Nuclear Knowledge Management at WNU's Summer Institute

102 international Fellows are participating in the 2007 Summer Institute of the World Nuclear University, Daejeon, Republic of Korea, 14 July ? 24 August 2007
Photo: Baptista

15 August 2007 ? More than 100 international fellows have come together for the third annual Summer Institute of the World Nuclear University (WNU-SI) in Daejeon, Republic of Korea, from 14 July to 24 August 2007.

Mr. Robert Workman, Head of the INIS and Nuclear Knowledge Management Section, is one of the 30 Distinguished Speakers at this year's WNU-SI. Presenting a lecture on knowledge management today, Mr. Workman highlighted the IAEA nuclear knowledge management programme, reported on the findings and recommendations of the International Conference on Knowledge Management in Nuclear Facilities (IAEA, June 2007) and explained some of the IAEA's nuclear information resources, notably INIS, Nucleus and PRIS. A case study focused on capturing and transferring nuclear technology knowledge.

The WNU-SI also affords opportunities for fellows to work together more "actively" in small groups. Hence Mr. Workman facilitated a workshop on knowledge capture and transfer in which fellows were asked to respond to a series of questions regarding knowledge that they feel that they need. Key points that emerged from the lively discussion included:

The attitude of an organization's management is critical for successful knowledge capturing and transfer, connected with allocation of resources and ensuring that knowledge management processes are indeed implemented. "Here the organizational culture can play a major role", Mr. Workman states.

More examples of implementing nuclear knowledge management in nuclear organizations, i.e. good practices, are desirable. Fellows suggested that a document by the IAEA that summarizes such examples would be helpful.

Capturing knowledge in a 'Wikipaedia' format ? a living document within an organization that allows peer review and comments ? was among the many ideas voiced, in addition to 'spider maps' as a way of mapping knowledge. Also, job 'shadowing' and videos would facilitate transferring nuclear know-how.

Risk and cost evaluation of knowledge loss was another important point made. "Often, organizations don't immediately recognize the cost that is associated with loss of knowledge due to people leaving a plant", one of the fellows pointed out, since the effects may only be felt much later.

"The output from this workshop will be extremely useful for the IAEA in helping to shape its future NKM activities, but may be of even greater significance to those managers within the nuclear industry who are confronted by the issue of knowledge transfer to the next generation" Mr. Workman believes.

The 2007 WNU-SI is organized by the WNU Coordinating Centre in cooperation with the Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute (KAERI), the Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power Co. Ltd (KHNP) and Korea Nuclear Society (KNS). The IAEA, as one of the four "Founding Supporters" of the World Nuclear University, is supporting the event and contributes to the program design, together with the Nuclear Energy Agency of the OECD (NEA), the World Association of Nuclear Operators (WANO), and the World Nuclear Association (WNA). IAEA Director-General Emeritus Mr. Hans Blix is Chancellor of the World Nuclear University.

The first WNU-SI was held in the USA in 2005; the 2006 WNU-SI took place in Sweden and France. To date, 166 Fellows from 44 countries have completed this nuclear education institute.