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Rosatom student competition winners receive awards in SA

Rosatom student competition winners receive awards in SA

May 27, 2015

May 21, Johannesburg, South Africa ~ Winners of the National Essay Competition entitled “Fulfilling Energy Needs and Developing the Nuclear Industry in South Africa” have received awards at the North-West University (NWU), Potchefstroom campus.

Organisers of the competition, Rosatom Africa and the Faculty of Engineering of the North-West University, have selected the best essays among those submitted by young engineers and researchers. These up-and-coming South African nuclear professionals of the future were asked to give an analysis of the country’s current energy requirements and existing trends in the national energy sector.

The winners of the competition are:
• 1st prize – Ebhard Nilsen, Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering Faculty of North-West University
• 2nd prize – Sandile Kumalo, Nuclear Sciences and Engineering Faculty of Witwatersrand University
• 3rd prize – Mapheto Masibane, Nuclear Sciences and Engineering Faculty of Witwatersrand University

The authors of the three best essays and their supervisors have been awarded a trip to Russia to visit a number of Russian nuclear power complex sites, including a nuclear power plant (NPP), a reactor model and a nuclear fuel plant. The trip will take place in second part of year 2015. The winners have also received commemorative prizes including hard drives and diplomas.

The jury also made a special mention to Joe-Nimique Cilliers, PhD student in Nuclear Engineering of North-West University for outstanding work.

The prize-giving ceremony was opened by NWU Professor Harry Wichers. In his welcoming speech, he emphasized that a joint initiative of Rosatom Africa and the North-West University to hold this competition reflected the organizations’ commitment to the development of the energy system in South Africa and their willingness to ensure a sustainable future for the national economy with particular focus on helping young specialists fulfill their professional ambitions.

“The competition has demonstrated that the citizens of South Africa are aware of the need for development of the national energy industry, and that young specialists are concerned with the country’s development over the next 10 to 20 years. It is vital to maintain this enthusiasm and to help the researchers fulfil their potential,” he said.

A short speech was also given by Dr Dmitri Bessarabov, DST National Hydrogen Infrastructure Center of Competence Director at NWU. Dr Dmitri Bessarabov mentioned that “long-standing relationship between NWU and some Russian academic centres working in the Nuclear Energy sector has led to this exciting event”.

Contestants included students and researchers from five national universities. Comparison of different energy sources was the most popular topic: it was selected by 41% of contestants. The second most popular subject was perception of nuclear energy in South Africa; it was examined in 16% of submitted essays. The remaining papers covered the other three suggested topics (see below) in roughly equal proportions.

The prizes were awarded by head of jury Professor Vladimir Artisyuk, Vice-Rector and Deputy Director of the Central Institute for Continuing Education and Training,  Professor Harry Wichers of NWU and Dr Dmitri Bessarabov, DST National Hydrogen Infrastructure Center of Competence Director at NWU.

Vladimir Artisyuk congratulated the winners: “The essays submitted to us reflect a profound understanding of the current situation and existing trends in the energy sector. The conscientious and responsible approach of the contestants to the competition proves that the future of the South African energy industry and economy is in safe hands.”

Before the award ceremony, all contestants were also given an opportunity to attend a lecture delivered by Vladimir Artisyuk on the subject of Russian nuclear technology, which outlined the history of the development of the country’s nuclear technology, the operations of Rosatom and its educational and training programs for employees in the nuclear energy industry. The lecture was hosted by HySA Centre at NWU.
The open lecture and the award ceremony were attended by representatives of the South African Nuclear Energy Corporation (NECSA), as well as senior management and researchers from the North-West University.

The North-West University started cooperating with Rosatom in 2013 by signing a memorandum that provides for joint programs, such as cooperation in research, exchange of specialists, joint seminars, cooperation in publication of textbooks and training of specialists.

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