PRAGUE NUCLEAR RESEARCH PRACTICUM
Nuclear Research Reactor Practicum, a two-week program designed by MIIS in collaboration with the Czech Technical University (CTU), was one of the most exciting and well-rounded educational experiences in my entire life. Through the courses taken at MGIMO and MIIS I was already familiar with the basics of nuclear reactor processes, nuclear fuel cycle, safety and security in nuclear facilities, and safeguards. That knowledge, however, was strictly theoretical. Being part of the nuclear research reactor practicum was an enormous learning opportunity for me; I believe this training had placed me into more advantageous position among the future nonproliferation specialists.
Our program in Prague started with a welcome dinner, where we were introduced to the CTU faculty. The next few days were filled with lectures and the introductory tour of the nuclear research reactor facility. Theoretical presentations and discussions were followed by lab work, including neutron detection exercises, radiation detection and principles of radiation protection. Perhaps, the most anticipated hands-on activity was operating the research reactor, scheduled towards the end of the course.
Throughout the two weeks in Prague, we also had a few field trips, including Temelin Nuclear Power Plant, SKODA Skoda’s Nuclear Machinery manufacturing facility, National Radiation Protection Institute, and experimental “Golem” fusion reactor at the University. All these visits were accompanied with extensive presentations and lectures given by the leading specialists in the field. Not only we had a chance to visit restricted sites, we had an opportunity to interact with and get invaluable insights from the experts.
Training and hands-on practice at the nuclear research reactor facility turned out to be the most influential experience from the learning point of view and an excellent addition to my resume. I also hope that such scientific training will positively augment my policy-centered degree and differentiate my candidacy in the future. I believe this practicum should be mandatory for all policy students concentrating on nuclear issues; it would certainly help to narrow the gap between the scientists and policy makers.