Idaho National Laboratory has announced the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between Battelle Energy Alliance and the Brazilian agency Instituto de Pesquisas Energéticas e Nucleares (Institute of Energy and Nuclear Research, IPEN). Battelle Energy Alliance operates INL on behalf of the U.S. Department of Energy, while the IPEN comes to the agreement on behalf of the Comissão Nacional de Energia Nuclear (National Nuclear Energy Commission, CNEN).
The MOU will enable further collaboration between INL and IPEN-CNEN, a partnership which will advance nuclear energy research and development in both countries.
Efforts resulting in the MOU first began in 2019, when representatives from INL and IPEN-CNEN met at an International Atomic Energy Agency-sponsored conference near Chicago. Dr. Marianne Walck, deputy laboratory director of science and technology and chief research officer at INL, was then invited to present at several Brazilian conferences, a meeting which furthered interactions towards an agreement.
“We agreed that creating an MOU to further our collaborative relationship would be beneficial to both countries,” said Walck, who represented INL at a virtual signing ceremony in January. “It took some time to finalize the agreement, but happily, we have now done so.”
The MOU makes provisions to further academic coordination between the agencies by outlining policies for the exchange of researchers, graduate students and other members of technical-administrative staff. Contributing individuals will be able to participate in research activities, conferences, teaching and related professional activities for the benefit of both their home and host institution.
Also present for the signing were individuals from the DOE’s Idaho Operations Office, Office of International Affairs, and Office of Nuclear Energy representing the United States, while representatives from IPEN, CNEN and the Ministry of Science, Technology & Innovation attended from Brazil.
“Each entity has significant expertise to bring to bear the furtherance of nuclear energy and research,” Walck said. “We are looking forward to taking concrete steps to enhance our working relationships.”
INL is a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) national laboratory that performs work in each of DOE’s strategic goal areas: energy, national security, science and environment. INL is the nation’s center for nuclear energy research and development. Day-to-day management and operation of the laboratory is the responsibility of Battelle Energy Alliance.