• English
  • العربية
  • 中文
  • Français
  • Русский
  • Español

You are here

IAEA Event Highlights Agency’s School on Nuclear and Radiological Leadership for Safety


Participants experienced the innovative methodologies applied at the IAEA School on Nuclear and Radiological Leadership for Safety, during an interactive side event at the 66th IAEA General Conference. (Photo: IAEA)

Innovative and diverse methods are needed to support the next generation of leaders in nuclear safety, participants agreed at an event today focused on the IAEA’s School on Nuclear and Radiological Leadership for Safety.

The interactive event, which took place on the sidelines of the 66th IAEA General Conference, included individual and group exercises, as participants discussed key issues for sustainable nuclear safety in practice. Aspects highlighted included the need for practice, the importance of insight into group behaviour from diverse points of view, and advanced knowledge in nuclear security and safety culture.

“I have seen participants in these Schools from all over the world – seeing them changing, growing, increasingly sharing their experiences through the case studies and the dynamic activities designed for the school,” said Maria Josefa Moracho, a senior nuclear safety officer at the IAEA and the technical lead for the School. “The success factor in my view is that they are able to learn and share in a safe space. This training programme helps experts and professionals to collaborate and establish connections in the field of nuclear safety.”

The Leadership School has gained an increased interest among countries, she added, emphasizing that the training methods have contributed to a deepening of professional relationships among participants and broader experience sharing. Participants at the side event were given an overview about the Leadership School’s approach of providing participants with “an experiential learning process that they can bring back to their organizations, which includes efforts to share different perspectives on ‘leadership in safety’,” Moracho added.

Participants were introduced to the main reference of the School’s training: IAEA safety requirements Leadership and Management for Safety, GSR Part 2. GSR Part 2 highlights the importance of leadership for safety, management for safety, effective management system and systemic approach to safety. It showcases that all those elements are essential to fostering strong safety culture in nuclear facilities.

“Since its inception, this Leadership School’s potential has grown as a training concept in the field of nuclear safety. It is now a consolidated product that has seen a very positive response from the Member States with a very high demand to host this School both at the national and regional level,” said Shahid Mallick, Director of the IAEA Office of Safety and Security Coordination. 

Learning and sharing methods

Junior and mid-career professionals learn about safety leadership skills through group exercises at an IAEA training course. (Photo: J. Gil Martin/IAEA)

The Leadership School is built on theoretical elements intertwined with a practical component. The theory consists of concepts such as safety culture, systemic approach to safety and differences between leadership and management. The second component of highly interactive and practical exercises and activities is always carefully tailored for each programme. A diverse group of expert facilitators use learning techniques such as case studies, role-playing, discussions, reflective teams and gamification to help participants discover their potential and develop the leadership skills and attention to detail that contributes to ensuring robust safety at nuclear facilities.

“The principal learning element in each Leadership School is the dynamic application of real-life case studies, with emphasis on root and contributing causes related to nuclear and radiological leadership for safety,” Moracho said. Facilitators engage the participants in discussions, group-work and role-play connected to case studies. Scenarios that participants analyse vary from leaks of radioactive material to the environment to challenges during a nuclear power plant outage and issues while working with external providers. “Leadership-in-the-field examples and storytelling are immensely powerful tools used in this training, and for each programme, it is crucial to ensure that excellence in leadership is emphasized,” she continued. “Therefore, to convey it, IAEA often includes role models who give their perspective on some of the practical challenges.”

The Leadership School brings together junior to mid-career professionals, with the aim of creating a unique setting for knowledge sharing and building lasting professional relationships. Since 2017, more than 270 participants from 75 countries have taken part in the programme.

“This side event provided me with an active and challenging learning opportunity to understand the success of the School and its methodologies,” said Adamu Hussaini of the Nigerian Nuclear Regulatory Authority, who participated in today's event. “The leadership exercise interestingly showcased the experience of how leaders have to think in a systemic way to get their own goals aligned with individual, team and organizational objectives, while considering different perspectives for sustainable nuclear safety in practice.”

Stay in touch