Giving women more opportunities to pursue careers in science and engineering fields like nuclear energy is key both to gender equality and to meeting the sector’s needs as it grows as a source of energy around the world.
The Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA) tries to encourage the careers of young female students and professionals by having them meet and talk with experts in the field who can provide guidance and perspective. The agency co-organised one such International Mentoring Workshop with WiN-France, the French branch of the Women in Nuclear nonprofit organisation on 7-9 December 2022.
The NEA WiN France mentoring workshop gave 15 university and graduate students the change to learn from and ask questions to professional women in the nuclear sector.
The three-day event was held at the ESIX University in Cherbourg, France, and saw three mentors engage with 15 female university and graduate students who are finalising their studies and looking at options in the scientific, nuclear and other professional domains.
The workshop featured keynote speeches from NEA Director-General William D. Magwood, IV, the President of WiN France, Isabelle Poli, and the Director of ESIX University, Rachid Makhloufi. Aline des Cloizeaux, Director of the Nuclear Power Division of the International Atomic Energy Agency, offered a topical presentation on the role of advanced nuclear power technologies in the energy mix, while Diane Cameron, Head of Division for Nuclear Technology Development and Economics at the NEA, joined remotely to discuss her journey into the nuclear field and to answer questions.
Capacity building and gender balance in the nuclear sector is an increasing focus for NEA member countries. A key goal of the NEA's work in this area is to attract and retain more women in the technology and science fields by promoting education and development in those areas.
The mentees said after the workshop that they had gained direction and reassurance about their plans for further studies, internships and jobs.
The mentoring workshop took place alongside the Annual WiN France Convention, presenting a unique opportunity for the mentees to hear key discussions about nuclear reactors in France and the national energy policy. A site visit to the French EPR pressurised water reactor in Flamanville 3 was organised on the third day of the event.
The mentees said that the workshop helped them to gained direction and reassurance about their plans for further studies, internships and jobs.
The workshop was the 17th NEA international mentoring event since the launch of the mentoring programme in 2017.
For more information on the NEA's work on capacity building and gender, visit here.