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Coordination Action on Education and Training in Radiation Protection and Radioactive Waste ManagementThe main focus of the CETRAD project is education and training for the management of geological disposal for high-level and long-lived radioactive wastes and spent fuel in geological formations, and on radiation protection. In particular, CETRAD will survey both current and anticipated education and training requirements and provision. The main outcomes of the project will be proposals for future education and training provision in this area to preserve capability and expertise in Europe.
Education and training, radiation protection and waste disposal
The objective of the project is to develop proposals for structuring and delivering both education and training in the management of the geological disposal of high-level and long-lived radioactive wastes and spent fuel in geological formations, and radiation protection. Within Europe there is extensive experience in the principles and practise of radiation protection and radioactive waste management. However, there is growing concern that skills and expertise are not being passed on to the sufficient level of younger experts who will be required to manage nuclear facilities and waste. This expertise ‘gap’ poses a potential risk to society as there will be a need to manage such nuclear issues for the foreseeable future. This project is seen as the forerunner of a more comprehensive pan-European network in this area, which is planned to emerge from this work.
The consortium consists of 20 partners who act as national correspondents for 17 countries, namely UK, Switzerland, Finland, Belgium, Czech Republic, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, the Netherlands, Sweden, Bulgaria, Portugal, Romania, Hungary, Germany, Italy, Spain and France. The majority of the consortium partners are national authorities responsible for the management of nuclear waste while two partners have with expertise in the provision and development of education and training.
Harmonisation and integration
Many organisations in Europe represent the state-of-the-art in nuclear waste management. However, there is a clear and continuous need for the provision of education and training in this area. The numerous education and training programmes around Europe are at different stages of development and need to be harmonised. This would in particular enable countries at early stages of development in their education and training schemes to greatly benefit from the experience of more developed organisations.
The project will be carried out in two phases. In phase 1, national evaluations of both the needs for education and training and the existing infrastructure and resources in the field of radioactive waste management and radiation protection will be undertaken. Then in phase 2, specific proposals will be developed following analysis of the needs identified.
Four specific tasks will be performed. Initially, real education and training needs will be identified and current resources within the area of radiation protection and geological disposal within Europe will be assessed. This assessment will cover both network members and other bodies within a larger target group. From the needs identified in the first two objectives, a number of appropriate options capable of fulfilling such requirements will be developed and evaluated. The project will also look at integrating education and training activities across all sectors in this area.
Proposals, skills gap, share knowledge
The final output of this work will be a comprehensive series of proposal recommendations for projects to address all of the educational and training needs in Europe in the field of radioactive waste management and radiation protection. These proposals will be produced in the final month of this 15-month project.
The coordination action will offer a way of filling gaps in current skill deficits, which may prove to be of general benefit in other sectors. It will also provide a means of bringing up to speed the education and training resources in new Member States and offer research scientists in other areas an opportunity to access a variety of education and training infrastructures. The action should increase demand for such education resources in Europe and reduce costs by sharing knowledge. The action will assist the export of relevant nuclear and associated technology to other nations whose policies and technology is less developed. The methods and resources developed in CETRAD will be useful to other industries as the result of the overlapping of ideas and concepts and to its integrated European approach.
Skilled resource, improved public safety
The major social objectives achieved through the implementation of the proposed CETRAD networking include the setting up of a highly skilled workforce leading to well-paid employment in the nuclear and associated industries and the provision of manpower in this area for professional development. The project will establish high-quality and fully accredited qualifications with pan-European recognition. This will assist in the licensing of the essential main nuclear waste repositories, enabling potentially hazardous radioactive waste to be disposed of safely. Finally, by achieving all the above-mentioned outcomes, the project will help in developing the European knowledge-based economy in this area.
The social objectives achieved through implementation of CETRAD are related to quality of life, health and safety, improved employment and preservation/enhancement of the environment. For example, this training allows key personnel to implement state-of-the-art knowledge in the specific areas of nuclear waste disposal in which they are involved. This then ensures consistent and safe design and working methods in nuclear waste disposal management. The dissemination of knowledge consequently leads to safety for European citizens and protection of the environment. Furthermore, integrating international policies that best fit each nation’s need would give optimal solutions to specific problems facing the nuclear waste disposal industry.