In August, TEES Nuclear Security Science and Policy Institute
(NSSPI) led a Nuclear Facilities Experience (NFE) in Japan for
graduate students and staff from eight U.S. universities and five
national laboratories. This event was coordinated with
several institutions in Japan, including the Hiroshima Peace
Memorial Museum, the Japan Atomic Energy Agency, the Integrated
Support Center for Nuclear Nonproliferation and Nuclear Security,
Tokyo Electric Power Company, and Japan Nuclear Fuel Limited.
Support for the NFE was provided by the Next-Generation Safeguards
Initiative (NGSI) of the Office of Nonproliferation and Arms
Control in the Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation Program Office of
the National Nuclear Security Administration.
The graduate students were selected based on their
specializations in nuclear nonproliferation-related topic
areas. Four students from Texas A&M were joined by
graduate students from Clemson, Oregon State University, Virginia
Commonwealth University, the University of Georgia, and the
University of California at Berkeley. Six national laboratory
employees were selected by NGSI sponsors and included early-career
research staff members from the Y-12 National Security Complex,
Sandia National Laboratories, Lawrence Livermore National
Laboratory, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, and Oak Ridge
National Laboratory. The group was accompanied by faculty members
Dr. Craig Marianno, who is the deputy director of NSSPI and an
assistant professor of nuclear engineering at Texas A&M, and
Dr. Marek Flaska from Pennsylvania State University.
The NFE began in Hiroshima, where participants toured the
Hiroshima Peace Park and the Peace Memorial Museum.
Participants were also given a first-hand perspective on the
dropping of the bomb on Hiroshima from survivor Ms. Keiko Ogura,
who gave an account of her experiences and observations of August
The NFE then took the participants to the Tokyo Institute of
Technology, where they interacted with students and staff from
NSSPI's peer institute, the Academy of Global Nuclear Safety and
Security, which is run by Professor Masaki Saito. Dr.
Marianno, Dr. Flaska, and Prof. Saito all gave presentations on the
nuclear security and safeguards educational programs at their
respective universities, and two students presented their research
to the group.
For the remainder of the visit, participants toured various
institutions and facilities throughout Japan. The group spoke
with researchers, technicians, and managers with experience in
nuclear material accountability and control and facility/process
operations. They were also able to view areas in facilities with
active safeguards infrastructure in place. Through these
interactions, the students and professionals gained knowledge on
safeguards practices and the interaction between operators and the
International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspectors.
Facilities visited during this NFE included: the Plutonium
Fuel Development Facility, the Tokai Reprocessing Center, and the
Rokkasho Reprocessing Plant.
The participants were also given the opportunity to visit the
Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station site. According to Dr.
Marianno, "This was a unique experience, and all the participants
thought it was one of the highlights of the trip." At Fukushima,
representatives from the Tokyo Electric Power Company briefed the
group on the status of the cleanup efforts at the site and gave
them an extensive tour of the protected area.
Experiences like the NFE allow graduate students and early
career professionals in nuclear safeguards and security to see
first-hand how safeguards are implemented at various types of
facilities and to network with their peers. This is the second NFE
conducted by NSSPI this year, the first being a visit to facilities
in the U.K. in May, and the third facilities tour led by NSSPI to
take place in Japan.