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Building Capacities for Nuclear Safety in Young Professionals in Latin America and the Caribbean

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Technical visits to the Bariloche Atomic Centre were core to the three-month course. (Photo: ARN) 

New graduates of the postgraduate course on nuclear safety, delivered by the IAEA in cooperation with Argentina’s Nuclear Regulatory Authority (ARN) and with the Engineering Faculty of the University of Buenos Aires,  recently returned to their home countries to contribute to nuclear safety and radiation protection. The graduates—eight of whom received support through an ongoing, regional technical cooperation (TC) programme[1]—are young students and professionals working in the nuclear field.

“Education and training are a fundamental pillar to ensure safe and secure applications in the nuclear and radiological field. For many years, this course played and continues to play an important role in strengthening the safety infrastructures and promoting the IAEA safety standards in the region,” said Gustavo Caruso, Director of the IAEA’s Office of Safety and Security Coordination, in his remarks to the course graduates.

Held from 5 September to 6 December 2019 with support of the IAEA’s TC programme, the three-month postgraduate course on nuclear safety was held at the ARN’s training centre in Ezeiza. The ARN has organized and hosted Spanish-language capacity building events in cooperation with the Agency since the 1980s, and its experienced staff continue to deliver the comprehensive course, which covers a range of nuclear safety-related aspects, from the fundamentals of reactor physics and design to safety assessments and the regulatory control of nuclear power plants.

The three-month course began in September 2019, and was attended by 16 young professionals and students. (Photo: ARN)

“Implemented by the Nuclear Regulatory Authority, in academic partnership with the School of Engineering of the University of Buenos Aires, the course has a staff of professional lecturers with vast experience in the field of nuclear safety. A balance between theoretical content, practical work and technical visits allows the students to better understand the main aspects of nuclear safety,” said Ana Molinari, Course Director and Head of the Education and Training Centre, Argentinian Nuclear Regulatory Authority. “In particular, the access to two research reactors and the role play during the emergency drill exercise performed at an operating NPP, were the icons in this edition.”

The technical visits included in the training programme—such as the visit to the Bariloche Atomic  Centre, which houses the RA-6, the first nuclear reactor built in Latin America—provided the students with valuable opportunities to observe how nuclear and radiological safety standards are applied in real-world conditions.

The Agency and the ARN signed a long-term agreement in September 2008, under which the IAEA designated the ARN in Buenos Aires as a regional training centre, paving the way for greater centralization in the delivery of capacity building support, education programmes, workshops and fellowships. Under the terms of the agreement, the IAEA and the ARN offer specialized training courses designed to promote the implementation of the IAEA Safety Standards in Latin America and the Caribbean. Under the same agreement, the IAEA and ARN have also successfully implemented dozens of Post-Graduate Educational Courses in Radiation Protection and the Safety of Radiation Sources (PGEC), a comprehensive training programme which targets young students and professionals, enabling them to develop a strong theoretical and practical foundation in the area of radiation protection.

[1] RLA9084, ‘Strengthening the Regulatory and Radiation Safety Infrastructure’

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