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IAEA Holds First Course on Safety Leadership for Junior and Mid-Level Nuclear Professionals

An IAEA training course for young professionals aimed at strengthening their safety leadership skills was held for the first time in November 2017. (Photo: IAEA)

The IAEA concluded its first training course last week for nuclear and radiological young professionals, aimed at strengthening their safety leadership skills in both normal and emergency situations.

Twenty junior and mid-career professionals from regulatory bodies, technical organizations and nuclear operators in 16 countries took part in the Pilot International School of Nuclear and Radiological Leadership for Safety, held this week at the University of Côte d’Azur in Nice, France.

The course, which will be held regularly in the future, aims to strengthen participants’ ability to apply IAEA safety standards on leadership for safety. It forms part of the IAEA’s work to help Member States foster a safety culture.

“It is critical for managers of all levels at nuclear or radiological workplaces to lead in a manner that prioritizes safety,” said Gustavo Caruso, Director of the Office of Safety and Security Coordination at the IAEA. “Such leadership is key to the prevention of accidents, and should they occur, to the mitigation of their consequences. By targeting young professionals, this and future courses will strengthen safety now and for decades to come.”

Margaret Mkhosi, a Director at the Centre for Nuclear Safety and Security at the National Nuclear Regulator in South Africa, said leading for safety meant recognising the importance of values.

“When there are competing goals, one needs to learn to negotiate and be able to influence in a positive way,” she said. “What got impressed in my mind is the importance of communication, at all levels, but especially for middle managers as they have access to information both from the top and from their subordinates.”

During the five-day intensive course, participants learned safety leadership concepts from the perspectives of both nuclear and radiological safety through case studies, presentations, key note addresses and discussions. Eighteen experts from international organizations, nuclear operators and academia shared case studies on subjects such as unintended medical exposure, challenges during a nuclear power plant outage and the response to leaks of radioactive materials.

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