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"In prospect we are planning new training programs of radiation ecology and radiochemistry," said Alexander Martyniuk, SPC Doza


22.07.2022

The scientific portal "Atomic Energy 2.0" presents a special interview with Alexander Martyniuk, Development Director of SPC Doza, about educational activities and future development of the Safety and Control Training Centre, which celebrated its 15th anniversary in 2022.

– Alexander, congratulations to your Educational and Methodological Centre "Control and Security" on the 15th anniversary! What professional results do you celebrate this anniversary with?

– Thank you for your congratulations. 15 years is a huge period that has passed like one day in an interesting job. During this time, more than 12 thousand students have improved their qualifications, and quite recently we have issued the 1000th diploma of professional retraining. If opinion of lots of students is to be trusted, our courses are the best in Russia in the radiation monitoring field both in terms of quality of knowledge provided and the organizational level.

– How was the training centre created and why did the management of SPC Doza decide to engage in educational activities?

– In fact, we had started training much earlier, since 1994. Reasons were very simple – as soon as we started communicating with the users of the radiation monitoring equipment we produce, we faced the fact that most of them have very vague ideas about radiation and how to measure it. The time was dynamic. After the Chernobyl disaster, a powerful wave of radiophobia arose, new regulatory documents were issued, and a lot of departments began to create laboratories that were supposed to monitor the content of radionuclides, first of all cesium-137 and strontium-90, in various objects: soil, water, food, wood, etc. As a result, there was a serious shortage of equipment. There were also no personnel who could work with it, correctly interpret the measurement results. In addition, it coincided with the wave of computerization and the advent of powerful processors. New instruments began to be created quickly, new measurement opportunities arose – and this also had to be taught. Do not forget about responsibility – any engineer conducting a measurement could make a mistake with the method of measurement or interpretation of the results – and then a scandal with sensational articles in media began. After discussing this situation, we took a decision about necessity of dealing with mass education. For the same purposes, around the same time we started to put out a scientific journal "ANRI".

It has to be said that an interest in studying was huge, although then documents or diplomas on advanced training were nowhere to be required. It was to learn how to work with the devices, ask questions of interest, discuss common problems with colleagues that people came. In no time the number of applicants exceeded our capabilities, and gradually the rules were developed – to conduct 4 training courses per year, no more than 100 people at a time. Then, in the early 2000s, we began to conduct travelling courses, including in the south, near Tuapse. I still remember the courses of those years with great pleasure, there were so many wishes and creativity, new ideas and approaches!

Safety and Control Training Centre (SCTC) as a separate legal entity was established in 2007, after requirements were introduced that educational activities cannot be combined with other business types. By that time everything was already clear with the curriculum, organization of process and personnel. Lyudmila Ermilova, who had already had an extensive experience in organizing the training work, was appointed to SCTC Director, so everything went off without a hitch.

– Have there been any innovations in the SCTC work for the last few years? What educational approaches do you use at Centre?

Perhaps, the most important of the innovations is a distance learning format, which we have put into practice since 2018. At first, there were not so many people willing to learn online, 15-20% of total amount, but then Covid burst out and distance learning became the only possible. Now that the pandemic, I hope, is over, many people are in no hurry to return to full–time educational format, because it is cheaper and easier to learn online. However, we believe that live communication, opportunity to discuss various issues face to face, is more useful and effective. And certainly nothing will replace it if you need to learn how to work with devices. Now there is a gradual return to the full-time format of education, but it can hardly be expected that it will become dominant.

– Which training programs are the most popular? What is behind their success, and why are they vital today?

– Traditionally, our basic course "Radiation safety and radiation monitoring" is in demand most of all. The course program has been improved for a long time taking into account the wishes of students and it has an established look now. However, as new regulatory documents are released or new directions arise, we make the necessary adjustments to maintain its topicality. Radiation safety is a basis of any work with ionizing radiation sources, so this issue is eternal. In addition, we provide training in the measurement of physical factors, radiation metrology, quality control of medical devices and a number of other more specific areas. Sometimes we adjust the program depending on the wishes of customers.

– What difficulties arise in Centre’s work? How do you overcome them?

– Probably the main problem is an availability of license for educational activities. Our state, which is usually so strict in many matters, looks at educational activities very liberally. It is very easy to get an indefinite license (and for any educational activity, regardless of specific areas), and for three years you will not be tormented by any checks. And three years later you can just bury the old company, and open a new one – for another three years. Many do so. As a result, surprising situations arise, especially at electronic auctions for educational services. For example, recently one of the nuclear power plants announced an auction for distance learning (professional retraining) of 28 people in the specialty "Radiation safety and radiation monitoring". The starting auction price is 504,000 roubles. As a result, after a long auction a company won that offered a price of 22,798 roubles – a little more than 800 roubles per person! You understand that this is profanation, don’t you? Indeed it is impossible to professionally train a person for that price according to a 250-hour program. Not to mention that it is NPP personnel that should be trained, for whom the topic of radiation safety is of vital importance. What are we going to?

We see a partial solution of this problem in the full–time training format; to organize it a distance learning portal with outdated data is not enough, you need live professional teachers and real equipment, all this greatly reduces the number of those who wants to "teach". But this, of course, does not solve the problem, which is by and large a state problem.

– Does the scientific and production base of SPC Doza help in Centre’s activities? Please, tell us how an interaction with the parent company is built.

– Of course, SCTC has a strong support of its founder, SPC Doza. We strive for the same goals, but only use different tools. The leading employees of Doza give lectures at courses and workshops, the company provides devices necessary for training, renders technical support. In its turn, SCTC familiarizes students with the enterprise, with the main products of Doza, provides feedback of the users of our devices.

– How do you see the future of the Safety and Control Training Centre in another 15 years? What development tasks are you planning to fulf

– In prospect we would like to open new training directions adjacent to those we are currently engaged in. For example, radiation ecology, or, more broadly, the whole ecology. Or such a specific field as radiochemistry. In principle we have almost everything for it, we only have to finalize the programs and commence the real advancement. I would like it very much to stand Rosatom SC in good stead in terms of training– the main difficulties here are caused by the fact that we are outside its contour. But now Doza is one of the main suppliers of equipment for this corporation, and training Rosatom employees directly by the device developers would be very useful and effective.

– Прежде всего, я хотел бы поблагодарить наших слушателей за внимание и доброе отношение. Многие из тех, кто учился на курсах, приезжают к нам снова и снова, становятся добрыми друзьями. По закону, повышение квалификации необходимо проводить каждые три года, и это правильно – процесс образования должен быть непрерывным, все время что-то меняется, появляются новые приборы и документы. Да и вообще, как говорил Генри Форд, когда ты учишься, ты всегда остаешься молодым и прогрессивным. Чего я и желаю нашим слушателям.

Source: Atomic Energy 2.0