The government of Singapore has announced $63 million of funding over the next five years for a Nuclear Safety Research and Education Programme (NSREP). The funding is in line with recommendations from a 2012 study that Singapore needs to keep monitoring nuclear energy technology developments and should strengthen its capabilities in the field.
The two-part programme comprises the Singapore Nuclear Research and Safety Initiative (SNRSI) focusing on research and developing capabilities in nuclear safety, science and engineering; and the Nuclear Education and Training Fund (NETF) which will support education and training in those areas.
The SNRSI will be led by Professor Lim Hock and will be hosted in the National University of Singapore where he is a professor of Physics. It will be a national resource that taps into the local research institutions and builds up new capabilities, according to the National Research Foundation, part of the Prime Minister's Office, Singapore.
"One of the biggest challenges for us has been the lack of qualified and experienced personnel in areas such as nuclear safety analysis and management," said Professor Low Teck Seng, chief executive officer of the National Research Foundation.
"Therefore we have to start building up the capabilities now to ensure that there are suitably trained local scientists and engineers who can assess developments in nuclear technology, and nuclear energy programmes in the region, and advise the government on nuclear safety issues," he added.
While a government-commissioned study concluded in October 2012 that current nuclear energy technologies are not suitable for deployment in Singapore, it said that the country should continue to play an 'active role in global and regional cooperation on nuclear safety, monitor the development of nuclear energy technologies, and support research in nuclear science and engineering.'