Skip to content

Nuclear Engineering Students Trained in Prague, Czech Republic

Study abroad group in from of “Fission” statue at the nuclear power plant Temelín.

The UT nuclear engineering study abroad group visits the “Fission” statue at the nuclear power plant Temelín.


Twelve undergraduate students from the Department of Nuclear Engineering (NE)  participated in the study abroad Experimental Reactor Physics Laboratory class (NE427) during the recent summer mini-term. The class was led by Ondřej Chvála, research assistant professor in nuclear engineering, at the Czech Technical University (CTU) in Prague, Czech Republic.

UT nuclear engineering professor Belle Upadhyaya (left) with study abroad program leader Ondrej Chvala (center) and CTU department head Lubomir Sklenka, standing above the VR-1 reactor.

UT nuclear engineering professor Belle Upadhyaya (left) with study abroad program leader Ondrej Chvala (center) and CTU department head Lubomir Sklenka, standing above the VR-1 reactor.

The students spent the first week visiting several sites throughout the Czech Republic—including a uranium mine and a yellow cake chemical factory, Temelín nuclear power plant, research institute in Řež near Prague, and the Prague Castle. In Vienna, Austria, the group visited the Belvedere Palace, the United Nations, the International Atomic Energy Agency, the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Preparatory Organization, and St. Stephen’s Cathedral.

During the second week, the students worked with nuclear reactor VR-1 at the university, performing reactor-physics-related measurements and working out respective lab reports. Each student actually operated the reactor on the last day of the labs.

Students in the VR-1 experimental hall perform measurements at the experimental stations.

Students in the VR-1 experimental hall perform measurements.

This is the fifth time this study-abroad class was held. It is open to undergraduate and graduate students interested in nuclear reactor dynamics and hands-on experimental work. Contacts with the Czech university had already led to mutual student exchanges and research collaborations with the UT nuclear engineering department. This year, UT nuclear engineering professor Belle Upadhyaya visited CTU and presented a seminar titled “Integral Reactors: I&C Research, Technical Gaps, and Challenges.” He discussed possibilities of future research collaboration along these topics.

The flagship campus of the University of Tennessee System and partner in the Tennessee Transfer Pathway.