unsatisfactory.

Phuc recommended that Vietnam should use thousands of workers from Electricity of Vietnam and the Ministry of Science & Technology and from research institutes for two-year training courses before sending them to Russia, the US or Japan for more advanced training courses for two to three years.

He said that long-term training was the only way for Vietnam to prepare a workforce for the nuclear power program.

China, when buying French nuclear power technology, has also sent its workers to France to study there for years to master the technology.

However, Vietnam sends its staff to short-term training courses only, which last two or three weeks.

The Ministry of Education and Training (MOET) has sent dozens of professors from five universities abroad for training, hoping they will then train workers when they return to Vietnam.

Phuc does not believe in the feasibility of the training program. “Six weeks is just enough for someone to read the table of contents, not enough to learn anything,” Phuc commented, reminding that each trip costs VND27 billion, a huge sum of money for Vietnam.

He warned that with such a training program, Vietnam’s workforce would not be able to satisfy the high requirements to run nuclear power plants.

“I am sure that Vietnamese can build plants’ fences or floors, but they cannot run nuclear reactors,” he said.

Agreeing with Phuc, Dr. Le Van Hong, former deputy head of the Vietnam Energy Institute, said that “glancing cursorily at some lessons is not a good way to master nuclear technology”.

Hong said the MOET’s program that sends groups of scientists to Hungary to improve their knowledge about atomic energy was funded with VND3 trillion from a government project to develop human resources for the atomic energy sector.

Over the six weeks training period, the Vietnamese scientists studied theory at the Budapest University of Technology and then put in practice hours at the Paks atomic plant.

However, as predicted, many scientists said their knowledge had not improved because they did not understand all of the courses which were conducted in foreign languages.

Hong said he did not know how much these trips cost, but he knows the level of knowledge received.

“They just learn very basic knowledge about nuclear power from these overseas training courses. They should have been taught about that in Vietnam,” he said.

“As far as I know, because the overseas training was ineffective, no more scientists from my institute have been sent to the courses overseas,” he said.

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