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Master's Programmes in Nuclear Technology, Science and Engineering

The Tokyo University campus in Japan.

The Tokyo University campus in Japan. (Photo Credit: University of Tokyo)

Effective decision-making and management processes help to support a high-level of safety in nuclear energy. Though some universities provide courses related to nuclear management as part of their nuclear engineering programmes, there is an increasing interest in providing master's programmes that have a specialized focus on the more advanced aspects of management in the fields of nuclear technology, science and engineering.

In support of encouraging educational advancement in nuclear areas, the IAEA has been collaborating with nuclear engineering universities around the world to develop a framework for implementing master's level management programmes in these areas. This framework is known as the International Nuclear Management Academy (INMA) and is aimed at enhancing the competencies, quality and availability of managers in the nuclear sector through INMA master's programmes. Educational endeavours like INMA master's programmes help to further ensure the continued peaceful and safe use of nuclear energy.

The IAEA recently held the third consultancy meeting for the development of INMA from 9 to 14 June 2014 at the University of Tokyo. This meeting brought together a team of professors from eight nuclear engineering universities that currently provide some courses on management in the nuclear sector. The purpose behind the meeting was to exchange knowledge about existing courses, as well as to further discuss the INMA and approaches to implementing its master's degree programmes.

The consultancy meeting took place during the third session of the Joint Japan-IAEA Nuclear Energy Management (NEM) School held from 9 to 26 June 2014 at the University of Tokyo, which offered participants the opportunity to gain a more thorough understanding of the management aspects of the NEM programme and its potential role in the INMA. These aspects were further contextualized by detailed presentations given by the University of Tokyo regarding the annual three-week NEM School programme. Among the conclusions of the INMA consultancy meeting, NEM was identified as a potential practicum component for INMA programmes.

The conclusions of this June 2014 consultancy meeting built on the decisions taken in the first meeting held in November 2013, which has now laid the foundation of the INMA and standards for implementing the master's degree programmes. In addition to identifying the role of NEM Schools in INMA programmes, the summary of decisions include the development of common international requirements for nuclear management and a draft list of around 60 nuclear management competencies areas and elements.

As INMA programmes are established by participating universities, the IAEA will assist in facilitating and overseeing the programmes using assessment tools to ensure quality and conformance with INMA requirements. The IAEA has also developed a Practical Arrangement Aagreement that will be signed by thee universities seeking to implement an INMA programme. Some universities are expected to independently implement INMA master's programmes while other universities will work collaboratively.

Similar consultancy meetings will continue to be held by the IAEA at other universities through spring 2015 in order to finalize the INMA framework and prepare it for use in the first nuclear management master's degree programme expected to begin in fall 2015. INMA is a tentative naming of the initiative of the master's degree programme in nuclear management. It was called VNMU, Virtual Nuclear Management University, at the first meeting in November 2013. The appropriate name is to be given when the concept of the initiative is finalized.

The IAEA supports the development of nuclear education programmes like the INMA and NEM School in order to foster management education and training in the Member States. This serves to further strengthen the current and future peaceful uses of nuclear energy worldwide.


Joint Japan-IAEA Nuclear Energy Management (NEM) School: A successful nuclear programme requires a sustainable national infrastructure that provides governmental, legal, regulatory, industrial, technological, administrative and human resource support throughout its life cycle. To support the development of such national infrastructures, the IAEA in collaboration with the International Centre for Theoretical Physics (ICTP) introduced the first Nuclear Energy Management (NEM) School in Italy in 2010.

In 2012, the NEM School in Japan was jointly created by the IAEA with Japan Nuclear Human Resource Development Network, Japan Atomic Energy Agency (JAEA), Japan Atomic Industrial Forum (JAIF), JAIF International Cooperation Center (JICC), and the University of Tokyo. A total of 30 young professionals from a range of Asian countries has already participated in this annual programme.

The IAEA provides financial support to participants from developing countries. The Agency also coordinates with the organizers of the NEM School in Japan to provide IAEA staff as lecturers.

The School continues to be primarily funded by extra-budgetary funds from the Government of Japan. This funding has also been extended to support the series of consultancy meetings for developing the INMA.

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