On February 12, 2021, the first masters of the Faculty of Heat and Power Engineering of Igor Sikorsky Kyiv Polytechnic Institute under the study programme “Physical Protection and Accounting and Control of Nuclear Materials” in the specialty 143 “Atomic Energy” got their diplomas.
The students took their training path in September 2019. The Ministry of Energy and Coal Industry of Ukraine initiated the nuclear power study programme at Igor Sikorsky Kyiv Polytechnic Institute. The international partners from the United States, Sweden, Canada, and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) sponsored the programme. Besides, the United States Department of Energy (DOE) and the Middlebury Institute's James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies supported the establishment of such a study programme. Experts from the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies conducted a benchmark assessment of Ukraine's ability to provide a national nuclear safety training system. They recognized Igor Sikorsky Kyiv Polytechnic Institute as the most suitable Ukrainian university for this purpose.
However, the new program on physical protection and accounting and control of nuclear materials did not begin immediately. Developing a new curriculum and its implementation took more than three years.
Even more, the Faculty of Heat and Power Engineering established an educational and research laboratory “Physical Nuclear Safety”. The lab enabled specialist training in this field. The Canadian Security Intelligence Service became a sponsor for purchasing equipment. Also, the financial assistance of the Swedish Radiation Safety Authority renovated classroom facilities and the lab premises.
Western partners did not only assist in developing and implementing a new nuclear safety program and laboratory at the University. They also provided additional teacher training - the DOE took part in its organization. Thanks to its support, Igor Sikorsky Kyiv Polytechnic Institute staff completed internships at Texas Tech University and the Sandia National Laboratories (SNL) in the United States, as well as training at the IAEA courses.
Undoubtedly, the Ministry of Energy and Coal Industry and the Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine, as well as other organizations and state enterprises – the SE NNEGC “Energoatom”, the State Nuclear Regulatory Inspectorate of Ukraine and others - contributed a lot to implementing the study programme “Physical Protection and Accounting and Control of Nuclear Materials” at Igor Sikorsky Kyiv Polytechnic Institute.
One should also mention that the George Kuzmich Training Center of the Institute for Nuclear Research of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine helped in the development and provision of training courses equipment and a multi-functional training facility.
Before Deputy Minister of Energy and Coal Industry of Ukraine Yevhen Vladimirov presented diplomas in the meeting hall of the Academic Council of Igor Sikorsky Kyiv Polytechnic Institute, he admitted in his speech that Ukraine desperately needed those specialists. ‘Ukraine is currently in a state of hybrid warfare. Therefore, this area of training for nuclear energy is essential,’ he said. ‘The establishing of this study programme is a clear example of coordinated cooperation between Ukraine and its partners. Every effort has been made to ensure physical nuclear security for global security.'
It is important to note that the new program enrollment has beaten the record: 29 part-time students and 9 full-time students. ‘Most of them are people who already work in nuclear energy. They include representatives of the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant, employees of the State Agency of Ukraine on Exclusion Zone Management, employees of the State Nuclear Regulatory Inspectorate of Ukraine and other enterprises,’ said Dean of the Faculty of Heat and Power Engineering Yevgen Pysmennyy. ‘They studied in two groups of part-time students who have just received their diplomas today. Full-time students have already received diplomas. Almost all of them have already got a job in the specialty. And, of course, new graduates will soon complete education. Besides, in the summer there will be another intake of students. That is, such specialists training for the Ukrainian energy industry will continue.’
Giving credit to foreign partners, the Embassy of the United States of America in Ukraine, the Embassy of the Kingdom of Sweden in Ukraine, the Embassy of Canada in Ukraine, the International Atomic Energy Agency, the Swedish Radiation Safety Authority, and the US Department of Energy, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service and other partners were invited to the graduation ceremony. The representatives of the Ministry of Energy and Coal Industry, the State Nuclear Regulatory Inspectorate of Ukraine, the SE NNEGC “Energoatom”, and the State Agency of Ukraine on Exclusion Zone Management became guests of the ceremony. Due to the quarantine restrictions, the graduation ceremony was held online. Of course, the distance mode did not prevent the guests from congratulating the graduates and saying warm words.
Of course, diplomas awarding became the culmination of the festivities. Vice-Rector for International Relations Serhiy Sydorenko, Deputy Minister of Energy Coal Industry of Ukraine Yevhen Vladimirov, and Deputy Head of the State Agency of Ukraine on Exclusion Zone Management Maksym Shevchuk presented the first masters in nuclear safety with diplomas. They also congratulated new specialists and wished success in the chosen career.