As the use of nuclear energy for power generation and radiation techniques in medical, industrial and other practices continues, protecting nuclear and other radioactive material remains a difficult security challenge for many countries worldwide. An effective way to address this challenge is through proper education and training, and the IAEA's Department of Nuclear Safety and Security's side event at this year's 56th General Conference will highlight the Agency's activities in this field.
Held 18 September 2012 in Vienna, Austria, the side event aims to inform Member States of the latest developments in the fields of nuclear security education and training. A particular focus will be on the development of the European Master's Degree in Nuclear Security, which is based on IAEA nuclear security guidance and standards. Another important focus is on, as well as the establishment of the nuclear security support centres network and assistance available to States wishing to set up Nuclear Security Support Centres.
"You may have the best legislation and regulations and state-of- the- art equipment, but unless you have a sufficient number of well-educated and trained staff, you will not necessarily have an effective and sustainable nuclear security infrastructure and nuclear security culture. Therefore, a national nuclear security regime stands or falls because of the quality of people involved," Office of Nuclear Security Director, Khammar Mrabit stressed.
"Education and training are the cornerstones for ensuring sustainable improvements in nuclear security," Senior Training Officer David Lambert emphasized. "They play an essential role in developing nuclear security expertise now and in the future."
"Our education programmes, developed in conjunction with the International Nuclear Security Education Network (INSEN), focus on transferring in-depth and sustainable knowledge in the area of nuclear security and fostering an improved nuclear security culture at policy and management levels," said Lambert.
A group of universities in Austria, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway and the United Kingdom will launch the first comprehensive Master's Degree Programme in Nuclear Security in the first quarter of 2013, using the material produced by INSEN.
The aim of this on-going effort is to promote and support a worldwide growth in education programmes and courses in nuclear security.
INSEN, a partnership between the IAEA and educational and research institutions and other stakeholders was established in April 2010. It works to enhance global nuclear security by facilitating the transfer of knowledge, development of educational material and promotion of nuclear security excellence.
"One of the central roles of INSEN is nuclear security human resources development," said Dr. Dmitriy Nikonov, outgoing INSEN Chair. "Nuclear education is the central component to nuclear governance."
Role of IAEA
One issue that featured prominently in the goals and priorities of the IAEA Nuclear Security Report of 2012 is the enhancement and further development of an international network of nuclear security training and support centres, including INSEN, in order to support Member States efforts in the field of nuclear security education.
To this end, the IAEA conducts and assists in more than 60 nuclear security training events for both Member and non-Member States. It has also begun to put more emphasis on training a new generation of highly qualified experts in nuclear security, so as to enhance the understanding of technical, policy and regulatory challenges associated with nuclear security.
In close consultation with Member States, the IAEA is working to make sustainable improvements in nuclear security through human resource development. By facilitating communication between nuclear security support centres in nuclear newcomer countries and those with more established nuclear power programs, it encourages the exchange of knowledge, thereby enhancing Member States' capacity in nuclear security.