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Multiplier Effect: Training-the-Trainers to Strengthen Radiation Protection in Latin America and the Caribbean

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The five-day capacity building event was held in Lima, Peru and was supported by the Peruvian Institute of Nuclear Energy. (Photo: IPEN)

The IAEA regularly organizes events to build skills in radiation, transport and waste safety and to strengthen the radiation safety infrastructure of its Member States. From 3 to 7 June, the IAEA held a ‘Train-the-Trainers’ course in Lima, Peru which provided knowledge of the role, duties and competencies expected of a Radiation Protection Officer at medical and industrial facilities, while simultaneously equipping trainees with the skills to independently organize and implement further training courses, multiplying the effects of IAEA support.

Radiation protection officers are specialists who are charged with supervising that any work involving ionizing radiation is implemented safely and according to the relevant regulations.

Ionizing radiation is routinely used by professionals in the medical, industrial, energy and research industries, among others. To ensure its application is safe and beneficial, potential radiation risks must always be assessed and controlled. Building and maintaining effective radiation safety infrastructure can only be achieved by people with the appropriate education, training and capacities.  

The June course, ‘Train-the-Trainers Course for Radiation Protection Officers,’ was organized by the IAEA and the Peruvian Institute of Nuclear Energy (IPEN) as part of an ongoing technical cooperation project[1].

Developed by IAEA experts, the course curriculum clarified the fundamentals of radiation protection, explored the roles played and responsibilities assumed by Radiation Protection Officers and established a roadmap for the development of national training programmes. At each step, the contents of the course reflected the latest international safety standards and provided the trainees with opportunities to exchange experiences, through presentations and group discussions.

Trainees engage in group discussions and exercises during the 2018 iteration of the Train-the-Trainers Course for Radiation Protection Officers (Photo: A. Cristobal/IAEA)

“Building competence through education and training in radiation safety is fundamental to the establishment of a comprehensive and sustainable national infrastructure for radiation safety, which in turn is essential for protecting people from the harmful effects of radiation,” explained César Pizarro, Deputy Director of Knowledge Management at IPEN and Director of the five-day training course.

Pizarro explained that IPEN, like other nuclear organizations in the region, has been implementing its National Strategy for Education and Training in Radiological Protection, and that this course is part of that strategy.

Twenty-two trainees from 13 countries in the region took part in the event: Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Paraguay, Peru and Uruguay.

[1] RLA9084, ‘Strengthening the Regulatory and Radiation Safety Infrastructure’

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