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The African Continent Hosts its First IAEA Nuclear Energy Management School


Nuclear professionals from African countries learn about the most important issues and challenges facing the nuclear energy sector. (Photo: IAEA)

Over 40 young nuclear professionals from all over Africa participated in the first ever Joint South Africa-IAEA Nuclear Energy Management School, to learn about a wide range of issues related to the peaceful use of nuclear technology. The school took place in Cape Town, South Africa, from 17 to 28 October 2016.

Several African countries are considering introducing nuclear power programmes to meet their growing energy needs. South Africa is considering expanding its existing programme. If these countries indeed decide to include nuclear power in their energy mix, building and maintaining a skilled workforce to manage those programmes will be crucial for their success. The Nuclear Energy Management School is an effective way to train potential leaders of nuclear energy sector.

During the two-week programme, participants learned about the requirements for a safe, sustainable and economically viable nuclear power programme, including about management issues, energy policy and planning, legal aspects, knowledge management, human resource management and stakeholder involvement. Working in groups, students formulated ideas on how these issues could be implemented in various regions of Africa, which they presented at the end of the School. The highlight of the School was a visit to the Emergency Control Centre and turbine hall of the Koeberg nuclear power plant, where students had to follow specific nuclear, radiological and industrial safety measures, another first for many of them.

"The school was an eye-opener,” said participant Lance Davis from the South African National Nuclear Regulator. “The group projects helped me appreciate the wealth in terms of human capital and resources of Africa, and better understand how the responsible use of nuclear power technologies can benefit the continent."

In his video address to the school, Mikhail Chudakov, Deputy Director General and Head of the IAEA Department of Nuclear Energy, highlighted that launching a nuclear power programme was a sovereign, national decision.

“It is not a quick-fix solution to energy problems, it is a long term commitment,” he said. “A safe and sustainable programme requires a robust, national legal and regulatory framework. Government leadership is required to oversee and conduct the development of the national position on nuclear power.”

The Joint South Africa-IAEA Regional Nuclear Energy Management School was organized by the IAEA in cooperation with the North-West University, South Africa, and in association with the Department of Energy of South Africa, the National Nuclear Regulator, the South African Nuclear Energy Corporation (NECSA), South African electricity public utility Eskom, the South African Network for Nuclear Education Science and Technology (SAN-NEST) and the African Network for Nuclear Education, Science and Technology (AFRA-NEST).

The IAEA has been organizing Nuclear Energy Management and Nuclear Knowledge Management Schools with different partners since 2010. The Schools are intended for nuclear professionals with managerial potential, from the IAEA Member States with established nuclear power programmes or from those that are considering, planning or starting nuclear power programmes. So far, over 800 young nuclear professionals have graduated from these schools held in Italy, Japan, Republic of Korea, the Russian Federation, the UAE, and the US, and now in South Africa.

More information on IAEA Nuclear Energy Management Schools is available here.

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