Nearly 500 young nuclear specialists from 182 organisations in 32 countries shared their knowledge and experience at the International Youth Nuclear Congress (IYNC) in Hangzhou, China. It is the first time the Chinese nuclear industry has hosted an event enabling the industry’s young generation to share knowledge, experiences, views and observations on technical, economic and political topics affecting the nuclear sector globally.
Amec Foster Wheeler was represented byYipeng Wang, Graduate Control and Instrumentation trainee, Shengke Zhi who is China Business Manager for our Clean Energy Europe business and a member of the IYNC executive committee, and Mayank Sood, who is the country representative for Canada’s Young Generation Network and has supported our work on the Candu reactors at Qinshan in China.
Both Shengke and Mayank gave presentations and led various sessions and workshops, providing great opportunities for delegates to communicate with each other and listen to insights from senior professionals.
I chaired a panel session on future leadership and a mentoring programme workshop. It is clear that with such an ambitious nuclear development programme, China is facing a shortage of nuclear professionals, particularly in nuclear construction and fleet management where there are only half of the required number of experienced engineers and project managers. Therefore, there is a great opportunity for international firms, like Amec Foster Wheeler, to help develop local capabilities and resources to meet the requirement of future growth.
The importance of innovation and digitisation, in all areas from research and development to management, was a common theme in presentations given by the CEOs or presidents from well-known international nuclear organisations. For the sake of quality improvement and capital control, the industry is looking hard at digitisation, robotics and 3D printing technology to support the functioning of advanced reactors.
There may not have been agreement about everything at IYNC – that’s inevitable when such diversity of thought comes to the surface – but the brainstorming has produced some great ideas.
China now has the world’s fourth largest civil nuclear fleet with 34 reactors in operation and 20 under construction. By the end of 2020, China’s nuclear generating capacity will be 58GW and with many more under construction, it will soon become the largest nuclear market in the world, a position it is likely to hold for many years to come. Driving this expansion are the need to combat environmental pollution, electricity generation reform and growing electricity consumption. Westinghouse’s Asia President Gavin Liu believes 35-40% of the company’s nuclear business will rely on China by 2020. As an organisation with more than 60 years’ nuclear heritage, Amec Foster Wheeler is developing its strategy for working with China’s nuclear industry.