Prague Nuclear Reactor Practicum
Prior to going on the Nuclear Research Reactor Practicum, I knew the basics of what we are required to know in the NPTS program about how a nuclear reactor works. After two weeks of intensive lectures about the operation of a nuclear reactor and related topics, relevant site visits, and experiments on the VR-1 research reactor at Czech Technical University (CTU), I felt much more confident in the subject matter. By the end of the trip, I felt I could confidently speak on related topics and hold my own in a discussion on technical nuclear issues. The site visits were especially important in understanding the topics discussed in lectures. We got to visit the Temelin nuclear power plant, one of two in the Czech Republic, the GOLEM fusion reactor in old town Prague, and the Skoda facilities where they construct reactor components and spent fuel casks. This was an invaluable learning experience, and a fantastic opportunity to actually apply the theoretical knowledge gained in a lot of the required NPTS courses. In addition, the trip to the IAEA and the CTBTO on the final day of the program further reinforced how the technical knowledge gained at CTU could apply to a nonproliferation career.