Takeshi Aoki, a second year Ph.D. student at the Tokyo Institute
of Technology (Tokyo Tech) in Japan, has been working with the
Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station (TEES) Nuclear
Security Science and Policy Institute (NSSPI) as a visiting scholar
since January. He is a student in Tokyo Tech's DOJO Academy
for Global Nuclear Safety and Security Agent, a graduate program
and NSSPI peer organization led by Dr. Masaki Saito. Aoki came to
NSSPI as part of the Global Nuclear Internship in Foreign Countries
agreement between TEES and Tokyo Tech, which allows Ph.D. students
from Tokyo Tech to complete a research internship with NSSPI as
part of their degree requirements for the Dojo program. The
experience offers Japanese students an opportunity to interact with
nuclear security and safeguards researchers and students in the US
as they conduct research in this area.
When asked about his experience during the internship, Aoiki
remarks, "I experienced many differences in cultures, student life,
and living during my internship between Japan and [the] USA.
The experiences helped me to understand [the] USA and my home
country Japan subjectively."
While at NSSPI, Aoki worked with NSSPI Director Dr. Sunil
Chirayath on a project related to safeguards and security design in
advanced fuel cycle facilities. This is a continuation of the
work he had begun at Tokyo Tech under his adviser Dr. Hiroshi
Sagara. The project includes three main topics: a feasibility study
on TRISO fuel particles for efficient Pu incineration and 3S
features enhancement in high temperature gas-cooled reactors
(HTGR); a proliferation resistance evaluation of an advanced fuel
cycle employing HTGR; and material balance area design for the
transuranic fuel cycle employing HTGR. He presented papers on these
topics at three conferences: the 2016 Institute of Nuclear
Materials Management (INMM) Annual Meeting in Atlanta, Georgia, the
American Nuclear Society (ANS) Topical Meeting on Advances in
Nuclear Nonproliferation Technology and Policy in Santa Fe, New
Mexico, and the ANS Winter Meeting in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Aoki participated in regular research group meetings with other
NSSPI students and researchers working in the area of nuclear
security and risk analysis. He also attended a graduate-level class
on nuclear fuel cycles and nuclear material safeguards. He
notes that this class was "very informative" and will be "very
helpful for my professional development."
On October 14, Aoki made a presentation of his consolidated
research to NSSPI faculty, staff, and students. The
presentation was followed by discussions and a question-and-answer
Overall, Aoki says he appreciates the "great support of Dr.
Sunil Chirayath as my supervisor [who] helped me to get an
achievement in limited time" as well as "all who helped me a lot in
Aoki returned to Japan in November. NSSPI wishes him all the
best as he completes his Ph.D. and starts his career.