[China Daily] Program powers up nuclear experts
By Xu Jingxi in Zhuhai, Guangdong (chinadaily.com.cn)
A Sino-French program run by Sun Yat-sen University and the alliance for civil nuclear engineering education in France held a graduation ceremony on Monday for its first 72 master's degree graduates, who are expected to be a driving force in China's fast-developing nuclear industry.
The alliance consists of four higher education schools and the technological research institute under the national supervisor of nuclear safety.
Having completed six years of study, the graduates received nuclear engineer certificates that are acknowledged by the French government.
The Sino-French Institute of Nuclear Engineering and Technology in Zhuhai, Guangdong province, was founded in 2009, aiming to meet China's urgent demand for talent in new energies such as nuclear power.
It now has more than 500 students.
France is strong in nuclear technology and has been cooperating with China since the Dayawan nuclear plant in Shenzhen 30 years ago.
"As an important player in globalization, China will certainly cooperate with foreign partners, including France, to develop the new generation of nuclear power technology. I believe that IFCEN graduates will make great contributions to the process," said French Ambassador to China Maurice Gourdault-Montagne, who attended the graduation ceremony.
"IFCEN graduates will become China's elite nuclear engineers in the future, managing the country's nuclear power stations and pushing forward technological innovation," he said.
The Sino-French institute has a busy curriculum to get students prepared in language and professional skills.
The final three years of the program adopt the French training model for engineers, with teachers sent from French partners and experts in nuclear enterprises invited to give lectures.
Students need to accomplish three rounds of internships during this phase, progressing from blue-collar jobs to tasks as an engineer.
Students can choose to graduate with a bachelor's degree after finishing four years of study, but most of them endeavor to get a master's degree.
Most of the 72 IFCEN graduates have landed a job at China General Nuclear Power Corporation, a leading clean energy company headquartered in Shenzhen.
Three of the remaining signed contracts with Electricite de France and two with AREVA, both major nuclear power enterprises in France.
Six graduates will pursue a PhD.
"IFCEN has built an international platform for us and provides diversified career choices," said student Li Yang.
"I had the opportunity to work at the French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission for my graduation practice, which helped me win a full scholarship for my Ph.D. studies in France," Li said.