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IAEA, Florida International University Expand Cooperation on Decommissioning and Environmental Remediation


Turbine hall of the Ignalina Nuclear Power Plant before and during the dismantling process, 2016. (Photo: Ignalina NPP, Lithuania)

An agreement signed on Friday in Miami, Florida, will boost the cooperation between the IAEA and Florida International University (FIU) in science and technology research as well as capacity building in the fields of decommissioning and environmental remediation.

“As many nuclear facilities approach their retirement in the coming decades, having resources for their safe and effective decommissioning is of crucial importance. The same is true for environmental remediation of the sites after the decommissioning or other sites,” said Christophe Xerri, Director of the IAEA Division of Nuclear Fuel Cycle and Waste Technology, who signed the Practical Arrangements on behalf of the IAEA.

“This agreement will contribute to building those resources, through developing relevant training programmes and scientific material, including e-learning material in English and Spanish.”

The agreement also allows FIU to use IAEA material on decommissioning and environmental remediation as part of its curricula.

The IAEA and FIU agreed to exchange technical information, experience and best practices in radioactive waste management, soil and groundwater remediation, deactivation and decommissioning, and information technology for decommissioning and environmental remediation.

Through collaboration in training of students in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) and organization of internship programmes, the Practical Arrangements will facilitate human resources development in the field of decommissioning and environmental remediation. In addition, FIU will be invited to participate in the IAEA’s coordinated research projects that bring together institutions from all over the world to collaborate on research in areas of common interest.

“The STEM students who will be trained through this partnership represent the future generation of scientists and engineers that will bring the innovation needed to solve these very challenging technical issues,” said Dr Leonel Lagos, Director of Research for FIU’s Applied Research Center and technical contact for the IAEA/FIU Practical Arrangement.

The IAEA and FIU initiated cooperation several years ago, which included participation of FIU’s academic staff in some of IAEA activities and projects, as well as a one-year internship of an environmental engineering student at the IAEA.

The IAEA supports Member States with information and provides best practices for the strategic, organizational, managerial and technological aspects of decommissioning of nuclear facilities and environmental remediation of contaminated sites. In response to increasing demand from Member States for support in his field, the IAEA created in January 2018 a Section on Decommissioning and Environmental Remediation.

Christophe Xerri, Director of the IAEA Division of Nuclear Fuel Cycle and Waste Technology (left), and Dr Luis Salas, Associate Vice President for Research, Florida International University, signed the Practical Arrangements on 20 April 2018 in Miami, Florida. (Photo: FIU)

Last update: 17 Oct 2018

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