The OECD Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA) launched the Nuclear Education, Skills and Technology (NEST) Framework in partnership with its member countries to help address important gaps in nuclear skills capacity building, knowledge transfer and technical innovation in an international context. . The NEST Framework is developed as a NEA joint undertaking gathering private and public organisations from interested countries (not-necessarily NEA member countries).
It entered into force on the 15 February 2019. The goal of NEST is to
The main added-values and benefits of NEST are:
The NEST Framework comprises a number of countries and organisations who wish to cooperate through international exchanges and activities to strengthen nuclear-related technology education and training programmes, build technical and non-technical skills in the field of nuclear science, and foster the safe use of nuclear technology and its applications.
Currently, 15 organisations from 10 countries are participating in the NEST Framework and are the initial signatories of the Framework Agreement:
The NEA is keen to engage further with interested countries who wish to train a new generation of professionals, and who value long term and sustainable international co-operation in the area of nuclear education, skills and technology.
The main decision body of the NEST Framework is the Management Board which comprises one member (and one alternate) from each NEST Country.
The main roles and responsibilities of the NEST Management Board are to:
Prof. Dr. Andreas Pautz from PSI is the current Chair of the Management Board (2019-2020).
The heart of the NEST Framework are multinational and multidisciplinary projects, the so-called NEST projects.
NEST projects may be developed to meet specific education and skills development needs. In order to meet real-world context and challenging problems of industry/regulatory bodies, and to benefit from experienced practitioners, a NEST project can be defined and implemented as a part of broader existing project that are able to meet agreed NEST criteria, such as national projects open to international co-operation, ongoing NEA joint projects, etc.
The NEST Management Board will select the projects according to the following criteria:
Additional criteria can be identified by the Management Board.
NEST projects will be selected by the Management Board according to the above criteria and according to their strategic value for the NEST countries.
Each NEST Project will be facilitated by a Leading Organisation which will work with NEST Participating Organisations in countries participating in the NEST Project to carry out related research tasks. The Leading Organisation provides the professional research guidance for the project while the NEST Participating Organisations will conduct research tasks that will be carried out by the NEST Fellows.
NEST Fellows can be Master’s students, PhDs, postdoctoral researchers, young professionals, etc. belonging to one of the NEST Project’s Participating Organisations.
Each fellow will then go back to their own home institution and develop their own project and continue to work under adequate mentorship. The research activity will be developed in the home organisation in tight connection with other fellows working in the same NEST project along with senior staff from the participating organisation to provide necessary guidance. This will empower the fellows who will eventually possess and develop new skills and competences.
This new setting will help catalysing new dynamics among all actors and creating an eco-system essential to foster a collective learning and development from which new ideas will evolve.
Hydrogen containment experiments for reactor safety (HYMERES)
NEST HYMERES (Hydrogen containment experiments for reactor safety) project is addressing safety relevant phenomena in containments during accidents. It offers hands-on training opportunity during the experimental test campaigns carried at the PSI PANDA facility, one of the most advanced containment test facility.
In parallel, it also aims to develop exploratory research projects under the guidance of experts at Participating Organisations, in particular within the universities.
Small Modular Reactors (SMRs)
This NEST project aims to integrate SMR research projects from the individual Participating Organisation countries into a broader and more impactful programme. It will include elements of technology assessment and development, regulatory framework, societal Issues, spent fuel management and SMR economics.
Advanced remote technology and robotics for Decommissioning
This NEST project led by JAEA/CLADS will be dedicated to advanced remote technology for decommissioning under intense gamma-ray radiation environments (e.g robotics, virtual reality).
A short programme will consist of seminars, site tours, and practical exercise. This will be held at the JAEA Nahara Remote Technology Development Centre. NEST Fellows will be able use virtual reality to understand the circumstances inside a reactor building, virtual operations by simulated remotely operated robot. A longer program will include also R&D tasks.
Radioactive waste management of i‑Graphite:
Project descriptionThis NEST project addresses the main issues of i‑graphite management, including characterisation, decontamination and disposal. Hands‑on training will consist of several activities which will make use of the fully‑fledged infrastructure, pilot & experimental facilities present at the ROSATOM site: specially‑manufactured equipment for i‑graphite remote sampling, graphite incineration facility, and RW repository mock‑up models for investigation of geological barriers.
Medical Applications, Nuclear Technologies, Radioprotection and Safety (MANTRAS)
Mantras will organize educational and training courses, events on applications in the medical sector, and access to the available research infrastructures. It will focus in particular on the development of new technologies for future nuclear applications in medicine and dosimetry, including experimental production of radioisotopes and radiotherapy techniques.
Other topical areas of the project are the following: Science and basic technology; Safety assessments and security considerations; Safety culture and Radiological protection; Ethical and societal aspects for decision-making processes; Safety and Radiological protection in practice; Multi-disciplinary cross-cutting issues and international cooperation.
Research reactors for Nuclear R&D
This NEST project aims to provide the necessary education and hands-on training component to the new multilateral initiative currently developed by NEA to strengthen fuel and material- related experiments, making use of a variety of research reactors available world-wide.
Interested organisations should contact the NEST Secretariat to discuss their potential participation.
For more information, please contact:
Dr Antonella Di Trapani
Head of the NEST Secretariat
For general enquiries, please contact: email@example.com