We are proud when our engineers develop a product which is admired not only by us but also by the expert teams around the world.
From today's perspective, I can freely say that nuclear power plants are indeed the most significant technological achievement of the human mind.
The energy of an atom can be used for electrical energy generation, which is a prerequisite for sustainable development on our planet. Only the best experts in the world can cope with the most significant challenges, such as controlled fusion.
We are proud when our engineers develop a product which is admired not only by us but also by the expert teams around the world. We develop such products daily, and we are happy that INETEC – the Institute for Nuclear Technology, which I founded 28 years ago, and Croatia through that segment are becoming recognizable in the world. Education is the key on that path.
Looking back, I can't say there were many shortcuts on my path, but it has brought me to a place where it's clear how new technologies pave the way for future technologies, just like generations for new generations.
I finished high school in Rijeka. I was one of the best students in my generation, so I was expected to continue with my education. I've always been good at maths, but my Croatian teacher talked me out of studying it. He advised me to enroll in technical studies saying it's better to be ‘Mr Engineer' than a math teacher. I took his advice, but there was a new dilemma. Should I choose Naval Architecture that I dreamt about because I was born and raised on the seacoast or opt for Mechanical Engineering and rely on my computing skills instead of drawing skills and ship design? I was rational and opted for Mechanical Engineering.
I was a member of the first generation of postgraduate study at the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering and Naval Architecture in 1969. As far as I remember, I was perhaps the first in the generation who completed the study in 1972. Unfortunately, I couldn't apply for my PhD thesis in 1975 since there weren't any teachers with PhD degree at the Department of Power Engineering at that time. However, I accepted the invitation from the late Hrvoje Požar, PhD, and applied my dissertation at the Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computing which I successfully defended in 1977.
The Faculty of Mechanical Engineering and Naval Architecture invited me to deliver a course titled ‘Nuclear power plants' on postgraduate studies, then on undergraduate and graduate studies. The course was held for a couple of years until it was shut down.
The founding of INETEC - the Institute for Nuclear Technology in 1991 was a logical step in my career, though, given the circumstances of the war, it certainly wasn't easy.
I was the CEO of the Institute since its foundation to 2006. During that time, I was responsible for developing all business activities and creating long-term work and leadership strategies. After that, as the owner along with my daughter Zrinka Čorak, PhD, I've directed business and development strategies. Over the past 28 years, INETEC has developed into the world's leading organization for the development of a system for testing vital components of nuclear power plants, and the implementation of the testing itself.
There are more than 80 employees in the Institute. Almost 80% of them have graduate engineer degrees. Most of them have master's degrees in mechanical engineering, i.e., MEng. Recently, most newcomers come from the Department of Design and Mechatronics.
We develop systems for testing vital components of nuclear power plants (almost all components in a nuclear island). In particular, INETEC is entrusted with the task of developing an ITER (International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor). This is a confirmation that INETEC develops and manufactures testing systems of the highest technological level in the world.
Testing systems and analyses they provide are essential tools for demonstrating the integrity of nuclear power plants, which is a prerequisite for confirming safety issues of a nuclear power plant. Thus, I'm really proud that our engineers can develop a product that is a subject of admiration. In other words, eddy current instrument that previously had dimensions of 60x60x60 can now be put in a 6x6x1 mm chip, which is definitely the best in the world. INETEC expert teams have made an essential contribution to this achievement
That is why we grant annual INETEC Student Award for excellence to students attending the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering and Naval Architecture and the Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computing.
We wanted to send a message to students that many people and organizations value and need this excellence. Without keeping this excellence in Croatia, we cannot expect to be in line with highly developed countries.
The focus must be on keeping ambitious, hardworking, successful and goal-oriented cadre in Croatia. We provide them with the opportunity for such creativity, and they are assured that the conditions we've created here are better than those they could see in highly developed and large corporations.
We've recently founded the Foundation ITER MEUM ILLUMINA, which translates ‘Enlighten my path', with the primary goal to encourage excellence through education and to foster innovative and scientific projects thus creating the prerequisites for increasing the competences of society, with the ultimate goal of ensuring sustainable social and economic development of the Republic of Croatia, as well as promoting humanitarian action.