WNU launches radioisotope programme

21 October 2009

The World Nuclear University (WNU) has announced that its first annual School on Radioisotopes (RI School) is to take place in Seoul, South Korea, next year.


The annual training programme is aimed at young professionals identified by their organisations as future leaders in the field. Participants will gain a broad understanding of RI production methods, RI applications in a variety of areas, as well as key managerial-related topics. They will furthermore gain familiarity with the main challenges encountered by practitioners within the RI field.


The first three-week course will be held 15 May-4 June 2010 in Seoul and will be hosted by the Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute (KAERI), and Korea Institute of Nuclear Safety (KINS), with special support from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the World Council on Isotopes.


Similar in format to the WNU's Summer Institute, now in its sixth year, the RI School features expert lectures, as well as small-group and team-building work. It will also feature technical visits to key radioisotope-related sites, including KAERI, KINS and the Korea Institute of Radiological and Medical Sciences (KIRAMS).


The RI Schools will be open each year to 80 professionals from companies, governments, research institutes and regulatory authorities expected to play key roles in the field. Around a quarter of the participants in Korea will be from developing countries, thanks to sponsorship provided by the IAEA and the Korean government.


The launch of the WNU's first programme outside the areas of nuclear power reflects the increasing importance that radioisotopes play in the economies and in healthcare systems. The School also coincides with the global crisis in the production of the isotope Technetium 99-m, used in 80% of nuclear medicine procedures worldwide. The crisis will provide one of the case studies for participants at the RI School.


The WNU is a partnership supported by the World Nuclear Association (WNA), the OECD Nuclear Energy Agency, the World Association of Nuclear Operators and the IAEA. Its activities are coordinated by a London-based secretariat, operating with WNA support. For certain activities, the IAEA provides financial assistance to support the participation of applicants from developing countries.


WNA director general John Ritch, who serves also as WNU president, said: "The new RI school helps to fulfil the WNU's broad founding concept, which is to provide unique and valuable learning experiences to further the beneficial worldwide uses of all nuclear technologies."


The most prominent WNU programme is its annual Summer Institute, a unique career-building training program for future leaders in nuclear science and technology. Beginning in 2005 the WNU Summer Institute was held in the USA, Sweden, Korea and Canada. In 2009, the event was held at Oxford University, where it is now expected to be held annually. Each event has brought together an average of 100 nuclear professionals - identified by their organisations for their leadership potential - to participate in an intensive and wide-ranging six-week program.


Another WNU programme is a series of one-week courses aimed at giving attendees a comprehensive knowledge of the key issues in the world industry. So far, such courses have been held in Brazil, Argentina, South Africa, China, Turkey and South Korea.


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