Latin American Network for Education in Nuclear Technology


New LANENT Authorities for the Period 2014-2016

New president and vicepresident lanent

During the last meeting of LANENT held in Cuernavaca, Mexico, the representatives of LANENT Member States chose the new authorities for the period 2014-2016. Dr. Juan Luis François, from the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM, Mexico) was appointed as President of LANENT and Dr. Aucyone Augusto da Silva, from the Institute of Radioprotection and Dosimetry of the Brazilian National Nuclear Energy Commission, was appointed as Vice-President of the network.

The new President, Juan Luis François, holds a degree in Engineering in Energy from the Mexican Metropolitan Autonomous University, another degree in Nuclear Engineering from the Institut national des sciences et techniques nucléaires (INSTN) and a Doctorate in Physical Sciences specialized in Physics of Nuclear Reactors at the University of Paris, Université Paris Sud XI – Orsay.

Currently, Mr François is a full-time Lecturer and Chair at the School of Engineering at UNAM and a full member of the Mexican Engineering Academy, the Mexican Academy of Sciences, the International Nuclear Energy Academy (INEA) and the International Committee of the American Nuclear Society, among other memberships. As a professor, he has lectured in different subjects at postgraduate courses and he has directed dozens of theses of master’s degrees, postgraduate courses and doctorate degrees, all of which gave him a wide experience in training of human resources in the nuclear area. Likewise, Mr François has participated and leaded different research projects in the field of nuclear energy and he has over 40 research papers in indexed publications.

Aucyone Augusto da Silva is a graduate in Physics from the Brazilian University Universidade Federale do Rio de Janeiro, he holds a degree in Nuclear Engineering from the same Brazilian University, and he holds a doctorate in Nuclear Engineering from the University of Tennessee. Currently, he is the Main Technologist III at the Brazilian National Nuclear Energy Commission, Dean and the Director General at the Teaching Centre and Institute of Radiation Protection and Dosimetry/IAEA Training. He has ample experience in the educational area, with emphasis on Educational Technology and Distance Education.

In a brief interview with Dr François, President of LANENT, he expressed the following on the challenges, tasks and contribution of LANENT towards the community:

Which are the challenges or main tasks you deem important for the success of LANENT?

LANENT is on its first stages of development and advances towards its consolidation. In the three years and a half of its creation, LANENT has achieved tangible results in terms of infrastructure, such as the implementation of an interregional database with information of interest for the educational community; the development and launching of a website used to exchange and spread information; the production of educational material; training courses; the development of an educational portal; purchase of equipment and IT tools for the preservation of knowledge; and the strengthening of the interrelation with other similar networks.

The first steps were taken and, we must mention, that we did that with the essential support of the International Atomic Energy Agency; however we still have much work to do. From my point of view, the challenges or main tasks which are important for the success of LANENT are related to the strengthening and capitalization of the infrastructure we have been able to build over these years. In other words, it is necessary to continue working hard to obtain measurable results in actions such as the following:

Incorporate new organisations, and even new countries, into LANENT in such a way that our “critical mass” increases.

Provide content to the interregional database with useful information for every LANENT member, other regional networks and the general public. This action entails commitment and participation by member institutions from the network.

Keep and update our website as a link between the members of the network and the general public.

Produce high quality educational material in terms of technical and pedagogical matters.

Continue with training courses of interest for the members of the network.

Turn the educational portal into a reality and in order to achieve this, e-learning courses must be implemented in different areas of the nuclear energy (reactors, medical physics, radioprotection, energy planning, and so on) and in different modalities: distance learning with an instructor, self-learning, discussion forums, and so on.

Keep and strengthen our relations with other networks.

As may be appreciated, there are plenty of activities ahead to achieve the success of our network.

How can you visualize the future contribution of LANENT towards the community?

I consider it essential that with the passing of time, LANENT becomes a point of reference in terms of nuclear energy topics for different sectors of the community in the Latin American and the Caribbean region. Our mandate encourages us to “promote, manage and preserve nuclear knowledge and to help guarantee the permanent availability of qualified human resources in the nuclear field in Latin America and the Caribbean, as well as to strengthen the quality of its human capacities for sustainable nuclear technology.” This will be achieved by means of education, training and spreading. Without any doubts, it is a big challenge.

I consider that our job and our efforts must be focused on meeting this mandate. As long as we achieve this mandate, the contribution of our network towards the community will be valuable and highly significant. Many sectors of society will benefit from the activity of LANENT: young students will find available information in our website and our educational portal which will attract them to do studies related to the nuclear energy. Students from the nuclear areas will be able to find educational material that helps and/or completes their education, exchange opportunities, research topics to do a doctorate, and so on. Teachers will be able to exchange educational material, create and/or access courses on their field of teaching, etc. For example, technicians who work in applications with radioactive materials will have access to training courses to help them improve their daily work. The general public will find information to spread which will be useful to have a more informed opinion of benefits and risks of nuclear energy.  

These are some examples of my view of LANENT. To achieve all this, we will have to work hard in a sustainable manner.