NSSPI hosts third annual academic exchange with Tokyo Institute of Technology

October 26, 2015
| By: Kelley Ragusa

From Sept.21-23, the Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station’s (TEES) Nuclear Security Science and Policy Institute (NSSPI) hosted students and faculty from the Tokyo Institute of Technology for the third annual academic exchange held at Texas A&M University between students from Texas A&M and the DOJO Nuclear Security Education Program at Tokyo Tech who are studying nuclear nonproliferation and security issues. The team from Tokyo Tech consisted of seven students, two faculty members and two staff members.

On the first day, students from the two universities participated in group discussions over current nuclear issues. The topics covered were: 1) Learning from Fukushima and Three Mile Island; 2) Communicating with the Public as a Nuclear Community; and 3) Iran Deal or No Deal: Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. The discussions culminated in each group developing a presentation that was given at that evening's meeting of the Texas A&M student chapter of the Institute of Nuclear Materials Management.

The following day, NSSPI's Radiological Emergency Response Research Group lead a field exercise for the visiting students at the Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service’s (TEEX) Disaster City training facility. Working with NSSPI students, the Tokyo Tech students used vehicle detection systems, health physics instrumentation, personal radiation detectors and radio-isotope identification devices to execute a consequence mission. Students were asked to locate, identify and map radiation areas around the Disaster City Rubble Pile 1 (RP1) prop using a 30 mCi Cs-137 source. Once they identified a low radiation entry point, students entered the RP1 tunnel system in teams to locate and identify sealed radioactive sources that had been hidden within the pile. This exercise was meant to provide student hands-on experience with field detector systems and executing a field mission safely as a team.

The group also toured various other facilities at Texas A&M, including the TRIGA research reactor at the Nuclear Science Center, the TEEX Brayton Fire Training Field, the Thermal Hydraulics Laboratory, the Simulator Laboratory, and the NSSPI Nuclear Security, Nuclear Forensics and Emergency Response Laboratories.

This exchange is part of a larger program of cooperation between Toyko Tech and Texas A&M-NSSPI. Texas A&M students have previously attended three international symposia on nuclear safety, security and safeguards conducted by Tokyo Tech in Japan. Plans are also underway for Tokyo Tech to sign a Memorandum of Understanding with TEES, NSSPI and the Department of Nuclear Engineering, and for NSSPI to host Tokyo Tech graduate students as interns in the near future.

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