Black Sea Women in Nuclear (BSWN) and Women in Nuclear Central Asia (WINCA) Networks Technical Exchange Visit

Black Sea Women in Nuclear (BSWN) and Women in Nuclear Central Asia (WINCA) Networks participated in a technical exchange visit to the United States on April 2-12, 2024.

The visit was organized by the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies (CNS), Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey (MIIS) and Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) and supported by  the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration’s (DOE/NNSA) International Nuclear Security Office and Nuclear Security Women Initiative (NSW).

The visit was divided into two modules: Washington, DC module on April 2-6 and New Mexico module on April 7-13.

The Washington, DC module included a series of briefings with U.S. government officials and the NGO community, and it was hosted by the CNS office in DC.

In Washington, DC the delegation had the opportunity to talk in person or virtually with representatives from CNS/MIIS, LANL, Stimson Center, Women in International Security (WIIS), Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI), CRDF Global, DOE/NNSA (Office of Global Material Security), International Nuclear Security (INS),  Office of Radiological Security (ORS), Nuclear Smuggling Detection and Deterrence (NSDD), American Nuclear Society, INS Nuclear Security Women Initiative, DOE/NNSA Women in Strategic Trade Initiative, Institute of Nuclear Material Management Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Accessibility Committee and the U.S. Department of State.

Both networks shared their status updates through the voices of Nataliia Klos, President of BSWN and Zarina Saifyeva, WINCA Coordinator. BSWN General Secretary Madalina Stefanic shared her experience of establishing and running a very successful mentorship program. 

Members of BSWN and WINCA also gave presentations about their countries / organization’s activities, focusing on advancing women in nuclear security and related fields.

In appreciation, the BSWN delegation had the honor to express their gratitude to the most ardent supporters and sponsors  from the U.S.: Margarita Kalinina-Pohl (CNS), Olga Martin (LANL), and Christine Bent (DOE/NNSA Global Material Security).  “We are grateful for your unwavering encouragement, generous support and continuous empowerment in connecting women, leading change and creating waves of equality, inclusion and diversity in the nuclear field” was the message addressed to them! 

During the second part of the BSWN-WINCA Technical Visit to the U.S., the group headed to New Mexico. The New Mexico module  included visits to Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) and Sandia National Labs (SNL), as well as a diverse cultural program to get to know the region and its history better.

The program at LANL on April 8-9 included the overview of lab work focusing on Nuclear Security Programs, Safeguards, and Security Technology Training Center tour, an overview of LANL Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility (DEIA) Programs. The program also featured  working lunches with LANL early-career Women in STEM,  nuclear security experts and nuclear engineering division leadership, a tour of Manhattan Historical Park and  Bradbury Science Museum with focus on LANL nuclear security programs and women in science.

The program at SNL from April 10 to 11 included the Technology Training and Demonstration (TTD) Tour, National Security Technology Gallery Tour, Mod/Simulation Overview and Capabilities, working lunches with SNL experts and a visit to the Museum of Nuclear Science Albuquerque.

We thank the teams of respective National Laboratories for hosting our members and giving them a chance to have an insightful view of working processes and gender parity at LANL and SNL.

An experience to always remember!

Materials prepared by Madalina Stefanic and Yelyzaveta Khodorovska