- The second 2023 cohort of the International Atomic Energy Agency’s Lise Meitner Programme was hosted by ORNL in October.
- Named after Meitner, a trail-blazing Austrian-Swedish physicist, the program provides early and mid‑career women professionals in the nuclear energy sector with opportunities to enhance their technical and communication skills.
- The program also focuses on content for women who work in nuclear-energy-related modeling and simulation and creates a cross-cultural, global community of professional women in nuclear energy.
The Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory hosted the second 2023 cohort of the International Atomic Energy Agency’s Lise Meitner Programme in October.
Named after trail-blazing Austrian-Swedish physicist Lise Meitner, the program provides early and mid‑career women professionals in the nuclear energy sector with opportunities to enhance their technical and communication skills and to create a cross-cultural, global community of professional women. The ORNL-hosted, DOE Office of Nuclear Energy-funded event focuses on content for women who work in nuclear-energy-related modeling and simulation.
“Participants of the IAEA Lise Meitner Programme, from 10 IAEA member states in this cohort, contribute to the success of nuclear energy in solving many of the world’s pressing issues,” said Tatjana Jevremovic, IAEA’s Lise Meitner Programme technical chair. “Women who follow in the steps of Lise Meitner are active actors in the development of nuclear science and technology, and we must enable their contributions.”
Aleshia Duncan, deputy assistant secretary for international nuclear energy policy and cooperation in DOE’s Office of Nuclear Energy, visited ORNL to signal strong support for IAEA’s program and to meet with the second 2023 cohort.
“Lise Meitner showed that one woman can change the future of nuclear science,” said Duncan. “I can’t wait to see what these 11 women participating in the IAEA Lise Meitner Programme will do. By offering an environment where professional women can forge long-standing networks, we are accelerating the future of innovation.”
The ORNL visit focus was on the Virtual Environment for Reactor Applications, or VERA, and the SCALE modeling and simulation suite. VERA simulates the operation of an entire reactor down to the characteristics of a single fuel rod. VERA represents the cutting edge in light-water-reactor modeling and simulation and can be used to solve a variety of reactor performance challenges. SCALE is a comprehensive modeling and simulation suite to perform reactor physics, criticality safety, radiation shielding and spent fuel characterization for nuclear facilities and transportation/storage package designs.
“ORNL’s integrated capabilities across the computational, nuclear power and neutron sciences made this a wonderful introduction for the class,” said Andrew Worrall, ORNL host and organizer, head of ORNL’s Integrated Fuel Cycle Section and deputy director for the Gateway for Accelerated Innovation in Nuclear, or GAIN, program. “It is a great privilege for ORNL to have the opportunity to support this esteemed program and assist in the professional development of women from around the world.”
The IAEA Lise Meitner Programme participants toured ORNL’s X-10 historic graphite reactor and the High Flux Isotope Reactor – which has the highest flux neutron flux in the world – to enable a real world understanding and appreciation of designing, operating and modeling a range of reactor types. They learned how modeling and simulation supports ORNL’s diverse mission space, ranging from nuclear fuels and materials testing to isotope production for space, medical and science applications.
ORNL will host the workshop through Friday, Oct. 20. Cohort members will then visit Idaho National Laboratory to continue the workshop, which will conclude on Friday, Oct. 27.
UT-Battelle manages ORNL for the Department of Energy’s Office of Science, the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States. The Office of Science is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, please visit energy.gov/science