The IAEA has completed its first review of the curriculum of a university degree program with a nuclear specialization. The four-day visit to the Budapest University of Technology and Economics (BME) in Hungary aimed to support the further development of the program by identifying potential new resources and sharing good practices.
The review of BME’s undergraduate and postgraduate programs in physics, energy engineering and the master’s program in medical physics was led by John Roberts, an IAEA knowledge management specialist under the Agency Knowledge Management Assistance Visit (KMAV) service. He was accompanied by Robin Grimes, Professor of Energetic Materials at Imperial College London in the UK and Radek Skoda, Professor of Electrical Power Engineering at the University of West Bohemia in the Czech Republic.
The KMAV service is a peer review designed to help countries maintain and preserve knowledge in nuclear organizations. Education and training organizations can use the service at three levels, depending on the status of their nuclear or radiological education and training programs. Level 3 KMAVs, for the most advanced programs such as BME, can provide specific assistance to optimize and improve programs to ensure their sustainability, and are also used to record good practices which are then used as a reference. in level 1 and 2 KMAVs.
BME’s Nuclear Engineering Institute (NTI) has been providing training since the launch of Hungary’s nuclear power program in the 1970s. Hungary currently generates nearly half of its electricity from four nuclear reactors with a capacity of of 1900 MWe and plans to build new reactors to meet its energy needs.
“With Hungary’s long-term commitment to using nuclear energy for low-carbon electricity generation, the importance of high-quality nuclear education continues to increase” , said Attila Aszodi, dean of the Faculty of Natural Sciences. “BME will see the benefits of this visit for many years to come.”
During the visit, which took place from December 14 to 17, the KMAV team spoke with senior management, staff and students from the university and toured the laboratories and the research reactor. Experts have confirmed that BME has strong nuclear study programs producing highly qualified BSc and MSc graduates with excellent breadth and depth of knowledge. The ability to access a training reactor is a huge advantage for students and the study programs benefit from being closely aligned with the current and future needs of the Hungarian nuclear industry.
As this was the first such mission, BME assisted the IAEA by providing feedback on the content and format of the requested information prior to the visit which, combined with an effective mission schedule, optimized the time available for the visit.
“We are very grateful to BME for hosting this first-of-its-kind peer review engagement, providing available feedback that will be incorporated into the planning and conduct of future such assignments,” Roberts said. “KMAVs can help universities optimize the delivery and content of their programs based on best practices gathered from universities such as BME.”
Through its KMAV service, the IAEA will work with other universities with well-established nuclear and radiological education programs, as well as with universities wishing to establish such programs.