Nuclear reactors, a tunnel, and traditional theater. Students traveled to South Korea

International Students Science

This year's summer semester brought a great opportunity for five students from the University of West Bohemia in Pilsen in the form of a week-long internship at a South Korean university and companies focusing on nuclear energy. Looking back at this experience was shared by students from the FST.

As part of the Nuclear Site Visit Program for Czech Students, a group of students from CTU, BUT, and UWB - represented by three students from the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering and two from the Faculty of Electrical Engineering - headed to the Korean Peninsula. They shared their experiences, Petr Vastl, Tomáš Kadavý, and Anna Mrázová, who are studying in the follow-up master program Construction of Power Machinery and Equipment at the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering.

The internship program was arranged by Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power Company (KHNP), which signed a cooperation agreement with the University of West Bohemia in Pilsen this January. The company aims to increase awareness of the nuclear industry in South Korea and is one of the bidders for the completion of the Dukovany nuclear power plant.

The students from the Czech Republic had a packed schedule of lectures and excursions. The lectures took place at the KEPCO International Nuclear Graduate School (KINGS), which is located next to two nuclear power plants visible directly from the campus. "The location of the power plants and the university is unique worldwide. Students have the opportunity to be taught by top experts and verify their theoretical knowledge in practice during power plant visits," Petr describes.

The young Czechs also visited the facilities of Doosan Enerbility and the Saeul nuclear power plant with the APR1400 reactor. "They are offering us a similar reactor in a scaled-down version for the completion of Dukovany. That was probably the best excursion for me - we were guided inside the power plant, the guides were technicians, and they were able to answer everything excellently," says Tomáš. The students had the chance to look inside the turbine hall, the rooms with spent fuel pools, and the control rooms.

In the following days, they toured the nuclear fuel production halls of KEPCO and the Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute. "Not far from the institute's headquarters is a tunnel that is intended to serve as a permanent repository for nuclear fuel. We descended about a hundred meters below the surface through the tunnel. The location is still being seismically and geologically tested, and part of the tests includes the practice placement of container models," explains Petr.

Besides professional excursions, there was also time for travel and fun. "We visited the Gyeongbokgung Palace in the historical center of Seoul, and on that occasion, we could also rent the traditional Korean attire hanbok," Anička recounts, and Tomáš adds, "We also attended a Korean theater performance Nanta - which was very entertaining. We walked through a neighborhood with traditional Korean houses and then rode an elevator to the top of the 555-meter tall Lotte World Tower—the tallest building in South Korea."

The program also included a trip to the demilitarized zone on the border with North Korea. "For me personally, it was a very intense experience, as the older generation of South Koreans - despite the current large differences between these countries - still believes in the reunification of both Koreas," says Anička.

The week-long internship took place with the support of the Korean Nuclear Association (KNA), with which the University of West Bohemia in Pilsen has had a cooperation agreement since 2020, as well as the aforementioned university KINGS. "KNA covered all the costs associated with our internship, so they deserve a big thank you," concludes Tomáš.


Faculty of Mechanical Engineering

Kamila Kolářová

21. 06. 2024