Excellent learning and peer-to-peer networking opportunities with a cross-section of the nuclear industry.
The world’s first certified professional development programme for individuals in nuclear security management.
An extensive archive of information on nuclear security, both from WINS and from external sources.
Helping licensees assess the maturity of their security programme and measure their security culture effectiveness.
Earlier this year, Bai Bittaye, Program Officer of Hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides at the National Environment Agency in Gambia, became a WINS Academy Ambassador. Mr Bittaye earned his title as a Certified Radioactive Source Security Professional in December 2020.
We sat down with Mr Bittaye to further understand how he used what he learned at the WINS Academy in his position and how he plans to convince others in his field and beyond to get certified. He enrolled in a WINS Academy course and received a scholarship after learning about WINS from an Academy Ambassador.
What was your WINS Academy elective?
My elective was Radioactive Source Security Management, and I chose it because I was initially more into the safety aspect and didn’t look at it from the security aspect. In this way, the course has enlightened me in terms of the security of radioactive sources. Initially, I was a safety officer, and in safety, you only look at the hazards. However, when you see the security aspect, you are really able to understand the threat posed when people might try to use these materials to cause harm.
Were you able to use what you learned in your WINS Academy programme?
Yes. In my unit of the chemicals department, we also deal with radiation-related matters so we deal with applications from people who want to import substances that contain radiation material. Before we can provide approval, we have to look into both the safety and security aspects.
One of the things I learned from the WINS Academy programme is that you should, for instance, have security locks to ensure they are not accessible by people who are not supposed to use these sources for purposes they are not meant for.
“Knowledge that you keep to yourself is useless. I strongly believe that it is important to transmit knowledge, so if you learn something, you have to share it with people.”
What advice would you have for someone who is thinking about enrolling in the WINS Academy programme?
Because this is an area significant in the work we do, I would try to convince the people I work with how valuable the course is and how it could help us achieve our goals regarding the safety and security aspects of radioactive sources.
We are the focal point in the area for the IAEA, and as the focal point, it is important for us to know what we are supposed to do. Therefore, this is an opportunity we have to enlighten ourselves on these issues and facilitate better implementation of the IAEA statute.
Who are the stakeholders in your region that could benefit from attending a WINS Academy course?
As a WINS Ambassador, I would take the opportunity to also speak to people outside my institution, however, the industry is quite small in my country. We do not have nuclear-related issues as there are no nuclear power plants. We only use radioactive sources, and most of the radioactive sources we use in x-ray machines in hospitals and scanners at Customs. There are also petroleum exploration companies operating in the country that use radioactive sources.
I think it is crucial to reach out to and enlighten the people working in those fields on how important it is to handle those substances so that the sources do not fall into the wrong hands. I think it’s also important to help people realise how the WINS Academy programme will help us achieve our goals regarding the safety and security aspects of these materials.
What inspired you to become a WINS Academy Ambassador?
As I mentioned before, while taking the course, I realised it was a vital programme for us. I feel as if it is my obligation to be an Ambassador. Knowledge that you keep to yourself is useless. I strongly believe that it is important to transmit knowledge, so if you learn something, you have to share it with people.
I would also like to thank the WINS Academy for giving me this opportunity to enrol in the course, which I was able to attend with a scholarship, as well as for the chance to become an Ambassador.