1977 Development and Training Program for the
Philippines' First Nuclear Power Plant

1 - Developmental Philosophy
2 - Recruitment Philosophy for the Operating Personnel
3 - Recruitment Process
4 - International Atomic Energy Agency's Recommendation

1 - Developmental Philosophy.        

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  • Overall View - This was the Philippines' first nuclear power plant, and with this came the expectation for the whole organization and for the country for complete (not merely partial) readiness.

  • Coverage of Developmental Program - A single project of this magnitude (approx. $1 billion in 1974) deserved the conscious appreciation of all government officials who are in one way or another participate in the approvals process. To achieve this appreciation, the program consciously covered within its scope the following

    1. Appreciation Tours - Appreciation tours to similar installations of relevant government officials, members of the National Power Board, and key Executives of the National Power Corporation. The officials of the Philipine Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC) were consciously excluded from this program in order to maintain their independence as the regulator. In any case, PAEC also received funding for visits and training programs abroad to enhance their "regulatory" capability.

    2. Organizational Dimension - The nuclear power plant existed within a government organization and was subject to rules that govern government organizations. A "head office" support group and a plant organization were created as integral parts of the project. The head office provided procurement and engineering support, and other services. A Filipino scientist with a Ph.D. degree in "Nuclear Physics" was recruited, together with another Filipino scientist with a Ph.D. degree in "Health Physics" were hired for the Head Office. The procedure for the staffing of the power plant proper was slightly different.

2 - Recruitment Philosophy for the Operating Personnel.        

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The desireable staff for the operations of the power plant are, ideally, gifted with 12 personal behavioral skills, some of which are outlined below

  • Family Acceptance - The wife or husband of the prospective operating staff must be in complete agreement about the future prospects of the staff on this kind of work. For this reason, all the spouses were also interviewed separately from their respective spouses.

  • Level of Personal Satisfaction - Since this was the first plant, and may not be followed by another one for years to come, the desireable operating staff is satisfied with being in such a function for years and years.

  • Tolerance for Boredom - There are very few activities that an operator of a nuclear power plant does outside a given routine. This routine is done, day in and day out during day, swing, or graveyard shifts.

  • Ability to be "Conditioned" (in the sense of Pavlov) - Nuclear incidents very seldom happen. When they happen, however, there will almost be no room for delayed action as one starts to rationally analyze the causes and possible actions. In the Philippines' nuclear power plant, emphasis was placed on the ability of the operating personnel to act in accordance with a stimulus-response condition. Their training at the "nuclear power plant simulator" in Zion, Illinois, USA, provided that assurance. Some of the instructors at Zion told us that all our 45 Filipino students there were at the top 15-percentile of the class - a very refreshing piece of information.

  • Stability Under Extreme Stress - This is self explanatory.

3 - Recruitment Process.        

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This process took 12 months from the time of the advertisement for opennings until the time that the recruits were issued Civil Service Appointments. The following paragraphs will summarize the process

  • Tests - Tests ranged from IQ, APTITUDE, SENTENCE-COMPLETION, RORSCHACH, and other personality inventory tests.

  • Conduct of Testing - We hired the services of "John Clements, Inc." to package the various tests in accordance with the objective that we gave them. After agreement on the tests, these were administered at three locations in the country - Manila, Cebu City, and Iligan City.

  • Quality Assurance - The result of the tests must portray the reality of the person tested, whether he be tested in Manila or elsewhere. For this reason, we hired an independent practicing psychologist to assure that results of the tests at any of the testing sites possess a similar overall atmosphere. This includes the general arrangement of rooms, lighting, air-conditioning, method of giving instructions, and testing personnel. The quality and reliability of the process is assured several days before the testing date.

  • Interviews - Interviews with the candidates themselves are also a subject of "quality assurance" program.

  • Final Interviews - We conducted final interviews after having narrowed down the choices from 1,240 applicants to about 150 applicants. It was at this point that the spouse of the candidate was also invited for a separate interview. This was a GO/NO-GO stage.

4 - International Atomic Energy Agency's Recommendation.        

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  • In 1977, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) held an Interregional Conference in Korea. The Philippines was represented by Mr. Jose Torres, of the National Power Corporation's Nuclear Power Plant Project (my superior and 1955 professor in "Direct Current Motors" in Electrical Engineering).

  • Mr. Torres presented the Philippine Nuclear Power Plant's (PNPP) project, explained the basis for it and its implementation and its continuing process of implementation.

  • At the end of the conference, the IAEA recommended that countries embarking on a nuclear power program follow the example of Philippines.

  • IAEA emphasized the Philippines' development program and its corresponding philosophy.

  • There and then, Mr. Torres committed to sending each of the 45 participating countries, complete copies of the program.