According to the World Nuclear Association, “Asia is the main region in the world where electricity generating capacity and specifically nuclear power is growing significantly.” Among those nations interested in adding nuclear power to their energy mix, Malaysia is currently working toward 2021 as a target date for the country to start generating its own nuclear power. As such, the country needs to develop the required human resources in the academic, industrial, and legal sectors very quickly. With such an ambitious goal, Malaysian universities are actively pursuing cooperation with top existing programs in nuclear engineering, hand-in-hand with seeking expertise in nuclear safety, security, and safeguards to help it quickly develop a native workforce capable of running the power plants and comprising their regulatory infrastructure.
The week of March 19-24, 2012, NSSPI helped to host a Malaysian delegation consisting of representatives from two of the country’s universities, Universiti Tenaga Nasional (UNITEN) and the National University of Malaysia (UKM), along with the Tenaga National Foundation, an organization that sponsors education both within the country and abroad. The objective of their visit was to learn more about educational and research activities currently sponsored by NSSPI and the Nuclear Power Institute (NPI) at TAMU.
The meeting produced a number of ideas for collaboration between NSSPI and the Malaysian universities, including the possibility of organizing a Foreign Field Experience in which US and Malaysian students would tour facilities in South Korea, internships at NSSPI for Malaysian students and nuclear professionals, and developing workshops on safety, security, and safeguards in Malaysia featuring presentations by NSSPI faculty.
The visitors from the Malaysian institutions included: Vice Chancellor Prof. Dr. Mashkuri Yaacob and the Dean College of Engineering Prof. Dr. Mohd Zamri Yusoff from UNITEN; Dean of the Faculty of Law Prof. Dr. Aishah Bidin, Dean of the Faculty of Science and Technology Prof. Dr Sahrim Haji Ahmad, and Professor Emeritus Prof. Dr. Noramly Muslim from UKM; and Director Mr. Azman Zakaria, Manager of Tertiary Education Ms. Mazira Ahmad, and Researcher Sdn. Bhd., Sheikh Kamar Sheikh Abdullah of TNB. While at TAMU, they visited the facilities within the TAMU Department of Nuclear Engineering, as well as the Nuclear Science Center and the Bush School of Government and Public Service, and met with the local student chapter of Women in Nuclear.