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What is INMA?

What is INMA?​

Nuclear projects around the world, whether the full construction of a nuclear power plant, installation of ancillary equipment or development of a concept should all be delivered on budget and time, to the required standard needed for their safe efficient operation, but unfortunately this is often not the reality. Management improvements in the nuclear industry are a desired aim and would be beneficial to all stakeholders. It is important though that managers in the nuclear industry have a certain amount of knowledge of nuclear and radiation science to enable them to perform at the highest level.

Many of the managers currently working in the operational or decommissioning nuclear sectors may have a technical background and were subject matter experts before moving into senior management roles. Without any management experience it may have been difficult to acquire the new competencies to successfully manage projects. This has the double impact on the organization gaining a manager that is not fully prepared for their new role and the loss of a subject matter expert. The recruitment of experienced managers from outside the nuclear sector may be one way to improve a company's management capability but this is not an ideal solution as they will not have any nuclear or radiation knowledge.

Until now there was no career path for nuclear experts to gain management skills or experienced managers to acquire the required level of nuclear and radiation knowledge. The new professional designation of "nuclear technology management (NTM) professional"  has therefore been established by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) facilitated International Nuclear Management Academy (INMA) to accurately reflect the balance of required competencies.

Initially the IAEA organised a Consultancy Meeting for nuclear education professionals to ask how they could contribute to the education of nuclear technology managers. The outcome of the meeting was that a postgraduate master's level university course, preferably integrated within a nuclear professional's career, would be the optimum method to gain the competencies required. The best way to develop management skills is to learn by doing rather than learn by listening, so experiential based learning or on-the-job training are vital aspects of any technology management educational programme. The IAEA supports the development of these programmes by the INMA member universities.

To ensure the curriculum for the programmes matches the requirements of industry, a consultation with industry was conducted to ask which are the key competencies required for a nuclear technology manager. The competencies were then grouped into one of four aspect groups; External Environment, Technology, Management and Leadership. Some of the competencies are classified as "Required" for all disciplines within nuclear technology management, whereas others were deemed to be "As Appropriate" to allow for different curricula for different course specialisations, such as new build, operation or decommissioning.

A comprehensive nuclear technology management course can "managerize" nuclear technology specialists and "nuclearize" managers as required, but NTM courses do not provide all the required competencies of a nuclear technology management professional. This requires that any prior knowledge, skills and competencies are included, as well as those learned in their work environment during and after the period of the master's programme.

The International Nuclear Management Academy has identified forty-seven competencies across the four aspect groups.

The External Environment Aspect Group includes the competencies that relate to understanding or managing the political, legal, regulatory, business and societal environments of a nuclear organisation in which nuclear technology managers operate. The external environment can directly or indirectly influence or constrain many decisions and actions.

The Technology Aspect Group includes the competencies related to the basics of nuclear technology, science and engineering, and their applications that need to be considered in the successful management of nuclear facilities for power and non-power applications. 

The Management Aspect Group includes the competencies related to the issues confronted for successful management of nuclear projects with due consideration to safety, security and economics.

The Leadership Aspect Group includes the competencies required for successful leadership such as vision, strong ethical behaviours, clear vision and goal setting, commitment to safety and security, good communication skills with all stakeholders, and a professional disposition in all situations.

The Aspect Groups comprise the following competencies:

Aspect Group 1: External Environment
1.1. Energy production, distribution and markets
1.2. International nuclear organizations
1.3. National nuclear technology policy, planning and politics
1.4. Nuclear standards
1.5. Nuclear law
1.6. Business law and contract management
1.7. Intellectual property (IP) management
1.8. Nuclear licensing, licensing basis and regulatory processes
1.9. Nuclear security 
1.10. Nuclear safeguards 
1.11. Transport of nuclear goods and materials

Aspect Group 2: Technology
2.1. Nuclear power plant and other facility design principles
2.2. Nuclear power plant/facility operational systems
2.3. Nuclear power plant/facility life management
2.4. Nuclear facility maintenance processes and programmes
2.5. Systems engineering for nuclear facilities
2.6. Nuclear safety principles and analysis
2.7. Radiological safety and protection
2.8. Nuclear reactor physics and reactivity management
2.9. Nuclear fuel cycle technologies
2.10. Radioactive waste management and disposal
2.11. Nuclear power plant/facility decommissioning
2.12. Nuclear environmental protection, monitoring and remediation
2.13. Nuclear R&D and innovation management
2.14. Application of nuclear science

Aspect Group 3: Management
3.1. Nuclear engineering project management
3.2. Management systems in nuclear organisations
3.4. Organisational human resource management and development
3.5. Organisational behaviour
3.6. Financial management and cost control in nuclear
3.7. Information and records management in nuclear
3.8. Training and human performance management in nuclear organisations
3.9. Performance monitoring and organisation improvement
3.10. Nuclear quality assurance programmes
3.11. Procurement and supplier management in nuclear organisation
3.12. Nuclear safety management, risk informed decision making
3.13. Nuclear incident management, emergency planning and response
3.14. Operating experience feedback and corrective action processes
3.15. Nuclear security programme management
3.16. Nuclear safety culture
3.17. Nuclear events and lessons learned
3.18. Nuclear knowledge management

Aspect Group 4: Leadership
4.1. Strategic leadership
4.2. Ethics and values of a high standard
4.3. Communication strategies for leaders in nuclear
4.4. Leading change in nuclear organizations

Each of the competencies are assigned a level of 0 – 3 to show the depth of proficiency of the students entering and exiting the NTM programme. These levels are a combination of three dimensions, Knowledge, Demonstration and Implementation.

Knowledge can be summarised as simply remembering previously learned material and therefore building a compendium of knowledge. Demonstration is the skill of knowing how to use the knowledge. Implementation is the skill of knowing when to use the knowledge. The combination of Knowledge, Demonstration and Implementation required for each level is shown in Table 1. 


Levels Required in Each Competency Dimension




Level 0 (no competency)




Level 1 (introductory)



0 - 1

Level 2 (intermediate)



1 - 2

Level 3 (advanced)



2 - 3

Table 1: Definition of Learning Outcome Competency Levels by Competency Dimension

The number of hours of study to complete a science or engineering master's programme is typically 1800 to 2400. To achieve the nuclear technology management professional designation, it is expected that the student will have to complete around 4000 hours of study, which ensures that there is a large component of experiential learning and/or on the job training as well as the master's qualification. The balance of competencies between each of the Aspects Groups is shown in Table 2.

Aspect Group

Approximate Range of Learning Hours

External Environment

150 - 450


450 - 750


300 - 750


150 - 300

Master’s Project and Dissertation

300 - 600

Experiential Component

600 - 1200

Table 2: The Recommended Breakdown of the Total Learning Hours Required for a Nuclear Technology Management Professional

The university should consider the resources available within its own faculties, partner universities if delivering the programme as a consortium and crucially within partner companies. Industry support is vital as that is where the experience of managing nuclear facilities will predominantly reside.

INMA has established an endorsement process to ensure that the university NTM programmes comply with the INMA requirements. To initiate the endorsement process, a university contacts the IAEA to express interest in establishing a master's programme in nuclear technology management. The first step in the endorsement process is to arrange an initial Assist Visit by a team of experts assembled by the IAEA to ascertain whether a university has the capability to deliver a full NTM programme, and if not advise on the steps that need to be taken. INMA Members share learning materials that can be used to support the establishment and delivery of NTM programmes on the Cyber Learning Platform for Network Education and Training (CLP4NET). The Assist Visit will also take into consideration the national and university policy regarding nuclear energy and education to understand whether the NTM programme would be sustainable.

If the university decides to go ahead with the establishment of an NTM programme following the Assist Visit, a Cooperation Agreement with the IAEA will be agreed. This ensures that the IAEA, university and expert team assembled for the endorsement are able to commit resources to the process. A self-assessment system has been designed by INMA to allow universities to provide a detailed quantitative and qualitative analysis of their programme. It provides information on:

  • Summary of the programme;
  • Details of each mandatory and elective course;
  • National policy and university strategy for the implementation of NTM programmes;
  • Predicted outcomes of the programme;
  • Details on collaboration with industry;
  • Details on collaboration with national and international partners.

This analysis produces an Information Package, which is submitted to the IAEA for review and guides the selection of the Expert Team for the final peer review assessment mission. The members identified by the IAEA for the Expert Team may depend on any specialism of the course, examples could include:

  • Operation and maintenance of licensed nuclear plants/facilities; 

  • International nuclear build projects (new build and refurbishment);
  • Nuclear technology research, design & development; 

  • Decommissioning and environmental remediation. 

The final peer review assessment mission can then be arranged which can take up to five days depending on the programme(s) to be reviewed. The mission will typically:

  • Assist the university on the detailed requirements and plans for implementation of their NTM programme;
  • Compare the university's NTM programme with the INMA common requirements and discuss the strengths and any possible weaknesses; 

  • Identify best practices related to the implementation of INMA programmes that can be shared with other INMA members; 

  • Provide feedback on how to further improve or strengthen the programme, as well as the overall INMA framework 

After the completion of the final peer review assessment mission the Expert Panel compiles a report that will include recommendations to the university on their NTM programme and to the IAEA on the overall INMA framework.
If the final report of final peer review assessment mission is positive, then the university can be recommended to become a Full Member of the International Nuclear Management Academy.

All the universities so far assessed offer a unique version of an NTM course, some are part-time, some are full-time over one or two years. There is also a spectrum of the balance between technology and management competencies that are included to reflect the needs of the local stakeholders.

Improving the standard of management within the nuclear industry will enhance the safety as well as other benefits, such as greater efficiency, better economics, the recruitment and retention of higher quality staff and wider acceptance of nuclear energy for the safe, secure and economic production of electricity, as well as nuclear energy utilization beyond electricity. INMA supports all of these objectives.

The International Nuclear Management Academy has attracted many universities that see nuclear technology management as a key requirement for a successful nuclear industry. In close cooperation with industry, NTM programmes have now been established around the world. INMA provides support for the establishment and sustainable delivery of these programmes through an increasing number of member universities, where NTM has become a core part of their nuclear education programme.