The first edition of the Fundamentals of International Nuclear Law (FINL) course was held on 16-18 February 2021 with a diverse international group of 41 professionals and graduate students from 27 countries.
The Fundamentals of International Nuclear Law (FINL) is a new online course developed by the NEA to provide a high-level, introductory review of the central aspects of international nuclear law in a condensed three-day, three hours per day, programme. This condensed course was designed to accommodate the needs and interests of professionals working in the nuclear field and graduate students enrolled in an energy or international law-related LLM programme. The course was developed to provide a virtual educational offering, as a complement to the NEA’s in-person education programmes, to ensure continuity in its mission of providing nuclear law information and education during these challenging times.
During the three-day programme, the participants learned about the international nuclear law framework and major issues affecting the peaceful uses of nuclear energy. Lectures on topics related to nuclear safety, security, non-proliferation and liability were delivered by renowned specialists in nuclear law from international organisations, governments and private industry.
Like the NEA's other educational programmes (International School of Nuclear Law and International Nuclear Law Essentials), the FINL was conducted under the leadership of Paul Bowden, Professor of Energy and Environmental Law, The Nottingham Law School. “Nuclear law learning for all of us – whether we are in regulatory or corporate practice, are government advisors or in academia – has never been more important. The development of new nuclear technologies to help get to global net zero carbon has to be matched by renewed legal skills and capacity to ensure they are delivered,” Bowden said during his closing remarks.
NEA Director‑General William D. Magwood, IV, Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) Senior General Counsel Lisa Thiele and Stephen G. Burns, former Commissioner, US Nuclear Regulatory Commission, as well as lecturers from the NEA, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the private sector, were among those who spoke during the week. During his keynote address, Director‑General Magwood highlighted the importance of the maintenance and development of nuclear skills capabilities for the NEA membership. “The nuclear energy sector faces a significant human capital challenge. There are not enough young people entering the field to build, deploy and operate nuclear technology,” Magwood said. “Human capital expansion is a global issue. We have to make sure that all countries have people ready to support nuclear applications in a safe and responsible manner.”