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Argentinian Research Reactor to Serve as Hub for IAEA's Internet Reactor Laboratory Project in Latin America


Pablo Cantero of the CNEA demonstrates to university professors how the Internet Reactor Laboratory project will work, Bariloche, 21 September 2015. (Photo: CNEA) 

As part of the IAEA’s Internet Reactor Laboratory (IRL) project, the Argentinian RA-6 research reactor is ready to transmit experiments to students in other countries who otherwise would not have such access to reactor technology.

An orientation workshop held late last month marked the end of the development phase of the project, under which the RA-6 research reactor of the National Atomic Energy Commission (CNEA) at the Centro Atómico Bariloche (CAB) will serve as the hub for the IRL in Latin America. Institutions from the region will be able to participate in remote reactor experiments starting in 2016.

Nuclear education and training is an indispensable aspect of human resource development, which the IAEA supports through IAEA regular budget, extrabudgetary contributions (Peaceful Use Initiative funds provided by the USA Department of State) and technical cooperation programmes. The IRL will give access to practical research reactor experiments to institutions in states without research reactor facilities, thus enhancing academic education in nuclear engineering and physics.

The IRL project in Latin America was called for in an agreement between the IAEA and CNEA that promotes the utilization of research reactors for nuclear education in the region. The workshop conducted in Bariloche from 21 to 25 September provided training for professors that will be conducting the remote experiments at their universities. Participants also shared information on the academic curricula of the participating institutions and best practices for remote experiments to be integrated in the curricula.

"Beginning in 2016, we plan to conduct six virtual experiments per year with guest universities," said Pablo Cantero, responsible for this project at the CNEA.

Institutions interested in participating in the IRL project in Latin America include the National Polytechnic School in Ecuador, the National University of Colombia, the Higher University of San Andrés in Bolivia, the Higher Institute of Technologies and Applied Sciences in Cuba, the University of the Basque Country and the Polytechnic University of Madrid in Spain.

Last update: 27 Jul 2017

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