Nuclear student Harbour presents at IDWG meeting in Paris

IMG_1912Logan Harbour, a senior in the Department of Nuclear Engineering at Texas A&M University, gave a presentation on the student exchange program between Texas A&M’s nuclear engineering department and the College of Nuclear Science and Technology at Harbin Engineering University, China, during the Infrastructure Development Working Group (IDWG) meeting held recently in Paris.

Harbour, along with Zhu Zhiqiang, a student from Harbin who came to Texas A&M in March as part of the exchange program, delivered the report at the request of Dr. Alex Burkart of the U.S. Department of State, who served as the meeting’s co-chair. It is believed that this marked the first time students have been invited to deliver a presentation.

Burkart feels that the program between Texas A&M and Harbin brings together the upcoming generation of nuclear leaders in the two leading countries and builds networks that will endure over their professional careers and represents a global best practice in human resource development for the future of the nuclear industry.

The IDWG meeting was held in conjunction with the International Framework for Nuclear Engineering Cooperation (IFNEC), a group of more than 30 countries around the world focusing on nuclear energy

One of the components of IFNEC is the IDWG, which deals with a number of crosscutting infrastructure issues in support of nuclear energy.

“We hope to promote international collaboration and introduce younger students to the nuclear industry with unique opportunities,” Harbour and Zhiqiang said during their presentation. “The nuclear energy field is global and international, therefore challenges need to be dealt with on such a level and we hope this program will prepare young students for those challenges later in their career. 

“These programs have given our students another understanding and respect for other cultures and countries. It has also built strong relationships among students that will potentially become important contacts in our nuclear careers as young leaders.”

The exchange program between the two universities has been held for the past three summers and will be held again next month as a group of students from Texas A&M traveling to China.

The program at A&M has been organized and carried out by Dr. Lin Shao and Dr. Cable Kurwitz. Shao and Kurwitz along with one other professor from the department have accompanied the students on their trip.

The A&M contingent usually consists of 15 undergraduate students and this year’s group will include 19 students from the department.

Participants go through an intensive course on nuclear technology during the first week with the students from Texas A&M and Harbin joining together on teams of two individuals. 

The Texas A&M students also tour three different nuclear power plants in China before spending the last week in Beijing where they take part in cultural events and receive a briefing from the Department of Energy office in the U.S. Embassy on the joint government collaboration in the nuclear area. 

The College of Nuclear Science and Technology at Harbin Engineering University is the largest academic nuclear program in China, while Texas A&M is the largest nuclear engineering program in the United States.