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Sustainable Development Goals

Communicating the role of nuclear science for the IAEA’s Sustainable Development Goals

In cooperation with ANSTO and for the third year running, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has recently hosted a two-week online training course for women professionals working in numerous nuclear industries around the world, titled “Women 4 Nuclear Science in Education and Communications” (W4NSEC).

The main objective of the course is to educate more professionals on the wide range of nuclear techniques and applications that are assisting the world to achieve the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals. Importantly, W4NSEC equips the course participants with a range of communication skills so they are more confident in promoting nuclear benefits in their regions. 

The IAEA ran the training course, which involved Agency and ANSTO staff,  Women in Nuclear, the Ruder Boskovic Institute (Croatia), University of Tokyo (Japan) and Argonne National Laboratory (US), out of a commitment to gender parity to create a stronger, more equal and more diverse workforce that can drive development and sustainability in the nuclear field.

Najat Mokhtar, Deputy Director General and head of the Department of Nuclear Sciences and Applications, welcomed participants on behalf of the IAEA.

Speaking on behalf of ANSTO, Board Chair The Hon Dr Annabelle Bennett AC SC FAA FAL spoke to participants with a message that emphasised the importance of supporting STEM education and communication initiatives for women, particularly when so much of the future will be about nuclear.

Cassandra Casey and Rod Dowler who have coordinated ANSTO’s contribution since the course’s inception, said approximately 30 participants attended the 2022 sessions—supporting more than 140 female professions over the last three years.

“The course relies on some the diverse skills, whether in science or communication,  of our staff and global contributors with nuclear expertise, providing high quality content,” Cassandra said.

Melissa Denecke IAEA
Melissa Denecke, Director of the IAEA's Division of Physical and Chemical Sciences, delivered a presentation to participants again this year. (Photo: D. Calma/IAEA)

Organised through the IAEA’s technical cooperation program, the two-week-long training course included presentations on research reactors, accelerator-based research and applications, the use of nuclear techniques to address sustainable development goals, neutron techniques and applications, particle therapy, the production and use of medical radioisotopes, isotope tracing in earth systems, and core communication skills for nuclear.

In 2023, the participants will be supported to complete a major course assignment around creating and delivering a communication campaign in their country that will build awareness of the benefits of nuclear science and technology.

ANSTO presenters included, Rod Dowler, Kate Lucas, Leena Burgess, Dr Mitra Safevi-Naeini, A/Prof Kirrily Rule, Susan Bogle, Julie Mulholland, Cassandra Casey, and Dr Ceri Brenner.


Nuclear Fuel Cycle