Anthony Musa, NPTS ’17

Nuclear Research Reactor Practicum with Czech Technical University in Prague

This January (2017) I had the opportunity to attend the first Nuclear Research Reactor Practicum offered by the Middlebury Institute and the Czech Technical University in Prague. I had the experience, conduct experiments on the research reactor, go on site visits, and view different cultural exhibits in Prague. Also, I was fortunate to visit the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna, Austria.

In the course, I worked with scientific experts to understand the technology behind nuclear research reactors and gain a stronger understanding of the reactor operation, the nuclear fuel cycle, radioactive decay and the preparation of radionuclides in a research reactor. There are several main components of the research reactor that I didn’t understand before taking the course, primarily, how it can be utilized in nuclear forensics and the tools experts can use to identify how much of an isotope exists.

Also, I benefited from the talent of the MIIS staff specifically Dr. Moore and Joe Brazda assisting with the completion of the course. The staff at Czech Technical University were extremely helpful as well and alleviated my personal difficulties with understanding science. There were many areas where I gained a new knowledge of the technical problems with reactors, and I believe this course assisted with the primary problem I have with building a strong understanding of scientific problems. 

I highly recommend the course to any NPTS student who is seeking a more thorough scientific education to couple with the knowledge gained during the Science and Tech. I believe that the course builds a unique understanding of nuclear reactors that cannot be acquired in the classroom. Further, I believe the ability to work directly with the components is a requirement towards future work with nuclear reactors or understanding the process of nuclear energy generation. The coursework was exciting, challenging and perhaps was one of the best classes I have taken at MIIS.

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