Margaret Arno, NPTS ’17

Nuclear Research Reactor Practicum with Czech Technical University in Prague

January 16 – January 27, 2017

My experience participating in the Middlebury Institute of International Studies’ nuclear research reactor practicum at the Czech Technical University was great for delving more into the technological side of nuclear and nonproliferation topics – whether it was learning a little more about physics or how a reactor works.  It really helped put a lot of the issues we talk about at MIIS in context.  The students that participated mostly took this seriously and did not shy away from topics which made a great environment for learning.  The professionals and professors at the Czech Technical University were very nice and patient with all of the questions asked by policy students.
Besides the lectures, the tours provided were interesting.  I very much enjoyed the tour of the Temelin nuclear power plant, one of the Czech Republic’s two power plants.  We got to see a control room simulator which looked like it came out of a movie from the seventies or an early episode of the Simpsons.  The program also involved cultural activities, such as a tour of the Prague Castle and of the Pilsner Urquell brewery.  I really liked how these were incorporated into the program.

Overall, I would recommend this practicum for students who wish to gain a more in-depth understanding of technological aspects of nuclear research reactors.  I am very glad I participated in this program.

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