HA NOI (VNS)— Students who study nuclear power at domestic universities will now have their tuition and accommodation fees waived, thanks to the Government's recent draft decision.
The decision, which is currently open to public opinion, also stipulates that students who perform well will receive monthly scholarships worth eight to 15 times the monthly tuition fee, while those with average learning capacity will still be provided with adequate monthly support.
Students who perform well during their final year will have the opportunity to take 6-month internships in countries with a developed nuclear power industry.
Post-graduates will get financial support ten times higher than tuition fees during their time at university and get support equal to 30 times their minimum salary when they publish scientific work in international scientific publications.
Students in foreign countries will receive tickets, visa and passport fees and health insurance free of charge depending on their level of study. Those who display weak results for two consecutive semesters will be switched to other branches.
The move comes as part of the Government's effort to attract a high-quality workforce into the atomic power sector and put into operation the first nuclear power plant in central Viet Nam.
The plant, which is scheduled to commence construction in 2014 in central Ninh Thuan Province, is expected to become operational after 2020. By that time, about 2,400 nuclear engineers will be needed to operate the plant safely and securely.
Director of the Ministry of Science and Technology's Viet Nam Agency for Radiation and Nuclear Safety Vuong Huu Tan said although the benchmarks were very low, these seven schools could recruit between 40 - 60 students.
Tan said favourable policies would attract more students, especially excellent ones, to the new major of nuclear power. He added that Da Lat University in the Central Highland province of Lam Dong has begun a pilot programme to waive tuition and accomodation fees for students in the major which has so far recruited 30 students with high marks.
"Those who will operate the nuclear power plant in the future should be paid a very high salary - U$1,000 per month for example - and enjoy good working conditions, instead of the current salary of VND3-5 million ($144-240)," he said.
He cited South Korea's policy on offering high salaries and prime working conditions to attract overseas nuclear power researchers and experts to return to the country, saying Viet Nam could also implement such policies to meet demand for the safe and secure application of atomic energy.
The Government has already approved a VND3trillion ($144 million) project to train human resources for the atomic energy field from now until 2020, upgrade seven universities offering majors in the atomic power sector and reform curricula. Under the National Power Development Plan for the 2011-20 period with a vision to 2030, nuclear power is set to generate nearly 1,000MW, accounting for 1.3 per cent of the country's total power output, a number which will rise to 7 per cent after 2020. — VNS