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How Intercontinental Nuclear Institute Program Strengthens Young Nuclear Professionals Careers

19 September 2018
Improved regulation of power plant maintenance in Hungary, higher levels of safety in the transportation of neutron sources  in Slovakia and a new network of young nuclear professionals to exchange best practices – these are some of the concrete outcomes of the four-year old Intercontinental Nuclear Institute (INI) that were discussed at a panel discussion dedicated to the impact of INI on young nuclear professionals.
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A panel of INI graduates, an INI co-director and IAEA experts shared their experience of the program at a side event to the 62nd IAEA General Conference on 19 September, 2018.INI promotes long-term sustainability of nuclear power programs and infrastructure through capacity building, global dialogue and technical engagement. The programme is a joint initiative of the U.S.-Czech Civil Nuclear Cooperation Centre (CNCC) in Prague and the University of Massachusetts at Lowell (UML). INI is supported by the IAEA, the United States and the Czech Republic and has trained over 100 fellows in the past four years.INI alumnus András Siklósi, a nuclear safety inspector at the Hungarian Atomic Energy Authority, said: "I gained an understanding of maintenance practices for on-line power plant systems and the required number of redundant systems during power plant maintenance. I have used this experience in the development of adjustments to the legal and regulatory framework in Hungary. I was also able to use my contacts through the INI to obtain references for my work in developing Hungary’s regulatory guidelines.""Networking with the other fellows has been one of the highlights for me. I am part of an online INI alumni group on social media and I can see that others are still engaging with each other quite often. Even if some people don’t keep in touch on a regular basis they are able to know who is who and what they are working on," remarked Ieva Lukošiūtė, an INI alumna from Lithuania. Ms. Lukošiūtė is a Chief Specialist at Ignalina Nuclear Power Plant Decommissioning Division."Meeting and networking with specialists from the field was special to me because they share the same passion for the future of nuclear. When I did the program, I was working on my masters and deciding if I should do a PhD. INI reinforced my belief in the potential of nuclear and solidified for me that I want to do a PhD. I know I will be able to apply what I’ve learned through INI in my research," said Anna Fortova is a PhD Student at the Department of Nuclear Energetics at Czech Technical University in Prague. "What I liked about the program was learning about non-technical topics such as risk mitigation, which has improved my managerial skills that I am able to apply in my current role as a leader one part of a project," said Filip Osusky, a researcher at the Institute of Nuclear and Physical Engineering at the Slovak University of Technology in Bratislava. Just two months after his graduation from the programme, he has managed to implement a new communication workflow for the transportation of containers with neutron sources for measurement. More efficient communication has led to faster transport, what resulted in lower dose intake of operational staff during the manipulation with container.The INI program was created to address the need for technical cooperation amongst Central and Eastern European countries with established nuclear power programs and later expanded to include newcomer nations. Another aim has been to train young professionals in this field. 
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"Another emphasis of the INI program, beyond the technical cooperation, is to build a network of experts and a cohort of young individuals who can trust each other and work together," said Radek Skoda, co-director and Associate Professor of Nuclear Engineering at the Czech Technical University in Prague. "INI is unique ibecause leaders of both the United States and the Czech Republic understood the importance of building this international network of professionals. INI has proven that it has reached these goals," said Alex Burkart, Senior Level Advisor for Nuclear Safeguards, at the Office of Multilateral Nuclear and Security Affairs, Bureau of International Security and Nonproliferation, U.S. Department of State.The 2019 INI course is scheduled to take place 3-28 June, 2019. Please visit the <a href="http://www.intercontinental-nuclear-institute.com">Intercontinental Nuclear Institute</a> for more details.
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Photos: Fady Nassif
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Text: Brianna Hartley

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