GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy (GEH) has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Krakow-based engineering school AGH University of Science and Technology to collaborate in the training of a skilled nuclear engineering workforce that will be needed to help develop and operate future nuclear power plants that Poland plans to build to diversify its energy supplies.
Under the MOU, GEH would support AGH University’s educational and certificate programs for nuclear, mechanical, electrical, and chemical engineering students who will be in great demand by the Polish nuclear industry. The MOU is the latest in a string of agreements that GEH has signed with a growing list of top engineering schools, project management firms and potential component suppliers as the company deepens its base of local suppliers to participate in Poland’s nuclear energy program. GE currently employs more than 1,000 engineers among more than 10,000 people in Poland.
“AGH University of Science and Technology is proud to collaborate with GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy to help Poland achieve its nuclear energy goals by doing what we do best – training the engineers of tomorrow to help ensure Poland has a brighter and more secure economic and energy future for many years to come,” said Professor Tomasz Szmuc, vice rector for science at AGH University of Science and Technology.
Poland’s state-backed utility Polska Grupa Energetyczna S.A. (PGE) has targeted 2020 as the commercial date of operation for its first nuclear power plant. GEH is a leading designer of BWR technology and services worldwide and has more than 50 years of continuous new plant construction experience.
“Our MOU with AGH University and other universities underscores our long-term commitment to assist Poland in developing a domestic pool of engineers and skilled workers who will be needed to build and operate the country’s first nuclear power plants,” said Danny Roderick, senior vice president of new plant projects for GEH. “AGH University will play a vital role by ensuring that engineers have the certifications they need to work in Poland’s nuclear energy industry.”
Earlier in 2011, GEH signed similar MOUs in with Gdansk University of Technology, West Pomeranian University of Technology, Szczecin University and Koszalin University of Technology. In 2010, GEH also announced it had donated its valuable GateCycle ™ software packages to Warsaw and Gdansk Universities of Technology, and to AGH University. GE’s customized GateCycle software is used to model nuclear steam cycles and is a powerful tool in teaching engineering students advanced methods of plant modeling and troubleshooting to optimize plant performance.
During the summer of 2011, GEH hosted 14 interns from several Polish universities—including five from AGH University—at the company’s U.S. headquarters in Wilmington, N.C. The 10-week assignment exposed these students to many facets of GEH’s business including engineering, finance, regulatory affairs and information management.