The IAEA and France signed an agreement last week that will enable French nuclear organizations to play a bigger role in IAEA activities in nuclear education and training, particularly in newcomer countries.
The Practical Arrangements were concluded on 29 November 2013 between Alexander Bychkov, IAEA Deputy Director General and Head of the Department of Nuclear Energy, and Frédéric Journès, Governor of France to the IAEA and Director of the Division for International Affairs of the "Commissariat à l'énergie atomique et aux énergies alternatives (CEA)".
As a leading institute in the field of nuclear research and training, which also advises the Government of France on nuclear related matters, the CEA is responsible for coordinating the cooperation between the IAEA and French entities, in particular in the area of nuclear education and training.
"We hope our cooperation will continue to grow and support the needs of Member States to develop new generations of nuclear scientists, engineers and professionals and to secure an adequate and competent workforce for safe and sustainable nuclear programmes," said Mr. Bychkov during the signing ceremony.
The CEA and French nuclear organizations are capable of offering unique and high quality programmes that cover a broad range of nuclear disciplines. For example, during the 57th General Conference last September, the CEA contributed to the Side Event on Networks for Collaboration in Nuclear Education and Training by introducing online access to its research reactor in Saclay France, for training purposes.
Governor Journès emphasized the importance of education and training as an essential part of safe development in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy. "France is fully committed to sharing its expertise and to assist Members States willing to develop nuclear programmes to build the necessary capabilities and competencies," he said.
The Practical Arrangements provide a framework between the Agency and the French nuclear organizations, including academic institutes, research facilities and industry partners, for further cooperation in the following areas:
- Providing access to French nuclear research reactors and relevant nuclear facilities for education and training purposes;
- Organization of education and training courses to support countries starting or expanding their nuclear power programmes;
- Providing opportunities and assistance for students to pursue their academic curricula in the French educational system, particularly with the provision of potential scholarships;
- Appointment of experts to participate in IAEA expert missions to disseminate nuclear knowledge and experience; and
- Organization of joint meetings and conferences to disseminate knowledge and experience on nuclear education and share best practices on educational outreach programmes.
Over the past several years, the Nuclear Knowledge Management Section (NKMS) at the IAEA Department of Nuclear Energy has been working with universities to address future workforce demands and improve the quality and quantity of nuclear education, mainly through academic curricula for nuclear education, networking among universities and relevant stakeholders, and internet platforms for education and training.
Regional and national educational networks, in cooperation with the IAEA, have fostered global partnerships among education and training institutions. Through the NKMS, the IAEA has established several Practical Arrangements with various collaborating partner universities, regional nuclear education networks and nuclear outreach organizations. Activities under this practical arrangement will also be coordinated by the NKMS.