Nuclear Technology Management: IAEA Guidance for University Programmes

The IAEA has released a new publication to help guide universities to incorporate management aspects of nuclear technology into their nuclear education programmes.

The nuclear industry and radiation technology sector rely on qualified human resources that are developed through nuclear education and training programmes and supported by government and industry. Among the broad range of specialists needed to ensure a capable workforce, competent managers are a vital component. Management of nuclear and radiation technology over its life cycle is challenging and complex, requiring competencies specific to each sector.

However, engineers and scientists at organizations using nuclear and radiation technology often have limited opportunities to obtain formal management education. Likewise, managers in these sectors often lack a qualification from a technical degree programme and typically have few chances of obtaining such formal education.

“In consulting with managers and universities, the need for master’s degree programmes in management for the nuclear and radiological sectors became clear,” said David Drury, Head of the IAEA’s Nuclear Knowledge Management Section. “There is a clear need for managers in the industry to acquire not only practical experience, but also formal education focused on theory, concepts and academic exercises. Nuclear regulators have also recognized the need and benefits of establishing post-graduate programmes in nuclear technology management.”

The new publication, titled International Nuclear Management Academy Master’s Programmes in Nuclear Technology Management aims to support the establishment and delivery of nuclear technology management (NTM) programmes, to enable the combined learning of both the technical and management aspects of nuclear projects and nuclear facilities. This holistic approach aims to enhance operational performance and standards of safety of nuclear and radiation technology facilities worldwide.

This publication was developed in the framework of the International Nuclear Management Academy (INMA) established by the IAEA, and details common NTM programme requirements, the types of IAEA assistance available for universities wishing to establish an NTM programme, and the process for receiving INMA NTM programme endorsement.

International Nuclear Management Academy

The INMA scheme, established by the IAEA in 2013, promotes collaboration and the sharing of educational resources, materials and tools. It provides a set of common requirements for Master’s programmes with a specialized focus on advanced aspects of management in nuclear technology, science and engineering. These are based on a combination of technology and management topics to support future nuclear managers and leaders.

Upon request, the IAEA supports universities with INMA peer review missions to benchmark their programmes against the INMA NTM curriculum. Following a positive assessment, the IAEA awards INMA member status to these universities. This ensures that the NTM programmes in these universities fulfil the INMA requirements, and ensures consistency among them.

In May this year, North-West University and the University of the Witwatersrand in South Africa became the latest-to-join members of the INMA, taking the total number of members to six, alongside with the University of Manchester, the National Research Nuclear University MEPhI in Moscow, the University of Tokyo and the Texas A&M University.

“Working with world-leading universities has enabled us to develop a curriculum that enhances the career development of the future leaders of the nuclear industry,” Drury said.

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