The International Nuclear Management Academy (INMA) has endorsed Wits University for its leadership in the nuclear technology sector.
The INMA membership certificate was awarded to Wits at a virtual ceremony three weeks ago and received by the university’s high-powered delegation in Professor Nithaya Chetty, Professor Ian Jandrell, Dr Tim Hutton, Executive Education Director at the Wits Business School, and Professor James Larkin, Director of the Wits Radiation and Health Physics Unit.
The university said nuclear science and technologies are critical in various industries, including in the health and energy sector. The need for leadership and management skills amongst the technologists, scientists and engineers that drive the nuclear field is therefore of the utmost importance in order to ensure safer and more secure implementations of this technology, it said.
The desire to fulfil these requirements led to the formation of Wits University’s Nuclear Technology Leadership Programme, which has just been officially endorsed by the INMA, the branch of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Wits also received full membership of INMA at the IAEA.
The leadership programme was launched in 2015 and it has so far produced two cohorts, the majority of which have been headhunted for their unique combination of technical and management skills said the university.
The programme will also become more critical as South Africa and other countries on the continent continue to develop their nuclear programmes in a safe and secure manner.
Dr.Tim Hutton said management has not always been a high priority in the nuclear sector. Added Professor James Larkin, director of the Wits Radiation and Health Physics Unit: “Technological aspects are de-emphasised in this programme, since applicants are expected to have a background in nuclear engineering through prior qualifications and practical experience from plants such as the Koeberg Nuclear Power Station.”
Professor Jandrell, dean of the faculty of engineering and the built environment said: “The INMA endorsement process was very rigorous, and very significant.” He said they are thrilled by the accolade. “That an international body affiliated with the IAEA has endorsed us, through an international peer reviewed system, is the pinnacle of achievement for this programme,” he said.
Echoing his sentiment, Professor Nithaya Chetty, Dean of Science at Wits, said: “With the long-standing concerns about safety and security in the nuclear energy sector, this programme really instils a lot of confidence in the ways in which we can grow capacity in terms of harnessing nuclear energy.”
According to the university, the leadership programme was designed by experts from various disciplines drawn from the Wits Business School, the School of Engineering and the School of Physics and was borne out of a request from Eskom, South Africa’s power producer. The cross-disciplinary nature of the programme was critical to ensure relevance and to close the gap in industry.
This programme was developed from day one to be a blended offering in line with nurturing skills and broadening access said Professor Jandrell, adding it was also designed specifically to enable remote learning for students who are already in a work environment.