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Technical and Scientific Support Organizations


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Filling in the Resource Gaps: The Role of Technical and Scientific Support Organizations

24 October 2014 | Technical and Scientific Support Organizations (TSOs) comprise competent, long-standing experts who deliver technical and scientific services to national nuclear regulatory authorities and industry. They also may advise governments to assist them in achieving the highest possible levels of safety and security for nuclear, waste management, radiation protection - independent of external interests... Full story »


Beijing TSO Conference opens this Monday 27 October

Posted 22 October 2014 | Technical and Scientific Support Organizations (TSOs) will gather in Beijing, China on 27-31 October 2014, at the third international conference organized by the IAEA and hosted by the Government of China, to discuss challenges faced in enhancing nuclear safety and security: strengthening cooperation and improving capabilities.

"These conferences provide TSOs the unique opportunity to gather and share information internationally increasing their abilities to develop their competencies and capabilities to better handle the issues that arise in nuclear safety and security." said Denis Flory, IAEA Deputy Director General of the department of the nuclear safety and security.

Topics to be covered include:

  • Discuss the role of research and development in enhancing nuclear safety
  • Help participants to understand the impact of the Fukushima Daiichi accident on TSOs and to extract lessons to be learned
  • Highlight the role of TSOs in the implementation of the IAEA Action Plan on Nuclear Safety
  • Provide a forum for discussion of the roles, functions and value of TSOs in enhancing nuclear and radiation safety and nuclear security, including through capacity building in those countries launching or expanding their nuclear power programmes
  • Facilitate the exchange of experience and good practices in planning and implementing cooperative activities for capacity building and in identifying needs for assistance activities from the standpoint of recipient countries
  • Consider appropriate approaches for enhancing cooperation and effective networking among TSOs and beyond, including centres of excellence
  • Provide an overview of the technical and scientific support needed for maintaining a sustainable nuclear safety and security system
  • Foster continued dialogue on all relevant technical, scientific, organizational and legal aspects at the international level.

Learn more about the Conference Website here, and also look for updates throughout the conference via our IAEA Facebook webpage and via Twitter at #TSObeijing.


What is a TSO?

Technical and Scientific Support Organizations (TSOs) comprise experts who deliver technical and scientific services to national nuclear regulatory authorities and industry and may advise governments to assist them in achieving the highest possible levels of safety and security for nuclear, waste management, radiation protection, and so on.

TSOs comprise professional experts who maintain high levels of competence, have long-standing experience, and are able to provide global, consistent technical and science-based answers and approaches to safety and security — independent of external interests.

Why do we need TSOs?

Organizations with responsibilities for safety and the control of radiation risks may need to obtain expert advice from organizations or individuals external to their own organization. The rapid expansion of nuclear and radiation related activities in many States has highlighted the limited number of skilled and experienced experts available.

The rapidly increasing worldwide demand for clean, secure and predictable energy as well as growing concerns over climate change continue to make nuclear power an attractive alternative. In fact, more than 30 countries are interested in building their first nuclear power reactor, according to recent Agency reports. These countries span virtually every continent and vary greatly in economic and social development. Their Nuclear safety considerations make a qualified workforce mandatory and nuclear security considerations and other drivers add to this need.

And, since expertise and resources for all of the organizations and institutions necessary to sustaining nuclear and radiation safety and security are in very short supply, TSOs can help to fill these resource gaps.

What kinds of services do TSO's provide?

TSOs can provide the breadth and depth of services from technically competent experts needed to support many organizations, for example:

  • Operating organizations
  • Research organizations
  • Reactor vendors
  • Mining organizations
  • Fuel fabrication
  • Spent fuel treatment organizations
  • Regulatory bodies
  • Governments

How does IAEA support Member States use of TSO's?

IAEA plays a vital part in the national and international efforts made to ensure the effectiveness of nuclear safety and security of regulatory systems and, in particular, on prerequisites and ways for maintaining and strengthening the actions of TSOs in supporting the enhancement of safety and security worldwide. In addition, IAEA fosters technical meetings and international conferences specifically aimed at developing a common understanding of the responsibilities, needs, functions and opportunities of TSOs, as well as to strengthen international cooperation and networking among TSOs with a view to strengthening nuclear and radiation safety and security regulation, including capacity building.


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| Last update: Tuesday, 09 December, 2014.