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A New Generation

By Kenzie Freeman, Communications Specialist, Institute of Nuclear Power Operations

Gio Montanes-DurandThere's a new generation in nuclear, but that's nothing new to Paola Giovanna Montanes-Durand, program specialist and peer coordinator at WANO Atlanta Centre, who is leading the WANO-AC Young Generation initiative. Last year, WANO's Young Generation (YG) initiative was chartered with the mission to create future leaders for safe and reliable operations of nuclear power plants and to increase the participation of the young generation at the site level.

Since then, Gio, as Montanes-Durand is familiarly called, has been working specifically to create a junior host peer position on WANO-AC peer review teams. "The idea is for young people to learn about the peer review process—in a hands-on way," said Gio. "They may have exposure to the procedural process, but many young generation haven't experienced it firsthand."

The WANO junior host peer program encourages stations to assign a junior host peer—not as an observer or to serve in an administrative function, but to have a participating role as a working part of the peer review team. "For example, the junior host peer might brief out a strength to the peer review team," explained Gio. It's a way to engage the young generation and to give them real experience with how the peer review process works at a station level."

The first junior host peer position was part of the peer review team for the WANO peer review at Darlington Nuclear Power Station that took place last May. A second junior host peer position was created on the team for the WANO peer review at Bruce A that will begin at the end of September 2016.

"As we continue to have the junior host peers participate on peer review teams, the desired outcome is really not only that the participants have a better understanding of the peer review process," said Gio, "but also that they share their learnings with the rest of their local NAYGN chapters."

Moving forward, Gio is working with the Institute of Nuclear Power Operations' NAYGN chapter to incorporate the junior host peer position in U.S. domestic peer reviews. "Another thing we'd really like to see in 2017," said Gio, "is to get the junior host peers involved in international technical support missions." Gio also said she's hoping to have the junior host peer position as a permanent position on peer review teams. "It's an exciting time to be a part of NAYGN," she said, "and we are seeing a strong response to the program that's really positive."