Blix heads nuclear bid

September 26, 2003

A World Nuclear University has been launched with former UN Iraq weapons inspections chief Hans Blix as its first chancellor.

Its goal is to create an internationally recognised diploma or degree that is taught at supporting academic institutions worldwide.

John Ritch, the director-general of the World Nuclear Association, said the university would coordinate nuclear engineering teaching and research. Its academic council will work on deals to share facilities, preserve and manage nuclear knowledge, exchange students, strengthen course content and harmonise standards and credentials.

International Atomic Energy Agency director-general Mohamed ElBaradei said the initiative would help tackle the problem of the continuing reduction in the number of nuclear engineering courses.

But he warned: "Even if no new reactors were to be constructed, the industry would require a substantial influx of new workers to maintain the safe operation - and subsequent decommissioning - of existing plants."

Mr Blix welcomed the university as an institution that could promote critical thinking on nuclear power, where assessments were often corrupted by "spin".

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