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The Utilization of Nuclear Energy Training Program for Kenyans

In Summer 2012, specialists from Kenya attended a one-month training program organized by the Nuclear Power Institute at Texas A&M University. The 29 participants represented a broad range of organizations in Kenya, including the private sector, academia and governmental organizations. The expertise of the attendees was diverse and included individuals from technical fields (i.e., scientists and engineers), law, human resources, communications, procurement, public policy and advocacy, public relations, and regulation. The program was custom-designed to meet the needs of the participants by providing a background on the utilization of nuclear energy as Kenya builds capacity to embark on a nuclear power program. Program activities included lectures, laboratory exercises, tours, visits to relevant organizations, facilities and plants, and group projects.

Lecture content included numerous scientific and technical subjects related to nuclear energy (e.g., fission power, nuclear reactor fundamentals) but was presented so that the non-technical attendees could understand the content. Non-technical subject matter also presented during the training program included nuclear security, international programs, engineering world health, U.S. nuclear regulation, and economics. Content delivery was provided by experts in their field, and to complement the lectures, attendees were involved in several participatory class exercises.

Attendees also participated in a 2-day out-of-town trip that included (1) an off-site training at a Texas nuclear power plant (South Texas Project/Power Nuclear Operating Company), (2) a visit with representatives from a two-year educational institution to learn about technical degrees/certifications relevant to the nuclear industry, (3) presentations by high school STEM teachers about K-12 student engagement programs, and (4) a meeting with a local government official. Other activities included a day-long exercise in emergency response at the TEEX Disaster City, and tours of the Texas A&M Power Plant and the Houston Space Center.

Group projects were an integral component of the program. The attendees were divided into teams and mentored by a faculty member. They worked on their projects throughout the one-month training, and then presented team reports at the program conclusion. Sample projects included (1) Strategy and Organization for Managing Nuclear Facilities; (2) Options for Storing Radioactive Waste; (3) Requirements for Radiation Protection Program and Environmental Monitoring; and (4) Electric Grid And Siting Considerations For Nuclear Plants.