Nonproliferation Research at KAIST, South Korea
My second week in South Korea has just ended. The NEREC (Nonproliferation Education and Research Center) summer school started on Jul 3rd. We are a group of about 20 people from 13 different countries among graduate and undergraduate students conducting research at KAIST (Korean Advanced Institute of Science and Technology), which is one of the most prestigious universities in Asia. They are all as wonderful as they are diverse. I am proud to be representing Bolivia and UC Berkeley.
The topic of nuclear nonproliferation is and will be an extremely important international issue for years to come. For the first time in history, we humans have the ability to destroy all of humanity a few times around. As nuclear scientists, we should be well aware of this fact. The aim of this program is to merge technical knowledge about nuclear science with policy in order to make a difference in the international community.
The first week was rather relaxed. We got to know each other through team-building exercises, lectures, and tours. One of these tours was at an experimental facility where novel aspects of a Korean pressurized water reactor model are being investigated. The picture shown below is a model of the containment building of the APR-1400. Professor Man-sung Yim and his graduate students at KAIST are studying mitigation techniques in the advent of radioactive release following a severe accident.
The second week, we visited research facilities in Seoul concerned with the North Korean nuclear threat. We finished the tour by visiting the demilitarized zone (DMZ) at the border between North and South Korea. Despite its name, it is the most militarized border in the world with millions of troops spread around on both sides.
(View of North Korea at the DMZ)
There will be more exciting experiences to share, so stay tuned!