Amidst a week of high level events with ministers, ambassadors and other diplomats filling the corridors of the IAEA, young people took centre stage yesterday to emphasize the importance of investing in the next generation in the nuclear field. From a heart-warming story demonstrating the life-saving capabilities of medical radioisotopes, to fresh perspectives on nuclear technology for sustainable energy, students’ presentations inspired the audience at the IAEA’s 59th General Conference.
The event featured two award ceremonies for high school and university students who were honoured for their participation in IAEA-supported youth initiatives and education competitions aimed at cultivating their potential in science, technology, engineering and math.
“It is refreshing to see so many young people at the IAEA,” IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano told participants at the ‘Nuclear Olympiad and Developing a Talent Pipeline’ event. This was the first ever General Conference event to focus on young people. “I am delighted that you all got involved in this IAEA event and took the trouble to produce some very good work on nuclear-related issues.”
Quoting young American nuclear physicist, Taylor Wilson, who also took part in the event, the Director General said: “‘Nuclear technology is cool!’ It also makes a difference to people’s lives.”
Encouraging his young audience to consider a future in nuclear science or engineering, and perhaps even at the IAEA, Mr Amano said: “Our mission is demanding, but very rewarding. We need clever people like you to fulfil it.”