OREANDA-NEWS. August 11, 2016. INI 2016 Fellows visiting the heat exchangers for the Massachusetts Green High Performance Computing Centre in Holyoke, MA (Photo: S. K. Aghara/USA)

The programme included trips to the Pilgrim nuclear power plant in Plymouth, Massachusetts, the Seabrook nuclear power plant in New Hampshire and the Temelin Nuclear Power Station in the Czech Republic, where participants got a closer look at the operation of nuclear power plants.

“INI 2016 was not just another training programme,” said Ebru Ekici, a fellow from the Turkish Atomic Energy Authority. “It is a wealth of experience that we gained from lectures, site visits and mentored group projects.”

The fellows also had the opportunity to visit the grid control centre in the ISO New England Facility in Holyoke, where they gained insight into the function of the grid system and its importance for the operation of nuclear generating units. Moreover, they attended policy discussions at the Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Centre and visited the MIT Test Reactor.

“The unique nature of the INI programme, combining classroom learning with practical experience, helps to develop students’ higher cognitive skills, which is key to developing future industry leaders in their fields,” said David Drury, Technical Head for Management and Human Resources at IAEA’s Nuclear Energy Department. “The programme really helps in preparing the minds that will contribute to safe, effective and sustainable nuclear power programmes.”

Networking across the Atlantic

Engaging with peers and staying connected was an integral part of the INI experience. Participants said the fellowship was an opportunity for them to better understand the different global perspectives and conversations on the nuclear industry.

“It was amazing to see how people from various backgrounds viewed the same topic differently,” said Barbara Basarabova, a Ph.D. student at the Czech Technical University in Prague. “But I could also see the potential of communication and dialogue, how by working together, we can solve problems.”

INI’s organizers are considering expanding the programme beyond Europe, according to Martin Krause, Director of the Europe Division at IAEA’s Department of Technical Cooperation. Speaking at INI’s closing ceremony at UML, Krause said the feedback received on INI 2016 shows that the programme “has once again succeeded at creating enthusiasm, forging friendships and enhancing knowledge among young professionals of the nuclear industry network.”