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Japan Hosts IAEA Training Course on Nuclear Power Infrastructure Development

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Participants of the IAEA training course on nuclear power infrastructure development during a visit to the Hitachi-GE factory at Ibaraki, Japan, 15 November 2017. (Photo: JICC)

A comprehensive introduction to the development of the infrastructure for a nuclear power programme, including the important roles of nuclear safety, radiation protection, and emergency planning and response, was the theme of a one-month IAEA training course that concluded last week in Japan.

Participants of the IAEA Interregional Training Course on Nuclear Power Infrastructure Development were 12 junior professionals from key organizations in eight Member States that are considering the introduction of nuclear power.

The training course focused on the IAEA’s Milestones approach and the 19 issues that need to be considered when developing the infrastructure for nuclear power, including topics such as legal and regulatory framework, radiation protection, human resource development, stakeholder involvement and others. It also included a session on lessons learned from the Fukushima accident. Simulations of a boiling water reactor and a pressurized water reactor provided participants with a better understanding of reactor technologies. Discussions, case studies, exercises, working group sessions and peer-to-peer exchange of good practices encouraged an interactive course environment.

The course also helped foster a network among those countries that are at similar stages of nuclear infrastructure development. “This course broadened my knowledge on the development of nuclear power programmes,” said Joshua Gbinu, an engineer at the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission. “It gave me the opportunity to meet new colleagues from other countries in the nuclear sector.”

As part of the curriculum, the participants visited several nuclear facilities, including training and emergency response centres, as well as the sites of the Fukushima Daini and Daiichi Nuclear Power Stations. They also learned about the value of active stakeholder involvement and public participation during visits to the Tsuruga 2 nuclear power reactor and the associated Public Information Centre. “The IAEA encourages Member States to actively engage the public early in the development of nuclear power programmes, as public support is a critical factor of a programme’s success,” said Jose Bastos, IAEA Technical Officer for the course.

The course from 6 November to 1 December 2017 was held as part of an IAEA technical cooperation project that supports Member States embarking on a new or expanding an existing nuclear power programme. For the second year in a row, it was hosted by Japan Atomic Industrial Forum’s International Cooperation Center (JICC) in Tokyo, in cooperation with the Government of Japan. Other institutions such as the University of Tokyo, the Wakasa Wan Energy Research Centre, the Japan Nuclear Human Resource Development Network, and several nuclear installations contributed to the programme. 

“I believe that the participants learned a great deal about the unique nature of nuclear power,” said Akio Toba, JICC Executive Director. “They gained a better appreciation for the relationship between issues of nuclear safety, emergency preparedness and public perceptions about nuclear power.”

“We welcome this cooperation with Japan that assists our Member States in understanding the multifaceted and complex nature of embarking on new nuclear power programmes,” added Bastos.

Milestones Approach

The Milestones Approach splits the activities necessary to establish the infrastructure for a nuclear power programme into three progressive phases of development. The completion of each phase is marked by a specific “Milestone” at which progress can be assessed and a decision can be made about the readiness to move on to the next phase. The approach, detailing the 19 infrastructure issues, is documented in the IAEA guidance publication Milestones in the Development of a National Infrastructure for Nuclear Power.

Participants gained a better appreciation for the relationship between issues of nuclear safety, emergency preparedness and public perceptions about nuclear power.
Akio Toba, JICC Executive Director

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