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 session.
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 this internship.”
Aoki returned to Japan in November. NSSPI wishes him all the best as he completes his Ph.D. and starts his career.