ENEC’s First Class of Emirati Nuclear Reactor Operators Complete Westinghouse Simulator Program


Select group gain world-class education toward careers as licensed nuclear reactor operators

A select group of talented Emiratis have completed their foundational training program to become the UAE’s first certified nuclear reactor operators. Senior Reactor Operators play a critical role in the direction and supervision of a nuclear energy facility; ensuring safe operation, maintenance and testing.

The program is part of the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation’s (ENEC) comprehensive training program to prepare this elite group to attain Senior Reactor Operator (SRO) Licensure/Certification.

The specialized program is being delivered by ENEC’s training partner, Westinghouse Electric Company. ENEC’s extensive SRO preparation program involves advanced technical education and on-site training at some of the world’s most advanced nuclear facilities. This program is a key element of the UAE’s model nuclear energy program that combines advanced technologies and safeguards with training that reflects the highest international standards.

“Highly knowledgeable, safety-conscious and skilled reactor operators are essential to the safe and reliable operation of the UAE’s first nuclear energy facility”, said ENEC’s Deputy Chief Nuclear Officer Ahmed Al Mazrouei. “The Westinghouse program is part of the world-class training we are providing to Emiratis pursuing an exciting career in nuclear energy as senior reactor operators. Our commitment to excellence not only involves recruiting the best talent, but providing them with the best training and equipment.”

While imparting knowledge of nuclear fundamentals, plant systems, and integrated plant operations, the course plays a key role in the development of a nuclear safety culture. This is achieved through a continuous emphasis on the principles for a strong nuclear safety culture, human performance fundamentals, control room supervisory skills, teamwork and communication.

“I believe that we are working with an exceptional group of young men and women,” said David Helling, Senior Training Advisor at Westinghouse. “They have worked extremely hard, they are excited about what they are doing, and I believe that they truly understand the importance of their work to the future of nuclear energy in their country. They developed a strong sense of teamwork that resulted in the formation of a Community of Learning among themselves and their instructors. It was a pleasure and an honor to work with them.”

For more than 20 years, Westinghouse has presented its Management SRO Equivalency Program to operational personnel from utilities around the world. The program will provide operational knowledge and skills on a simulated pressurized water reactor for those not yet licensed as SROs. The UAE selected an advanced pressurized water reactor design (Korea Electric Power Corporation’s APR-1400) for the nation’s first nuclear energy facility.

The intensive 17-week program is divided into three parts, consisting of an online component, classroom instruction and training in a simulator that recreates various operational situations. The coursework, which covers reactor power plant theory and plant systems, meets ANSI/ANS-3.1 requirements for a Nuclear Station Manager. The program uses student-centered curriculum, involving hands-on activities and control room simulations, to help students better retain what they have learned.

Among the topics being covered:

- Major plant systems, including components, controls and instrumentation

- Interpretation of mechanical, electrical and controls drawings and diagrams

- Operation thermodynamics and reactor-theory concepts necessarily to operate a pressurized water reactor safely and reliably

At the end of the program, the students will review what they have learned and take a final examination.