Emirati high school pupils to train in nuclear industry in South Korea

Fifty students from Institutes of Applied Technology will spend most of July in Seoul on internship programme run by Korea Electric Power Corporation.

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ABU DHABI // Top high school pupils will take part in a new exchange programme in South Korea this summer to help train UAE nationals for careers in the nuclear industry. Fifty Grade 11 students, aged 16 or 17, from the Institutes of Applied Technology (IAT), a network of high schools established by the Government in 2005 to train scientists, engineers and technicians, will spend most of July in Seoul.

They will take part in an internship programme run by the Korea Electric Power Corporation (Kepco), which leads a consortium that has been contracted to build nuclear power plants in the UAE. The programme, announced yesterday, is a collaboration between Kepco and the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (Enec). The IAT has been given the task of producing students capable of working in the UAE's nuclear sector when the plants come online in 2017.

All signs suggest the Seoul programme will be the first of many such training opportunities for young nationals. Male and female pupils who will make up the first batch of Emirati trainees will be selected from a pool of more than 150 applicants from the institutes in early June. The programme will include field trips to nuclear power plants in South Korea. Each student will be assessed on their academic and practical performance and potential. Some pupils will start the programme in Seoul as early as July 10.

Dr Abdullatif al Shamsi, the institute's director general, said one of the programme's goals was to get locals interested in nuclear energy at an early age. "It's the beginning of putting these students on track for the nuclear profession," Dr al Shamsi said. To this end, the IAT will also launch a three-year diploma programme in 2011 to train young Emiratis to work as nuclear technicians at the power plants.

The chief executive of Enec, Mr Muhammed al Hammadi, said nuclear energy was a critical part of the UAE's future. "That's why we need to build human resources." @Email:klewis@thenational.ae