Fresh Ideas from the World's Top Young Nuclear Professionals

Seventy-six of the world's best young brains in nuclear have packed their bags for Idaho Falls in the USA. Their destination, the World Nuclear University's first ever Summer Institute. Held at the Idaho National Laboratory from 9 July - 20 August, the world's top young nuclear professionals are tackling issues ranging from how to stem the spread of nuclear weapons and terrorism, to what solutions nuclear can provide to environmental crisis like climate change and clean water shortages.

In sessions this week, the WNU Summer Fellows presented group projects, the culmination of a month's work, fresh ideas and innovative, if at times controversial, thinking.

One team proposed the need for a World Nuclear Bank to tax countries with nuclear weapons for not disarming. "The more nuclear weapons they have, the more they pay," US Fellow David Barber said. The Bank would in turn channel these funds towards assisting developing countries to gain peaceful nuclear applications, or encouraging States to disarm.

Other presentations focused on ways to rollout cancer therapy treatment to the developing word. Among others, action plans to provide cancer patients in Mongolia and Ghana with treatment were presented. Other teams presented energy policy plans they have developed for countries including China, Indonesia, Slovakia, Germany and the US.

Averaging 30 years of age, the WNU Summer Fellows represent some 33 countries. Twenty-eight of the fellows are from less developed countries, and are attending the institute's six-week programme with financial backing from the IAEA. During the institute the Fellows attended lectures by internationally-renowned figures, known for their contributions to the development, politics and peaceful uses of nuclear science and technology.

They include Dr. Hans Blix, former Head of the IAEA; Patrick Moore, a founding member of Greenpeace; Susan Eisenhower; and Richard Hooper and Dimitri Perricos, veteran safeguards inspectors who were members of the Agency's Iraq inspectorate.

In coming days the Fellows will make a field trip to the Yucca Mountain site, earmarked as the US's first geological repository for the long-term disposal of spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste.

Last update: 18 November 2014