From 28 to 30 March 2012, the IAEA played host to some of the world's brightest, young minds in the nuclear industry. Hailing from more than 30 countries, these young professionals are all alumni of the World Nuclear University's (WNU) Summer Institute, and gathered at IAEA headquarters for the Institute's first ever Alumni Assembly.
Janice Dunn Lee, IAEA Deputy Director General and Head of the Department of Management, welcomed the alumni to this event.
"You represent the next generation of nuclear managers and your desire to attend this event is a testimonial to the contribution and value of this programme," she told the gathering of WNU alumni.
"The World Nuclear University is one of the most substantial international responses to the challenge of providing future generations with the essential tools needed for the safe and peaceful application of nuclear science and technology," she said.
The IAEA played an instrumental role in the establishment of the WNU, and is one of the founding members of the university. The Agency also supports the WNU Summer Institute, conducted every year, together with the Nuclear Energy Agency of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, the World Nuclear Association, the World Association of Nuclear Operators.
"It is fitting that this assembly is being held in Vienna, at the headquarters of the IAEA - one of the 'Founding Supporters' of the WNU," Ms. Dunn Lee said.
Building on a network of over 650 young professionals who attended the WNU Summer Institute, the event featured a series of presentations and discussions. During their three-day event, the participants' discussions ranged from developments across the industry to the implications of the Fukushima nuclear accident. On a technical visit, the alumni toured the IAEA's laboratories in Seibersdorf, Austria, and visited Nuclear Engineering Seibersdorf, where radioactive waste is collected, processed, conditioned and stored on behalf of the republic.
The alumni event was purposely organized by WNU fellows and for their peers, and may of the participants and speakers were impressed with the results of the event.
"One of the main aims of the WNU Summer Institute is to establish a global network of young professionals," said Mr. Adrian Collings, Senior Advisor to the World Nuclear Association and Director of the WNU Summer Institute.
"The standard of the presentations was very impressive and the event proved to be a great success. We hope to repeat it on a regular basis," Mr. Collings said.
The World Nuclear University is a not-for-profit organization with programmes aimed at professionals working in the nuclear industry. Some 2 200 nuclear professionals and students from over 60 countries participate in its programmes which focus on covering a broad range of nuclear issues.
The organization's Summer Institute is its most important event. The six week leadership development programme for young professionals gathers the brightest minds in the nuclear industry. Since 2005, more than 300 fellows from all over the world have completed this WNU initiative and became part of an expanding global network of future leaders in the nuclear field. The IAEA's Technical Cooperation programme sponsors the participation of a number of fellows from developing countries.