We are doing science for policy
The Joint Research Centre (JRC) is the European Commission's science and knowledge service which employs scientists to carry out research in order to provide independent scientific advice and support to EU policy.
While last year JRC had to cancel the annual European Safeguards Research and Development Association (ESARDA) training course, this year the event went fully digital and the 19th edition was more successful than ever, with 150 participants from all over the world.
The ESARDA training course on Nuclear Safeguards and Non-proliferation is organised every year by the JRC as a contribution to the European Safeguards Research and Development Association (ESARDA) to foster nuclear education and training.
Nuclear safeguards are measures ensuring that nuclear materials are not diverted to non-peaceful applications. They rely on the verification by inspectors (from EURATOM in Europe, and the International Atomic Energy Agency – IAEA in the rest of the world) of the nuclear materials records declared by operators. Nuclear non-proliferation refers to the efforts and initiatives taken at international level to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons.
The objective of the ESARDA course is to complement academic curricula in nuclear science and engineering, or in law and international relations, by providing master students and young professionals with a deeper knowledge of the international non-proliferation context and of the European and international obligations to safeguard nuclear materials and facilities.
Besides many JRC researchers, lecturers are experienced professionals from EURATOM and IAEA inspectorates and the academia.
From 2002 to 2019, the in-presence course usually counted 60 participants from Europe. This year, thanks also to the contribution of the European Nuclear Education Network (ENEN) and the cooperation with the African Commission on Nuclear Energy (AFCONE), more participants from outside Europe could join, among which 60 from African nuclear organisations. The online format made the course much more accessible and doubled the participation (fig. 1)
For this online edition of the course, the organisation team made considerable efforts, together with the lecturers, to convert the entire content, including exercises and visits to the JRC Ispra site nuclear laboratories, into a virtual format. Up to 15 virtual rooms were created for group discussions and practical exercises. And the virtual laboratory tours of the Advanced Safeguards laboratory (AS3ML) – fig. 2 - and of the Ispra Nuclear Laboratories (INS3L) allowed the participants to have a closer look at nuclear safeguards equipment and instruments from their remote locations.
Additionally, you can visit the specializing master program website in Nuclear Safeguards organised by Politecnico di Milano and ENEN.