Safe and secure operation of nuclear installations (GA-1)

Demonstration Course GA-1, (STU,CTU)


24. 01. 2022 – 04. 02. 2022


Prague, Czech Republic and Bratislava, Slovakia


Czech Technical University in Prague, the Czech Republic and Slovak University of Technology, Bratislava, Slovakia under the European Nuclear Experimental Educational Platform (ENEEP)




When we talk about nuclear installations such as nuclear power plants, research reactors, casks for the transport of nuclear fuel, storage or depositories of spent nuclear fuel, we always have to consider their safety. The word "safety" is often connected with the so-called nuclear safety, which is, however, inaccurate or sufficient. When we talk about safety, i.e., protecting the population, environment, and staff from adverse effects of radiation, three essential safety components must be considered: nuclear safety, radiation protection, and emergency preparedness. The primary purpose of nuclear safety is to maintain control over the fission chain reaction in a nuclear reactor and prevent the release of ionising radiation and radioactive materials into the environment. The main aim of radiation protection is to protect the population, the environment and staff from potentially harmful effects of ionising radiation. The principal goal of emergency preparedness is to identify potential adverse events in a nuclear installation and their management.

In addition to safety, it is necessary to consider the security of all nuclear installations, which means protecting nuclear installations, nuclear materials, and sources of ionising radiation from misuse by unauthorised personnel. Security of nuclear installation consists of three essential areas - physical protection, cybersecurity, and information security. The security of a nuclear installation is always associated with potential threat of terrorist attacks on nuclear installations, attempts to misuse nuclear or materials of dual-use, cyber-attack attempts on nuclear installations, etc.

The objective of this course is to provide students from eligible countries with carrying out experiments and hands-on activities at the Training reactor VR-1 and several specific laboratories (such as neutron detection, physical security, ....) related to various aspects of safe and secure operation of nuclear installations.

Eligible countries:

27 European Union countries, Norway, Iceland, Lichtenstein, Switzerland, The United Kingdom, Serbia, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro, and North Macedonia

Participants’ qualifications:

The course is aimed at students in master degree programmes studying nuclear engineering as the major curriculum. It is also suitable for students studying various major engineering curricula such as power engineering, mechanical engineering, and electrical engineering with future assignments in various nuclear curricula.

Course programme:

The first week of the course will be held in Bratislava at the Slovak University of Technology. The second week will be held in Prague at the Czech Technical University.

The first week consists of the following topics:

  • Opening of the course, course goals and logistics, pre-test
  • Introduction of the content of the course, General lecture about Safety and Security
  • Nuclear safety in practise – introduction to the reactor safety parameters during operation (theoretical lecture), demonstration of a safe reactor operation and possible consequences of the violation of safety limits on a reactor simulator (utilizing ANDREA code to present reactor operation fundamentals), criticality and shielding analysis of the spent fuel configurations (CASTOR, spent fuel assemblies where the students will vary the number of assemblies or isotopic composition to achieve critical or subcritical configuration, calculation of the dosimetry situation around the CASTOR – connection to the radiation protection) including introduction to the SCALE system and environment, shielding analysis of simple configuration of a neutron source transport container (connection to the experimental exercise), and parametric study to obtain sufficient radiological environment.
  • Radiation protection in practise – introduction to dosimetry and dosimetry units, demonstration of the decay law (experimental exercise – Determination of the half-life of silver isotopes), natural radioactivity (experimental exercise – Measurement of radioactivity of water and air), experimental measurement and numerical simulation of dose rate corresponding to various types of radiation in real environment (arbitrary placing of the detectors/ratemeters and neutron and gamma sources in the Laboratory of reactor physics), experimental determination of dosimetry situation around neutron source transport container.
  • Non-proliferation and safeguards – demonstration of non-proliferation and recycling of fission materials by experimental exercise (Determination of uranium enrichment) and computational exercise (Fuel reprocessing and fundamentals of reprocessed uranium fuel utilization).

The second week consists of the following topics:

  • Visit of the VR-1 reactor.
  • Radiation detection in practice - basic principles of detection of various types of radiation (alpha, beta, gamma, neutrons), radioactive decay, radioisotopes half-life, three fundamental ways how to protect from radiation - time, distance and shielding.
  • Neutron detection in practice - basic principles of neutron detection, set-up of a neutron detection system, neutron detection in the core of the reactor, neutron flux distribution measurement in the core.
  • Radiation monitoring in practice - hands-on experience with the radiation protection and radiation monitoring in the reactor hall, personnel monitoring, monitoring of dose rate in the reactor hall in various positions and at the various reactor power levels.
  • Reactor physic in practice - relation of multiplication to reactor power, reactor in critical, subcritical and supercritical state under various conditions, reactivity measurement at the reactor, determination of the total control rod worth by Rod-Drop method, control rod calibration by inverse rate method and construction of control rod calibration curve, determination of shut-down margin and reactivity excess, limitations of power increase – reactor period, doubling time, power rate, reactor feedbacks – determination of the influence of void effect on reactivity in under- and over-moderated area.
  • Hands-on operation of the reactor - practical training at the reactor operation, hands-on experience with reactor operation by all course participants, start-up of the reactor, increasing and decreasing the reactor power, safe shut-down of the reactor.
  • Nuclear security in practice - hands-on experience with nuclear security at the VR-1 reactor, physical protection (security) laboratory, hands-on experience with physical protection systems in the (security) laboratory.
  • Final discussion, post-test, and evaluation of the course.

Course directors:

Lubomir Sklenka from CTU and Branislav Vrban from STU

Application deadline:

15th November 2021, 23.59 CET

Application Procedure:

To apply to the course, the applicant should submit the following documents:

  • filled-in application form,
  • curriculum vitae,
  • motivation letter,
  • recommendation letter,
  • enrolment certificate,
  • list of courses passed and grades achieved, relevant to the attendance at course.

The applicant should follow detailed instructions on the ENEEP website:

The number of accepted participants from eligible countries will be ten and from non-eligible countries will be two.

The ENEEP evaluation committee will email to all applicants the results of the application procedure till the 15th December 2021, 23.59 CET.

Course fee, fellowship:

Participants from eligible countries:

There is no course fee for participants from eligible countries. All selected participants from eligible countries will be granted the ENEEP fellowship of 1 140 EUR (one thousand and one hundred forty). This will cover accommodation, per diem, local public transport, health insurance, Bratislava-Prague intercity transportation, and partially also transportation to and from the venues.

Participants from non-eligible countries:

The course fee for participants from non-eligible countries is 2 500 EUR (two thousand and five hundred). The course fee does not include accommodation, per diem, local public transportation, health insurance, Bratislava-Prague intercity transportation, and transportation to and from the venues.