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Making Technical Knowledge Accessible and Transparent Enhances Nuclear Safety and Security: IAEA Conference

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Participants interacting with the panellists during the TSO Conference in Brussels, Belgium.

Technical and scientific support organizations promote openness and transparency in national nuclear regulatory systems, thereby benefiting of nuclear safety and security. Experts discussed how to support these organizations at the IAEA International Conference on the Challenges Faced by Technical and Scientific Support Organizations (TSOs) in Enhancing Nuclear Safety and Security: Ensuring Effective and Sustainable Expertise,  held in Brussels last week.

The conference reviewed international and national actions to support TSOs, which provide regulatory bodies with needed technical and scientific expertise.

 The 220 participants from 54 countries and five international organizations addressed the experiences of TSOs and regulatory bodies in working together, technical challenges faced by TSOs, challenges related to safety assessment, how to sustain TSO expertise, public communication and initiatives to support Member States in developing and strengthening technical and scientific capabilities in nuclear safety and security.

TSOs can enhance the sustainability of the national regulatory infrastructure, and developing national TSO capacity building strategies is crucial for ensuring the effectiveness of nuclear safety and security measures, the conference conclusions stated.

“The planning for the TSO’s own sustainability, both financial and otherwise, also is of utmost importance,” said Margaret Mkhosi, Director of South Africa’s Centre for Nuclear Safety and Security and a conference speaker. “One way to do this is collaboration with various technical and scientific communities which have the necessary knowledge and experience, while at the same time ensuring that knowledge transfer occurs.”

International cooperation, including that fostered and supported by the IAEA, contributes to strategies for research, education and training, as well as knowledge management, thereby supporting the independence and effectiveness of the national regulatory systems, according to the conference conclusions.

The conclusions were presented by Conference President Nestor Masreira, President of Argentina’s Nuclear Regulatory Authority, who encouraged participants to take active part in the IAEA TSO Forum and TSO Initiative. These offer networking and other resources including self-assessments, case studies and workshops.

Following the conference, participants had the opportunity to provide their evaluation of IAEA activities to enhance the capacity of TSOs. “Among the eight pillars of the TSO self-assessment the IAEA offers, Safety assessment and Research topics prioritization were the most popular,” said Karim Ben Ouaghrem, Scientific Secretary of the conference. “Among the services provided under the TSO initiative, TSO self-assessment, roadmaps and the TSO national workshop remain of key interest.”

Speakers at the side event of the European Technical Safety Organisations Network (ETSON).

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