The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has reported that its second South Africa-IAEA Nuclear Energy Management (NEM) School, held in Johannesburg earlier this month, was attended by 23 young professionals from 13 African countries. The School was organised in conjunction with the University of the Witwatersrand. Most of the 20 lecturers were South African experts.
The School ran for two weeks, from November 12 to November 23. Participant selection was by means of an online pre-training course and a test, employing an IAEA platform – the Cyber Learning Platform for Network Education and Training. This hosted all the documents, training materials and presentations.
The central themes of the School included the fundamentals of nuclear energy, IAEA support for member country nuclear power programmes, and international cooperation. Other focus areas were nuclear power technologies, nuclear fuel cycle and waste management, nuclear power plant (NPP) operation, nuclear safety, nuclear security, safeguards, and the participation of national industries in the construction and operation of NPPs.
Other topics addressed were energy policy and planning, the economics of nuclear power, legal issues, nuclear human resources issues, nuclear knowledge management, nuclear enterprise leadership and management, effective involvement of stakeholders, and the role of nuclear energy in countering climate change. There were also group activities such as a technical visit to the South African Nuclear Energy Corporation’s research reactor (SAFARI-1, at Pelindaba, west of Pretoria/Tshwane), team building, and the promotion of further networking.
“It was very inspiring, especially being with colleagues from other member States,” said Lesotho Energy and Meteorology Ministry principal technical officer Maime Leeto. “This networking initiative is a gift of a lifetime for an aspiring future leader.”
“The NEM School had relevant content for the world we live in today in terms of nuclear energy and where it fits in the energy mix,” reported Kenya Radiation Protection Board staff member Evalyne Rotich. “It was very beneficial for me because the lecturers gave day-to-day examples, their experiences and best practices.”
The IAEA has been running NEM Schools, with various partners, since 2010. To date, more than 850 young nuclear professionals have graduated from these schools, which have been held in Italy, Japan, Russia, South Africa, the United Arab Emirates and the US. The schools are for countries which have established nuclear power programmes, or are starting, planning or considering such programmes, and are aimed at nuclear professionals with managerial potential.