• English
  • العربية
  • 中文
  • Français
  • Русский
  • Español

You are here

Young Professionals in the Middle East Build Expertise in Radiation Protection and Safety


Participants in Jordan investigate the properties of alpha, beta, and gamma radiation, during an exercise of the Postgraduate Educational Course in Radiation Protection and the Safety of Radiation Sources (PGEC) held in Amman, Jordan. (Photo: Jordan Atomic Energy Commission)

Eighteen young radiation safety professionals from the Middle East completed the IAEA’s flagship radiation protection training course in Arabic last week. Participants from Iraq, Jordan, Oman, State of Palestine, Syrian Arab Republic and Yemen were the second cohort to complete the IAEA’s Postgraduate Educational Course in Radiation Protection and the Safety of Radiation Sources (PGEC) in Amman, Jordan, which ran from May to November 2023.  

The PGEC is an intensive six-month training course on theoretical and practical foundations in radiation protection and the safety of radiation sources. It targets young to mid-level professionals who are graduates in physics, chemistry, life sciences or engineering and are expected to be future senior managers, experts or trainers in the radiation protection field, contributing to a strong and sustainable national radiation safety infrastructure.  

“The PGEC in Arabic has made radiation protection education more inclusive, bridging language barriers, facilitating cross-cultural exchange and ensuring that professionals in the region can access vital training materials,” said Ahmad Alsabbagh, PGEC Course Director and Secretary General of the Jordan Atomic Energy Commission (JAEC), which hosted the course. 

Since the launch of the programme in 1981, the PGEC is now offered in Arabic, English, French, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish. To date, 2001 participants from 139 countries across four regions have graduated from the PGEC. With the conclusion of this course in Jordan, a further 18 professionals will bring cascading benefits and expertise to their national radiation safety infrastructure. 

IAEA Radiation Safety Training Specialist Andrea Luciani said, “the feedback and assessments of the first PGEC in Jordan were used to enhance the quality of learning materials and lectures for this year’s cohort. Based on the participants’ and lecturers’ suggestions, the training material was revised to ensure a closer alignment with the learning objectives of the course, in a continuous process for improvement.”  

The graduate level participants, aged 22 and older, received training on the principles of radiation protection and safety, the international radiation protection system, and IAEA requirements to ensure the safe use of radiation sources. The course was conducted through a mix of lectures, scientific visits, laboratory exercises and an individual research project that focused on the radiation safety context of their home state. The final module trained participants on how to effectively share knowledge and expertise among colleagues in their national and regional networks.   

“The course gave a broad overview of international radiation safety practices, while it also gave us the opportunity to specialize in a specific field,” said Safa Hozane from the Atomic Energy Commission of Syria. “The theoretical, regulatory, and practical knowledge I gained from the PGEC will support my work as a physicist performing radon measurements in the environment.” 

Explaining the benefits of this course, Ahmed Jasim Hasan Al-Hayyawi, a participant from the Iraqi Atomic Energy Commission, said, “by learning how to effectively use radiation-related devices and tools in experiments and projects we have gained advanced practical skills we can use in our professional work. I will be able to apply my new knowledge and skills to strengthen radioactive waste management and environmental monitoring in Iraq.” 

A 2019 publication evaluating the impact of the PGEC over 35 years demonstrated the course’s positive impact on national radiation safety infrastructure as well as participants’ long term professional development: the report found that the number of participants operating at the managerial and senior managerial level five years after the course had more than doubled compared to their role when they began the PGEC. While other factors may also be at play, a certain boosting effect of the PGEC on the careers of its participants can be inferred. Additionally, participants from regulatory bodies in the Asia and the Pacific region indicated the knowledge and skills gained from the PGEC had a significant impact on the seven Thematic Safety Areas (TSAs) in radiation protection of participants’ national infrastructure. 

“We hope the PGEC can serve as a model for international organizations working together with host countries to provide essential training and support in critical fields,” said Alsabbagh. 

The next PGEC for the Asia and the Pacific region will take place in Malaysia from May to October 2024, and will be taught in English. 

Learn more about the IAEA PGEC training programme here

Stay in touch