"I am glad to study on the data analysis through this fellowship program and want to contribute to nuclear safety." - Mr. Thanh Tram TRAN
Q. Please introduce yourself.
I am working as a researcher and a reactor operator for Dalat Nuclear Research Institute in Vietnam, which is part of the Vietnam Atomic Energy Institute. I joined this institute about five years ago. When I was in Vietnam, I performed experiments using COOLOD-N2. COOLOD-N2 code is one of the computer programs used for the analyses of the thermal-hydraulics. This work is related to nuclear safety.
Q. Would you tell me about the purpose of your visit?
I came to Korea to participate in a three-month fellowship program here at KAERI (Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute). I was supposed to join this program last year, but I couldn't, so I came early this year. The program started in February, so it's just past the half.
Q. What do you study through your fellowship program?
Through this program, I do experiments concerning nuclear safety by using the MARS code. Like COOLOD-N2 code, the MARS code is a kind of computer programs for the analyses. As you understand, it is impossible to test nuclear safety directly in a nuclear power plant. So we use a computer code to calculate data and compare them with the simulation data for validation, and eventually complete a reliable model for the nuclear safety test. I compare the MARS code data with the already existing data obtained from the accident simulation tests. To speak more specifically, my experiment is on the thermal-hydraulic model which is used in the code. First I input data to the model, and then the model calculates. I compare my experiment results with the data from the simulation tests to make sure that the model produces the same results as those from the simulation tests. If a difference exists, that means something is wrong about the model. Then, I go back to the input data and also check other factors to analyze the causes of the difference. I continue this process of calculating through the model, comparing results with the simulation data, and analyzing differences to improve the model.
Q. What do you think about this fellowship program?
I think it is very helpful. Since KAERI has its own data from the simulation tests, I can compare my experiment results with them. In Vietnam, facilities for the experiment are not sufficient. The most important part of my whole experiment process is the step where I analyze the data results that come out from the experiment, and this job especially requires many experiences and skills. Korean researchers and operators have many experiences, and their advice also helps a lot. So, this is a good opportunity for me to learn more.
Q. You spent almost one month and a half in Korea. How do you like your life here so far?
Fortunately I like spicy food like kimchi and also have no problem with red pepper sauce. I heard about some researchers from other countries who didn't enjoy it, but I'm quite enjoying Korean food, which is good for me. I once went to a Vietnamese noodle restaurant as well. Noodles were a bit different from Vietnamese one, but meat broth was quite similar. I enjoyed it, too.
Q. Could you tell me about the nuclear power status in Vietnam?
Two units of nuclear power plants are planned to be built with a total power capacity of 4,000MW, and there is one research reactor with a capacity of 500kW, though it's not so big compared to the Korean nuclear research reactor HANARO with a capacity of 30MW. I think it is necessary that all of our people including local residents, the government, and researchers work together to develop nuclear industries in Vietnam. After Fukushima nuclear accident occurred, the issue of the future of nuclear energy is getting more attention. I heard that some European countries like Germany, Switzerland, and the U.K. have already made some negative moves on their nuclear industries. But, I think that what's important now is not to hold back and shut down nuclear power plants but to carry out overall safety inspection and improve the safety system of nuclear power plants. Actually, unit 1 of Fukushima nuclear power plants is very old. It probably started to operate more than 30 years ago. In the case of Fukushima nuclear accident, unit 1 and unit 3 experienced an explosion, yet unit 2 didn't. It is important to study the reason for this for further improvement in nuclear safety. Fukushima nuclear accident is important not only to Japan but to other countries In a sense that we can learn from this accident and improve the current status.
Q. What is your plan after you finish this program?
I will go back to Vietnam and will continue to work on the model. Except, I cannot use the MARS code in Vietnam, so instead I'm going to use the RELAF code, which is pretty similar to the MARS code. And, in the long term, I would like another opportunity to study more in Korea.
Q. Please add your last comment.
This kind of training program and cooperation plays an important role in the development of nuclear industries. I believe the experiment that I'm working on will contribute to improving nuclear safety. I want to continue my experiment and study more on the data analysis.