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Non-nuclear energy


Fission and radiation protection

Nuclear European Platform for Training and University Organisations

The NEPTUNO project brings together all aspects of European education and training in nuclear engineering, nuclear safety and other nuclear disciplines. Its main objectives are to ensure that the courses in nuclear education offered by European universities are high quality and compatible with the Bologna declaration and to harmonise professional training and accreditation schemes in the sector.

Integrated university courses, more students, greater mobility

Announcement of an exchange course satisfying the ENEN criteria © FRAMATOME ANP (The EPR)
Announcement of an exchange course satisfying the ENEN criteria
During the fifth European Framework Programme the European Nuclear Education Network – the ENEN Association was established to deliver quality certification for education and training in nuclear disciplines. The NEPTUNO project will further the integration and qualification of university courses in nuclear disciplines at European universities and enhance the harmonisation of professional accreditation criteria and associated training programmes across the European Union.

In addition the NEPTUNO project will provide an analysis of current education and training resources. Working with the European research mobility programmes, such as Marie Curie Fellowships, this will allow European academic institutions to preserve their nuclear expertise, counter the decline in student numbers, and provide an increasing number of postgraduate students trained in nuclear science and engineering. A key element of this approach is the development of the European Master Science’s degree in Nuclear Engineering and the optimisation of postgraduate training schemes including active exchange of students.

Education and Training in Enlarged Europe, e-learning, ERASMUS

NEPTUNO is coordinated by the French National Institute for Nuclear Sciences and Technology. The project consortium consists of 35 partners, including 25 universities, and ten research institutes or private companies from 19 countries. Twenty-six of the partners are also members of ENEN. The project will produce a state of the art report on education and training in the enlarged European Union that will feed into the NEPTUNO databases on European Nuclear Know-How. Technology developed by the Sustainable and Innovative Nuclear Technology Evolution – R&D Network (SINTER) in a previous Concerted Action will allow access to the database via the internet and a variety of communication systems will integrate e-learning with conventional teaching methods and education and training efforts from other European research projects.

A Europe an Master of Science in Nuclear Engineering curriculum will be developed using information evaluated from qualified courses offered by ENEN Members and NEPTUNO Partners. The admission criteria for exchange of students under the EC ERASMUS scheme to encourage transnational co-operation and funding resources offered to universities, students, the nuclear industry and research centres will be evaluated and other advanced courses and continued professional training programmes in nuclear studies promoted. The qualifications and training required for key professional functions in the nuclear industry, regulatory bodies and in other relevant nuclear professions will be assessed. Past and current training programmes, in particular training courses on nuclear safety, will be studied to design a new programme on “Improved Professional Performance for Subcontractors”.

European MSc, competence and expertise preserved

The project will deliver an operational network of institutions for academic education in nuclear studies at the master, doctoral and post-doctoral level that is complemented with research organisations, regulatory bodies and industrial partners supporting research and development, benchtraining and continuing professional learning schemes.

End Users of the NEPTUNO project will benefit from preservation of competence and expertise for the continued and safe use of nuclear energy and other applications of radioactive materials in industry and medicine. It will provide a harmonized approach to safety issues and best practice, at operational and regulatory levels across all European Member States; and a harmonized approach for education and training in nuclear studies. This will secure the sustainability of Europe’s excellence in nuclear technology and create a European Nuclear Knowledge Management Strategy.

Public safety, security of supply

Nuclear power plants supply 30% of electricity consumed in the EU and will continue to operate for a many decades together with their associated fuel reprocessing plants. Whatever the future profile of nuclear power these existing plants will require decommissioning and management of their waste until at least the end of this century. To ensure public safety and continuity of power supply requires competently trained nuclear scientists, engineers and radiation protection specialists.

Uncertainty about the future of nuclear power has led to fewer students studying nuclear subjects and a shortage of new professionals. However, new investments in existing plants to ensure compliance with modern safety and operational requirements continues and the next generation nuclear power systems is being designed as a response to the challenges of global warming. The ENEN Association developed a structured response to this problem and a roadmap for the way ahead. The NEPTUNO project also anticipates the requirement for nuclear scientists and engineers when a decision to reactivate the nuclear programmes is taken.

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