A delegation of American students came to visit the ESIGELEC for around ten days as part of a nuclear fuel cycle seminar in France. It was the first edition of this seminar, with an innovative theme – nuclear energy in France – and audience – American students. The young people arrived on 20th May from Pittsburgh in Pennsylvania, where they attend engineering courses, mostly mechanical but chemical too, at the university. Their programme was a mixture of professional visits and tourist excursions, an opportunity for them to discover the culture and rich economy and history of Paris and Normandy.
Among the young Americans, Megan and Matt, both 21 years old, were full of praise for France, Rouen in particular. “This isn’t the first time I’ve been to France,” explained Megan, “but it’s the first time I’ve been to Rouen. The people here are really laid back, which is great.” And Matt went on: “The people in Rouen are really nice, very polite, and they try to speak English. I’ve been quite impressed with their level.” But the thing Matt enjoyed most about France was the food: “I’ve tried pâté, steak tartare, snails… they’re really delicious. And I’d also like to try some Neufchâtel cheese.”
As well as excursions to Rouen, Paris and Caen, the group of students attended classes provided by professionals from the IRSN (Institute of Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety) within the ESIGELEC on different topics to do with the theme of the nuclear fuel cycle, the EPR/ 3rd generation reactor. This training was accompanied by tours of companies such as ANDRA (National Agency for Radioactive Waste Management), the EDF nuclear power plant at Flamanville and the AREVA used fuel recycling plant in La Hague.
“I really enjoyed the training on the EPR / GEN III reactor, but we’d already seen some parts of the nuclear fuel cycle in progress,” explained Matt. One thing’s for sure, this won’t be the last time this young American visits France: “I’ve absolutely loved my stay here. I feel like I’ve only just scratched the surface of French culture.”
This programme is part of the partnership with the ESIGELEC which enables students from the School to follow a joint-degree course at the University of Pittsburgh.