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ORNL hosts World Nuclear University Summer Institute Assembly alumni

Attendees represent future leaders in nuclear technology field

 

ORNL's Kevin Smith describes the High Flux Isotope Reactor's operations to WNU Summer Institute Alumni Assembly attendees.ORNL's Kevin Smith describes the High Flux Isotope Reactor's operations to WNU Summer Institute Alumni Assembly attendees. (hi-res image)

The Department of Energy and Oak Ridge National Laboratory are hosting the World Nuclear University (WNU) Summer Institute Alumni Assembly this week at the ORNL Conference Center and around the laboratory.

The WNU's Summer Institute, held annually at the Christ Church college at England's Oxford University, is an intensive six-week program for selected early career nuclear professionals and future leaders that promotes leadership and best practices across all facets of the nuclear industry.

This week's meeting is a gathering of past WNU Summer Institute attendees. The agenda includes DOE Assistant Secretary for Nuclear Energy Pete Lyons, WNU President Patricia Wieland, Nuclear Regulatory Commissioner William Magwood, Department of State Assistant Secretary for International Security and Nonproliferation Thomas Countryman and presenters representing the nations of Japan, China, Nigeria, Brazil, Canada, the Netherlands, Sweden and the United States. The slate also includes training sessions and tours.

ORNL Director Thom Mason welcomed the international group, considered to be potential future leaders in the nuclear field, on Monday, followed by invited leader presentations by Lyons, Wieland and USEC Vice President Robert van Namen.

The WNU program includes exposure to current leaders and decision makers, peer-to-peer engagement, and interactive presentations that highlight the issues facing the global community. Subjects covered span global environment and sustainable development, nuclear-related technology innovation, nuclear diplomacy, and nuclear operations.

The week's ORNL conference also features breakout sessions, including Tuesday's overview and tour of the High Flux Isotope Reactor (HFIR) and discussion of common challenges related to operations of research and power reactors.

Kevin Smith of HFIR gave the audience -- composed of a number of young representatives from nuclear facilities in the United States and abroad -- an overview of the facility, emphasizing the importance of safety in all aspects of operations.

Explaining that HFIR is a research reactor as opposed to a power reactor, Smith noted HFIR has a number of capabilities to conduct different types of material research in addition to producing radioisotopes.

Tuesday's program also included a discussion of the National Research Universal Reactor in Ontario, Canada, where comparisons with HFIR were noted, including the ages and relatively rural settings of the two facilities.

By midweek attendees expressed appreciation for the opportunity to experience ORNL's unique nuclear facilities, particularly HFIR and the isotope processing facilities, and for the program's inclusion of training sessions.

The WNU Summer Institute Alumni Assembly continues through Friday, April 4.

 -  Bill Cabage,  865.574.4399,  April 02, 2014
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