NEST Alumni share valuable lessons from their fellowships

NEST Management Board Meeting

The NEA Nuclear Education, Skills and Technology (NEST) Framework was developed to help address important gaps in nuclear skills capacity building, knowledge transfer and technical innovation in an international context.

The NEST Fellowship offers the next generation of nuclear experts – including young professionals and PhD and Master’s students – the opportunity to develop their skills and acquire practical experience under the supervision of leading experts in the nuclear field who sit on the NEST Management Board.

For the first time, NEST Fellow Alumni were invited to present testimonials on their experiences and lessons learnt during the 7th NEST Management Board meeting on 28-29 March 2023 at the NEA in Paris.  

The testimonials demonstrated the value that this Fellowship offers, allowing the Fellows to engage with international experts, gain practical experience with hands-on applications at state-of-the art facilities, and collaborate with different topical experts.

“The valuable aspects of my Fellowship were the combination of gaining theoretical knowledge and the acquisition of practical experience though experiments and case-studies,” said Ahmad Sleiman, an Alumnus of the NEST MANTRAS project.   

Fellow An Bielen also shared her experience in the non-technical NEST BEAST programme with the Management Board: “NEST allowed me to realise the vitality of creating an inter-disciplinary skilled workforce, which can also benefit the public perception in nuclear.”

DSC 0452Members of the NEST Management Board convened for their 7th meeting during which they heard testimonials from NEST Fellows about their experiences in the programme.

NEA Director-General William D. Magwood, IV attended the meeting and noted that the testimonials were a positive sign that the NEST Framework was contributing to help close the nuclear skills and education gap.

“These testimonials demonstrate the quality impact that the NEST Framework is having on broadening the skills and knowledge of the next generation of nuclear experts, which is exactly what it set out to do when it entered into force in 2019,’’ said Director-General Magwood.  

There are six NEST projects in total:

  • Hydrogen containment experiments for reactor safety (HYMERES);
  • Small modular reactors (SMRs);
  • Advanced remote technology and robotics for decommissioning (ARTERD);
  • Radioactive waste management of i-graphite;
  • Medical applications, nuclear technologies, radioprotection and safety (MANTRAS)
  • Building competence, Expert Knowledge, Applied techniques, Safe de-commissioning, Train fellows (BEAST)

The NEST Fellows and Alumni will be invited to the first NEST Annual Event to be held in conjunction with the World Nuclear Exhibition in Paris in November 2023 to facilitate networking opportunities.  

In addition to hearing the Alumni testimonials, the board meeting reviewed the progress of the various NEST projects, heard proposals for potential new projects, and discussed future planning and outreach efforts. The Management Board were also presented with a proposal for a new NEST project Framework for Irradiation Experiments (FIDES).

DSC 0454 Andreas Pautz (centre) addresses the NEST Management Board alongside NEA Director-General William D. Magwood, IV (left) and Head of the NEST and Global Forum Secretariats, Antonella Di Trapani.

The meeting welcomed observers from the NEA Global Forum on Nuclear Education, Science, Technology and Policy, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), European Commission, European Nuclear Education Network (ENEN), European Nuclear Experimental Education Platform (ENEEP) and Sustainable Nuclear Energy Technology Platform (SNETP), who gave presentations on existing co-operation initiatives in the NEA and partner organisations.

Chair of the NEST Management Board, Professor Andreas Pautz, stressed the importance of continuing to develop new partnerships with other organisations, promoting the benefits of NEST and allowing it to be promoted further through regional and international conferences where nuclear should be discussed.

Members of the NEST Management Board will reconvene in the autumn of 2023 for their 8th meeting.

Visit the NEST Framework webpage to learn more about NEST projects and upcoming events.

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