On October 16, 2019, Igor Sikorsky Kyiv Polytechnic Institute (hereinafter – KPI) hosted Women in Physical Nuclear Safety Forum (hereinafter referred to as the Forum), that is held jointly by the Ministry of Energy and Coal Industry of Ukraine, Swedish Radiation Safety Authority and KPI is designed to support nuclear security education and promote gender awareness in Ukraine.
This event is held in Ukraine for the first time and aims to:
support nuclear safety education in Ukraine;
provide students from relevant universities of Ukraine with knowledge on non-proliferation of nuclear materials and technologies and on issues of physical nuclear safety;
form and maintain awareness of gender equality issues and to encourage young women to work in the field of nuclear physical security and in the nuclear field;
create a platform for exchange of views and communication with international and national experts;
identify needs and program of action for the future.
67 participants took part in the Forum. From the Ukrainian side: the Ministry of Energy and Coal Industry of Ukraine, the State Inspectorate for Nuclear Regulation of Ukraine, the Verkhovna Rada Committee on Fuel and Energy, Nuclear Policy and Nuclear Safety, SUNPP, KhNPP and the Directorate of SE “Energoatom”, SE “State Scientific and Technical Center for Nuclear and Radiation Safety”, NSC “Kharkiv Institute of Physics and Technology”, SE “Central Enterprise for Radioactive Waste Management”, State Agency of Ukraine on Exclusion Zone Management, SSE “Radon Association” , SSE “Chornobyl NPP”.
From abroad: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), US State Department, US Embassy in Ukraine, Swedish Radiation Safety Agency (SSM), James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Research, Middlebury Institute for International Studies (USA), World Institute for Nuclear Safety (WINS), Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development of Canada (DFATD), “StorlommenKonsult AB” Company (Sweden), State Inspectorate for Nuclear Energy Safety (Lithuania), Stockholm University (Sweden), Swedish Nuclear Fuel and Waste Management Company (SKB), The Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO).
From educational institutions students and teachers: Kharkiv National University of V.N. Karazin, Lviv Polytechnic National University, Kyiv National University of Taras Shevchenko, National Technical University “Kyiv Polytechnic Institute of Igor Sikorsky”, Odessa National Polytechnic University, Odessa Center for Non-Proliferation of Odessa National University. Physical nuclear security includes such areas as: physical protection, accounting and control of nuclear materials, nuclear forensics, response to events related to nuclear fuel, information and computer security.
Ms. Ronda Evans (WINS) introduced to the Forum participants the WINS study “Gender and Physical Nuclear Safety: Challenges and Opportunities” https://wins.org/wins-publishes-special-report-on-gender-and-nuclear-security/ . The
general global trend indicates a predominant number of men in this field. In terms of career development, only 20% of the total number of managers are women.
Ms. Natalia Klos (Ministry of Energy and Coal Industry) presented the results of a study conducted in Ukraine on the representation of women in the FNS. Female physical protection specialists average about 15% of the total number
of employees, it should be noted that the leading role played by the enterprises of State Agency of Ukraine on Exclusion Zone Management and the Institute of Nuclear Research of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine.
Female specialists in the accounting and control of nuclear materials average about 50% of the total number of employees, the leading role is played by the National Guard of Ukraine, SNRCU and State Agency of Ukraine on Exclusion Zone Management.
Female information security specialists average 21% of the total number of employees according to the National Guard of Ukraine (data of specialists are mainly accounted in other departments and rather belong to the service staff). Female specialists in nuclear forensics on average are about 17% of the total number of employees, the leading role is played by the Institute of Nuclear Research of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine.
Female specialists in response to events related to FNS on average account for about 15% of the total number of employees, the leading role is played by the State Border Guard Service of Ukraine. The main types of work for female personnel are related to the preparation of documentation, bypass regime, registration of permits for special works, activities to ensure the accounting and control of nuclear materials.
The only area that has statistically more women is the accounting and control of nuclear materials, but still there is no need to talk about equality. How are you doing with your career? Do women manage to build a professional path to success on the career ladder? This is unlikely. So, the example: for 25 years of existence of physical protection in Ukraine there is only one woman who holds the chief position of service of physical protection of KFTI – Kuznetsova Tamara Uhymivna.
To be sure, there is a gender inequality in nuclear security in Ukraine rather than equality, and it is difficult to predict when this situation will change, but it is necessary to strive. This is not just a question of equal opportunities, but rather of taking into account all aspects of improving the level of physical nuclear safety by providing a variety of approaches to its provision.
The participants of the Forum shared their stories about their professional careers, what was their way of life, that led them to the current state. They discussed the opportunities and challenges facing women in the nuclear field today. Advised young women from the audience on strategies to help women achieve more prominent roles in their organizations. The participants of the Forum praised the event, which allowed to share experiences and find like-minded people in the field of nuclear security.