IAEA says national strategies needed for regulatory competence

03 January 2019

Establishing a national strategy is essential for the sustainable supply of competent and well-trained regulatory staff who can effectively oversee nuclear safety, the Steering Committee on Regulatory Capacity Building and Knowledge Management, supported by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), has concluded.

The meeting of the Steering Committee on Regulatory Capacity Building and Knowledge Management (Image: F Nassif / IAEA)

At its meeting in Vienna on 17-21 December, regulators from 27 countries assessed the status of education and training for regulatory bodies, exchanged experience and offered feedback. The meeting was the committee's tenth since its establishment in 2009. The IAEA established the steering committee to help regulators ensure that they have the competence needed to maintain a high level of nuclear safety, based on IAEA Safety Standards.

The meeting participants noted that a few countries have strategies and many others have begun working on them, but more work is needed.

"Without a strategy in place, there is a risk that regulatory bodies won't find competent candidates to fill future needs," the IAEA said. Meeting participants emphasised the need for regulators to support each other across borders, and encouraged the IAEA to continue offering general guidance and tailored assistance.

Juan Carlos Lentijo, deputy director general and head of the Department of Nuclear Safety and Security at the IAEA, said: "Qualified staff are the backbone of countries' ability to uphold their national responsibility for nuclear safety and security. Capacity building is key to strong nuclear safety infrastructure."

"The meeting helps us at the IAEA understand how we can further support Member States to have well-developed, competent regulatory staff in place at all times," added Geza Macsuga, IAEA nuclear safety officer and the meeting's scientific secretary.

The IAEA said the meeting's conclusions will contribute to the development of its approach to education and training in nuclear safety after 2020, when its current Strategic Approach to Education in Training in Nuclear Safety ends.

Last year, the IAEA held more than 70 capacity building activities in nuclear safety for regulators from over 50 countries. Almost half of the activities took place in countries embarking on nuclear power programmes. For such countries, the IAEA has developed standardised training material based on the IAEA Safety Standards and practical case studies.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News