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IAEA Trains Young Professionals in Radiation Protection

Participants from Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Mexico, Paraguay and Peru listening to the explanation of a participant’s work project. (A. Cristobal/IAEA)

Skilled radiation professionals are key to the safe use of radiation in medicine, industry and research. The IAEA helps countries strengthen their radiation safety competence through post-graduate courses, one of which concluded last month in Argentina.

During the IAEA-supported Post Graduate Educational Course in Radiation Protection and the Safety of Radiation Sources (PGEC), held 6 March to 1 September 2017 at an Argentinian training centre that serves as an IAEA regional training centre, 27 Latin American participants learned how to apply international radiation protection standards in practice.

Half of the participants were from Argentina, which hosted the course for the 36th time.

“The PGEC helped me to improve my regulatory competences. I will be able to better perform roles in authorization or inspection,” said Hugo Torres Delgadillo, a participant from Chile.

The PGEC, which originated in Argentina more than 30 years ago, is designed to meet the needs of young radiation safety professionals at the graduate level. Through lectures, laboratory exercises and research projects, participants gain a thorough understanding of radiation protection and the safety of radiation sources, and they learn how to train others on the topic.

Before starting the course at the training centre, the participants took an online course to refresh their knowledge in radiation effects, chemistry, mathematics and the fundamentals of radiation protection.

 “The IAEA welcome the students’ commitment to apply their new safety skills in their future careers,” said IAEA Radiation Safety Specialist Amparo Cristobal, who was in Argentina to evaluate the course.

The course was hosted by the Argentinean Nuclear Regulatory Authority together with the Faculty of Engineering at the University of Buenos Aires. All sessions were taught by Argentinian experts.

The first PGEC course was held in 1981 and 96 courses have since been held since at nine IAEA training centres around the world. All PGEC courses are organized and financed through the IAEA’s Technical Cooperation programme, which also sponsors some of the participants.

In 2017, PGECs were also held in Ghana, Algeria and Belarus, and a course underway in Malaysia will conclude in November.

Next year, PGECs are set to be held in Argentina, Ghana, Greece, Malaysia and Morocco.