NSSPI faculty and students traveled to Japan for the 5th International Symposium and Seminar on Global Nuclear Human Resource Development for Safety, Security, and Safeguards, which took place from February 21 – March 3. The annual event is hosted and organized by the Academy for Global Nuclear Safety and Security Agent at Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech), in cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency, the Japan Atomic Energy Agency, NSSPI, the Japan chapter of the Institute for Nuclear Materials Management, and the International Nuclear Research Collaboration Center at Tokyo Tech.
This year’s program focused on nuclear security and safeguards. NSSPI Director Dr. Sunil Chirayath gave a talk on nuclear security education at Texas A&M University and chaired a session on nuclear education and training. He also presented a video on the Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service (TEEX) Disaster City facility and the radiation exercises NSSPI regularly conducts there, featuring TEEX Training Coordinator Clint Arnett and Dr. Craig Marianno, NSSPI faculty and assistant professor of nuclear engineering. Dr. Richard MacNamee, NSSPI associate research scientist and senior lecturer at the Bush School of Government and Public Service, gave a lecture on the 5W’s of terrorism. Dr. Yassin Hassan, the head of the Texas A&M Department of Nuclear Engineering also attended the symposium on behalf of Texas A&M and gave an opening address along with Dr. Masaki Saito, the director of the Academy for Global Nuclear Safety and Security Agent at Tokyo Tech.
Two NSSPI masters students, Jarrod Allred and Grant Emery, were among the five students supported by the Texas A&M Department of Nuclear Engineering to attend the symposium. The students and young professionals at the symposium came from universities and organizations in the US, Japan, Lithuania, Malaysia, Korea, Indonesia, Vietnam, Russia, Austria, Slovenia, and Romania. They were divided into six different groups for the duration of the program with one representative from each organization or region in each group. They ate meals, traveled, and completed assignments in their groups. Allred remarked, “I enjoyed the new perspectives and learned a lot about international cultures and nuclear engineering education through this grouping scheme.”
The experience for students and young professionals also included various visits as part of a field trip that took them from Tokyo to the Aomori prefecture and back. They took environmental radiation measurements in Tokyo, visited the Rokkasho reprocessing plant and the Onagawa nuclear power plant, and then took radiation measurements in Fukushima. According to Allred, “One of the highlights of the trip was being able to visit the Rokkasho Nuclear Fuel Reprocessing Facility. During our tour we were able to view the used fuel storage pool, transportation casks, the vitrified waste storage facility, and the central control room. This provided an insightful perspective to the reprocessing operations.” The field trip also gave them the opportunity to experience many aspects of Japanese culture firsthand, from Japanese cuisine to the Nebuta Festival museum.
The symposium and seminar concluded with group discussions and presentations by each of the groups.