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IAEA, France Sign Agreement for Virtual Research Reactor

IAEA General Conference

Frédéric Journès, French Governor to the IAEA Board of Governors (left), and Alexander Bychkov, IAEA Deputy Director General and Head of the Department of Nuclear Energy (right), sign an agreement to deploy the Internet Reactor Laboratory project in a French research reactor. (Photo: L. Milani/IAEA)

An agreement to deploy the Internet Reactor Laboratory (IRL) project in a French research reactor was signed between the IAEA and the French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission (CEA, Commissariat à l'énergie atomique et aux energies alternatives) on 26 September 2014 on the margins of the 58th IAEA General Conference.

Under the IAEA's IRL initiative, the ISIS research reactor at Saclay, France, will send real time data via the internet to university students in other IAEA Member States that have no access to a research reactor. Virtual access to the facility will allow students to contribute interactively in reactor experiments. Various procedures such as startups and shutdowns can be performed in collaboration between the reactor operator and students, who are then able to witness the operational processes and technology as well as the results within the classroom.

"This is a very important agreement for our nuclear research development area, where we can apply new communication technologies to widen awareness of operational procedures," said IAEA Deputy Director General and Head of the Department of Nuclear Energy, Alexander Bychkov, upon signing the agreement.

"I hope that in the future, similar connections on information sharing between operators and research reactor development experts with universities, students and specialists from different countries will be a common practice," he added.

Concluding the agreement on behalf of CEA, Frédéric Journès, French Governor to the IAEA Board of Governors, said that the IAEA and CEA aim to foster nuclear knowledge development as well as education and training capacity in Europe and neighbouring areas.

"It is a very important agreement that will contribute to the global effort to address education and training challenges and to strengthen capacity building and human resources worldwide," he noted.

 

Background

The IRL project falls within the scope of the IAEA's Peaceful Uses Initiative project on Increasing the Global Supply of Nuclear Education and Training Programmes through Research Reactor Facilities. It is financially supported by the United States Department of State and via in-kind contributions including technical equipment and human resources from France.

The project is intended to be deployed globally in different regions, including Africa, Asia, Europe and Latin America. The countries currently under consideration are Belarus, Bulgaria, Lithuania, Montenegro, Spain as well as Tanzania and Tunisia. Others may join the project depending on technical capacity and available funding.

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