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Director General Congratulates Fellowship Laureates and France’s Work in Education on Nuclear


Rafael Mariano Grossi delivering a talk at the University Paris-Saclay on December 1st, 2021 (Photo: D. Calma/IAEA)

Virtual education, energy, climate change, preserving antiquities, training the next generation of nuclear scientists: these are just some of the many endeavours carried out in the nuclear field in and around Paris. IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi, in France for discussions with President Emmanuel Macron and to open the World Nuclear Exhibition, spoke about the importance of gender equality and internationalisation at the institutions he visited, and thanked his counterparts for their close cooperation with the IAEA.

At University Paris-Saclay, he spoke about the institution’s contribution to the Marie Sklodowska-Curie Fellowship Programme, a scholarship scheme to help young women pursue graduate studies in the nuclear field.

“Four of the fellows of the latest cohort of fellows studied in France, and three were international students at University Paris-Saclay,” he said in a lecture at the university. “We are extremely proud of these young ladies, who represent a new generation of women in nuclear, and we are thankful to France for educating people from around the world.”

“The students at this university have innovative ideas on how nuclear science can tackle climate change and other global issues, such as cancer and hunger,” Mr Grossi told students enrolled in an international nuclear energy master’s programme. “Nuclear definitively needs more minds like this.”

Last September, the IAEA and Paris-Saclay – one of the top universities in nuclear science globally – had established a strategic partnership to enhance the use of nuclear technology in the field of characterization and preservation of cultural and natural heritage.  

Virtual reality for training

Rafael Mariano Grossi trying a virtual reactor (EVOC) in Paris on December 1st 2021 (Photo: D. Calma/IAEA)

Virtual training courses enable students in cities and countries without nuclear facilities to gain practical experience with nuclear installations. The Enhanced Virtual Open Core (EVOC), a joint initiative by the French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission (CEA) and the National Institute for Nuclear Science and Technology (INSTN) has hosted students from many countries in its virtual trainings.

“As many countries are looking to nuclear energy for power generation, international cooperation in training and building a nuclear workforce is going to become even more important,” he said. “The IAEA is the platform for this cooperation – and it is thanks to strong partners like CEA and INSTN that we can deliver for countries the world over.”

Mr Grossi also visited other initiatives by CEA and INSTN, in the field of brain imaging and nuclear medicine and seismic mechanics

INSTN, an IAEA Collaborating Centre, trains hundreds of students and professionals from around the world in various nuclear fields. Its training programmes, including both in-person and online learning sessions, will welcome students from around in the next four years under the new agreement. INSTN will also fund IAEA fellowships for female students.

Opening World Nuclear Exhibition

On Tuesday, Mr Grossi opened the World Nuclear Exhibition 2021, an event organised around the theme “The nuclear industry, a key player for a low-carbon society and a responsible future”, which gathered 612 exhibitions from 83 countries and 18 000 participants.

“Without nuclear it will be far more difficult, if not close to impossible, to achieve a decarbonized economy,” said Mr Grossi at the exhibition. “The exhibition showcases impressive technological developments in nuclear that are key in the fight against climate change.”

On Thursday, Mikhail Chudakov, Deputy Director General and Head of the Department of Nuclear Energy, will participate in a high-level panel discussion at the Exhibition showcasing the IAEA’s support to countries in the introduction of small and modular reactors (SMRs).


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