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To celebrate Thailand’s Office of Atoms for Peace (OAP) successfully completing the ISO 29993 certification audit of its training services, we sat down with Ms Kamolporn Pakdee and Ms Suchaya Kajonchotiphong from the Nuclear and Radiation Knowledge Management and Training Section of the Bureau of Strategy and Planning at OAP to discuss their experience with the process.
What obstacles did you encounter during the process and how did you overcome them?
The main challenges we faced were our lack of knowledge and experience to become an ISO 29993 certified body since we are the first government office in Thailand that went through the process of being certified as a learning service provider. We were able to overcome these challenging issues with support from GAC [Global Affairs Canada] and WINS and the online mentoring programme from ENSTII (IRSN).
The learning process during the mentoring programme helped us systematically develop the training system as required by the ISO 29993 standards. Moreover, we received great support from the managers and experts. During the mentoring and discussion sessions with the experts, as mentioned before, we scrutinised the requirements and the parts that directly apply to the OAP context, learned from other organisations and the learning service providers that have already been certified, and developed our systems. With all this help, countless meetings and focus group discussions, we were finally able achieve the certifications. Additionally, we plan to maintain the standard and extend the training programmes to support our stakeholders in all spectrums of nuclear security as needs arise.
How do the requirements for monitoring and evaluation of the learning service under ISO 29993 support quality and continuous improvement?
ISO 29993 requirements for the monitoring and evaluation of the learning service greatly enhance the quality and continuous improvement of the OAP training programme in the following aspects:
1. The process helps our personnel to be aware of operational monitoring throughout the ongoing event. Based on the monitoring and evaluation guidelines, it considers the framework, goals and objectives of the course or training event. As a result, the staff will be able to deliver high quality work. The process requires monitoring of the delivered courses in several areas, such as course content, environments, the instructors and their knowledge and skills, the MC and all personnel responsible for organising events.
2. The requirements also allow the staff to inspect and evaluate various aspects of the events, such as locations, interpreters, bus services, etc. These bring about the maximum efficiency of the course and ensure safety for the participants. This is reflected and highlighted in feedback from the participants.
3. In addition, the requirements also help the OAP staff learn appropriate responses to any complaints and/or suggestions, and more importantly, how to take the comments into systematic analysis for continuous improvement. As a result, the OAP staff have clear guidelines on the responses and how to take appropriate actions to resolve the issues quickly and efficiently.
4. The requirements also call for information from the monitoring and evaluation process be used to improve the training services in all dimensions. The event organisers, speakers and teams are very aware of the importance of the operations in this area, so detailed information is prepared for the assembly and discussions to further develop all-dimensional trainings.
Why is international cooperation important for nuclear and radioactive source security?
Nuclear and radiation security is related to a wide range of disciplines. It is difficult for a person or group to specialise in all related areas. International cooperation contributes to the fulfilment of this expertise. Many efficient tools are available, such as meetings, seminars, training, expert mission consultations or peer review.
Additionally, nuclear security is only as strong as the weakest link. Therefore, all States should play their parts in this global effort to cooperate and continuously improve security systems. International cooperation is a crucial factor that affects security at the national and international levels.
From Mr. Permsuk Sutchaphiwat, Secretary-General, Office of Atoms for Peace:
The Office of Atoms for Peace, or OAP, Ministry of Higher Education, Science, Research and Innovation plays the role of Thailand’s nuclear and radiation safety and security regulatory body. One of the important missions is to develop the capacity of personnel working in nuclear and radiation facilities in both the public and private sectors, including frontline operators such as the Customs Department, to have the knowledge and understanding of operations related to nuclear energy that efficiently meet international standards, and to ensure safety for people and the environment in the country in a sustainable way.
Currently, the OAP has a policy to develop personnel capacity in nuclear and radiation security in terms of basic knowledge and in-depth knowledge, in accordance with the national policy framework and global situation, so that the workers can apply knowledge and the experience gained with the practical applications that will enhance the Nuclear and Radiation Safety Regulatory Network.
Gaining full support in participating in the Nuclear Security Capacity Building Programme from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development of Canada, with WINS as the central agency responsible for closely and continuously coordinating and cooperating, is considered an important part in driving the OAP’s nuclear and radiation security capacity building mission to achieve its goals by working together on the development of the Radioactive Source Security Management course and training according to the requirements of the ISO standard towards OAP’s certification with the ISO 29993 quality management system.