TACLOBAN CITY-Pamela Eyre Victoria Lira, a 20-year-old Geology student from Alangalang town in Leyte, represented the Philippines as a special youth panelist during the “International Conference on a Decade of Progress after Fukushima-Daiichi: Building on the Lessons Learned to Further Strengthen Nuclear Safety” at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) headquarters in Vienna, Austria on November 8 to 12, 2021.
“I was the youngest not only among the youth panelists but in the entire conference too,” said Lira, a member of the University of the Philippines (UP)-Geological Society in Diliman, Quezon City.
Lira said that out of almost 300 entries across the globe, only 30 young professionals up to age 30 were invited to join the conference, citing the “high-quality work” of the participants.
“Together we had an intense discussion on what important point we should include in the conference’s Call of Action report, and my arguments on incorporating nuclear energy in inclusive education plus trust in nuclear authorities were agreed on together,” said Lira, while thanking the support from her family, friends, university, and the Philippine Nuclear Research Institute (PNRI) of the Department of Science and Technology.
During the conference, Lira also had the opportunity to speak in front of global leaders and high-level experts.
She was able to join the conference after her essay entitled “Decontaminate, Transmutate, Irradiate: Challenges in Refining the Public’s Image of Nuclear Energy” was selected by IAEA in September 2021.
In a statement, IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi said that “involving the youth in today’s discussions is important to reinforce that this is not a retrospective conversation on nuclear safety but on planning for the future and ensuring that nuclear safety continues to be a critical component of the nuclear dialogue.”
“You are the ones who are going to be taking charge of international and national safety operations. The way to best support that effort is to give you an opportunity to express your ideas, and that is why we organized this competition — to give you an opportunity to reflect and put your ideas and vision on paper,” Grossi told the participants during the conference.