Vietnam's government has approved a VND3-trillion (US$154 million) plan to train and develop a skilled workforce for the atomic power sector over the next ten years.
The government plans to build two nuclear power plants in the central province of Ninh Thuan with a total capacity of 4,000 megawatts by 2020. Six additional plants will be constructed in the central region through 2030.
"Atomic energy can also be used in the healthcare sector, industry, agriculture and other economic sectors. Thus, there will be a shortage of human resources to work in the field," the government said in the statement issued through a government website on August 21. "The plan is expected to help Vietnam develop human resources in tandem with its atomic capacity."
According to the human resource plan, Vietnam will seek to bring its university-level atomic energy studies into step by 2015, five years before any of the plants are operational. The first stage of the upgrade focuses on six schools that are already involved in the field, including the University of Science Ho Chi Minh City, University of Science Hanoi and the Vietnam Atomic Energy Institute's Nuclear Training Center.
"Current education in atomic and technical physics has focused mainly on theory with little practice and without regular updates of knowledge in nuclear science and technology. The facilities and equipment are lacking and outdated," according to the government statement.
The government said the country is short of leading scientists in the nuclear field. According to their statistics the country employs a total of 505 qualified professions including 62 doctors.
Under the plan, Vietnam will seek to rapidly develop its resources for receiving nuclear technology transfers and operate and maintain nuclear power plants by the time the first plant opens in 2020.
Vietnam hopes to train 2,400 nuclear engineers, and issue 350 masters degrees and PhDs for operating nuclear power plants. Two hundred engineers and 150 of the high-level graduates will be trained abroad. Vietnam will also train another 100 masters and PhDs to teach nuclear energy at educational institutions.
In addition, the country will reform its curricula, course books and policies for teaching atomic science. The upgraded schools are expected to bring in 250 students each year for this course of study.