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Innovation, Nuclear Knowledge and New Partnerships: Directors of National Nuclear Institutes in Latin America and the Caribbean Gather at the Argonne National Laboratory

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Established in 1946, the Argonne National Laboratory is a science and engineering research laboratory, operated by the University of Chicago for the United States Department of Energy (DOE). (Photo: ANL-DOE)

Nineteen directors of National Nuclear Institutes and Institutions (NNIs) in the Latin American and Caribbean region met at the Argonne National Laboratory (ANL) in Illinois, USA from August 10 to 23 to discuss issues associated with institutional innovation, sustainability and partnership-building in the nuclear sector.

Member States in the Latin America and the Caribbean region have made substantial progress towards establishing and strengthening nuclear institutions and national commissions which focus on the application of nuclear science and technology with the support of the IAEA technical cooperation programme. As this field is evolving rapidly, the IAEA and States-Parties to the ARCAL Regional Cooperative Agreement have identified the need to take additional steps to consolidate the results achieved in the region so far, and to continue to support national nuclear institutions.

To share techniques, practices and experience, a regional meeting was organized, in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Energy and the Argonne National Laboratory.  

During the meeting, participants had the opportunity to exchange experiences with staff of the United States’ principal nuclear laboratories and to identify opportunities for future collaboration. They considered cooperation in the areas of strategic planning and business plans, public information and communications, partnerships with the industrial sector and with other research institutions, as well as in the areas of integration and interaction with the broader nuclear education community.

An ANL staff member explains how the Argonne Tandem Linac Accelerator System (ATLAS) functions. ATLAS is the world’s first superconducting linear accelerator for heavy ions at energies in the vicinity of the Coulomb barrier. (Photo: ANL-DOE)

“This regional meeting represented an excellent opportunity to exchange management experiences and good practices with other nuclear research institutions, strengthening the integration of regional sustainable development efforts through the use of nuclear technology and identifying opportunities for cooperation,” said Fabio Staude, Director of the Nuclear Energy Institute (IEN) of Brazil.

Florinella Muñoz Bisesti, Rector of the National Polytechnic School of Ecuador, said “The knowledge of the management models [used at the ANL] will allow NNIs to promote the development of research in the nuclear area in Latin America and the Caribbean, and will allow us to encourage greater national investments and to elicit a more direct engagement with academia and industry.”

This event "opened up plenty opportunities to identify areas in which it is possible to cooperate and participate in common innovative issues, including those of training and the training of researchers, technical personnel and strategic management," said Mr. Walter Rangel, Director of Technological Services of the National Institute of Nuclear Research (ININ) of Mexico.

Representatives from Argentina, Brazil, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Mexico, Panama and Uruguay attended the meeting, which was organized under the framework of an ongoing regional technical cooperation project[1].

[1] RLA0062, ‘Promotion of sustainability and networking between institutions national nuclear energy (ARCAL CLXIII)’

IAEA staff join their counterparts from eight National Nuclear Institutes in the Latin America and Caribbean region. (Photo: ANL-DOE)

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