Mission to Korea strengthens co-operation on nuclear education

Seoul National University 3

NEA Director-General William D. Magwood, IV delivering a lecture to nuclear engineering students at Seoul National University (SNU).

A Nuclear Energy Agency delegation recently travelled to Korea to strengthen co-operation between the NEA and Korea, particularly in the area of nuclear education.  

Nuclear Energy Agency Director-General William D. Magwood, IV delivered a special lecture at Seoul National University (SNU) on the next era of nuclear energy to nuclear engineering students at SNU.

“It’s always a privilege to meet with nuclear students because not only do they possess a hunger to learn, but they have a genuine interest in using innovation to find solutions to the problems facing society; from mitigating the climate crisis, to ensuring domestic energy security, to contributing to their country’s economic development,” said Director-General Magwood.

The Director-General highlighted new opportunities for impact within the nuclear sector and explored the different career pathways available to students interested in a career in the nuclear sector. They covered a range of different areas including in nuclear economics, engineering, technology development, innovation, safety, decommissioning and law.

processed-E4BD9281-470F-40CC-9436-15C97885886DNEA mission to Korea, April 2024  

SNU engineering students guide NEA Director-General Magwood, IV through SNU nuclear research laboratories.

Following the lecture, the students and faculty took the Director-General on a tour of the university’s state-of-the-art NuScale Simulator Center and the nuclear fuel cycle lab. The Director-General also met with the Dean of College of Engineering, Professor Yoo Suk Hong, during which they reviewed the positive collaboration between the two organisations. During their meeting, Director-General Magwood highlighted the successful Global Forum country-specific workshop hosted in October, 2023 by SNU.

The NEA Global Forum on Nuclear Education, Science, Technology and Policy acts as an inclusive network of experts in the nuclear energy sector, primarily from academia, focused on enabling the generation and flow of ideas. One of the concrete outcomes from the Korea workshop was the formation of a Global Forum working group to address the development of curriculum for the back end of the fuel cycle and deep geological repositories (DGR). The NEA noted its appreciation for the chairmanship of this working group by SNU’s Professor Sungyeol Choi. These discussions and planned collaborative work strengthens and enhances co-operation between the NEA and Korea in their shared goal to further develop nuclear education to ensure that a skilled workforce will be able to meet the future nuclear energy capacity requirements.


NEA Director-General Magwood (middle) touring the E2 NuScale Simulator Center at Seoul National University, joined by NuScale CEO John Hopkins and his colleagues.  

During the mission, NEA Director-General William D. Magwood, IV was invited to speak at the Korea Atomic Power (KAP) Annual Conference which took place from 24-26 April in Busan. This year’s conference was entitled "A Pathway to Overcome the Climate Crisis with Nuclear Power" and featured three days of panel discussions and sessions exploring latest developments within the nuclear sector.

Director-General Magwood delivered a keynote address during the conference’s opening session and used the occasion to highlight Korea’s position as a global leader in nuclear innovation and technology development.

“Korea has stood out as a beacon of innovation and technological prowess in the field of nuclear energy during the past fifteen years. Korea’s long-standing commitment to research and development, coupled with a robust nuclear infrastructure, has positioned Korea as a global leader in advancing safe, reliable, and efficient nuclear technologies,” said NEA Director-General Magwood.

“Korea is an indispensable hub for driving sustainable development around the world,” he remarked.

The Director-General also highlighted the NEA’s new Project 2035, which is designed to address the global need to have a highly trained, diverse, gender balanced workforce in place by 2035. This NEA initiative will inspire students and teachers in secondary schools about nuclear science and technology and related STEM careers, as well as provide mentoring and training to students and young professionals around the world, creating a global network of role models and online educational resources.

The conference provided the opportunity for experts to discuss the latest developments in nuclear technology, radioactive waste management and also hosted a special workshop on the non-electric application of nuclear heat. Radioactive waste management is including the development of deep geological repositories is a topic of great interest to NEA member countries and will be explored in depth at the upcoming NEA conference International Conference on Geological Repositories (ICGR-7) to be held on 27-31 May in Busan, Korea.

On the margins of the conference, Director-General Magwood held a press conference with local media to highlight the NEA’s strong partnership with Korea and the Agency’s enthusiasm to support Korea in its nuclear energy ambitions. The NEA delegation also met with a number of nuclear industry leaders and government officials during the mission which gave the NEA Director-General the opportunity to highlight the NEA’s work on building stakeholder and public trust, the new Common Journey Initiative in Africa, and further plans for supporting nuclear education and strengthening the nuclear workforce.

Visit here for more on the upcoming International Conference on Geological Repositories (ICGR-7).

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