Five men in business suits sitting at meeting tables in a room.

U.S. and Kazakhstani participants follow a briefing about modeling and simulation.

Deputy Assistant Secretary Ed McGinnis opened a successful U.S.-Kazakhstan Civil Nuclear Energy workshop at Idaho National Laboratory the week of February 9.

The workshop participants included leadership from Kazakhstan’s Ministry of Energy Department of Nuclear Industry and Kazakhstan’s own “national laboratory,” the National Nuclear Center (NNC), as well as Idaho National Laboratory personnel.

During the workshop, Mr. McGinnis explained the role of the Office of Nuclear Energy within the U.S. Department of Energy as well as useful ways by which to collaborate multilaterally such as through the International Framework for Nuclear Energy Cooperation and the International Atomic Energy Agency. INL Director John Grossenbacher summarized the overall capabilities and purpose of INL. U.S. technical presentation subjects included development of accident tolerant fuels, modeling and simulation, probabilistic risk assessment, international safeguards training, small modular reactor technology, very high temperature reactor technology development, and low enriched uranium fuel development.

Two men standing and shaking hands, looking at the camera.

Harold McFarlane (left), director of INL’s International Programs, and Mazhyn Skakov (right), NNC’s deputy director general for science, sign a meeting record that includes next steps for bilateral cooperation.

Group of people in business suits standing and interacting in a hallway lined with windows.

Kazakhstanis ask questions about computing capabilities during a facilities tour.

Kazakhstan’s NNC has its own Impulse Graphite Reactor (IGR), with capabilities similar to INL’s Transient Reactor Test Facility (TREAT), and the two sides focused on opportunities to increase scientific cooperation – particularly in the area of reactor safety and severe accidents. Other areas of potential future cooperation include validation testing of modern simulation tools and education programs, especially the possibility for Kazakhstani Ph.D. candidates to have U.S. experience.

NNC plans an international nuclear energy conference in September 2015, and has invited Mr. McGinnis to attend. Both sides see the conference as a prime opportunity to resume face-to-face discussions and reach agreement on areas for further bilateral cooperation. In the meantime, the Kazakhstani side has committed to drafting a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for cooperation in the above-mentioned areas of interest by May. This MOU will provide concrete proposals for a framework for cooperating in reactor technology as well as modeling and simulation validation activities, and to formally request hosting and mentoring of Ph.D. candidates by U.S. experts.