Japan's Hitachi-GE announced on 4 August that it has renewed an agreement on international human resources development with the National University of Malaysia (UKM) and the Universiti Tenaga Nasional (Uniten), a private university operated by Malaysia's largest power company, Tenaga Nasional Berhad.
Hitachi-GE has agreed to run an international human resources development programme for nuclear energy, leveraging a course that the company has jointly conducted with Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech) for the past five years. So far the course has been held at venues in Southeast Asia and other regions and attended by more than 2,000 students. Under the new programme, Hitachi-GE will work with Tokyo Tech, which has cooperation arrangements with UKM and Uniten.
The new course will "target students specialising in nuclear energy as well as researchers and other specialists from institutions involved in the nuclear power industry in Malaysia", Hitachi-GE said. The first of a series of nuclear power seminars will be held at Uniten on 20 September, expected to be attended by about 80 students.
Malaysia is over 90% dependent for its electricity needs on fossil fuels and in 2008 the government expressed tentative support for nuclear power, setting up a task force to investigate the option. In early 2010 the government set aside $7bn for plant construction and the Ministry of Energy, Green Technology and Water was instructed to identify suitable locations, yielding eight possible sites. In January 2011, the Malaysia Nuclear Power Corporation was commissioned under the new Economic Transformation Programme to lead the eventual deployment of NPPs over a 12 year period.