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UST is the reason for a second visit to Korea

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My Global Friend

UST is the reason for a second visit to Korea

Yazan Mohammad Alatrash (PhD program, UST Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute Campus, New Atomic System Engineering) on the Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute Campus

After completing the master’s program at UST, Yazan returned to his country and had the honor of participating in the construction of Jordan’s first nuclear reactor. However, 3 years later, he returned to Korea once again. Yazan said, “the unique teaching methods of UST and the Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute, the world’s leading nuclear research facility, have lead me back here.”

Connection with Korea formed through a nuclear reactor for research

“Being able to produce massive amounts of energy using small materials was very attractive. I felt that the principles of nuclear physics are the greatest opportunity natural science has given to mankind,” Yazan said. He dreamed of becoming an intellectual like those who discovered the principles of energy generation in the books he read as a child. He naturally developed an interest in physics and math, and entered Jordan University of Science and Technology (JUST), the nation’s first university to introduce nuclear engineering, with outstanding grades.

After graduating from JUST, Yazan came to Korea to learn about the world’s top nuclear engineering technology. The background to his decision to come to Korea goes back to the Jordan Research and Training Reactor (JRTR) construction project built with Korea in 2010. Korea undertook not only the construction of the reactor, but also transferred operation and management techniques as part of an agreement with Jordan, so many young scientists and technicians were invited for the training program designed to foster JRTR operation, maintenance and safety management staffs.

According to the agreement, Yazan came to Korea in 2012 and entered the master’s program for new nuclear engineering systems at UST-KAERI Campus. With the guidance of Professor Yun Ju-hyeon of KAERI, he concentrated his studies on thermal hydraulic power.

The dream of energy independence is blooming at UST-KAERI

Thermal hydraulic power is a term used to describe the phenomenon of water (coolant) boiling or turning into steam as it cools a nuclear reactor, which operates at high temperature and high pressure, and it plays a critical role in confirming safety and developing future management plans for a nuclear power plant. KAERI operates ATLAS, a scale model of the latest Korean light-water reactors in Sin Kori Nuclear Power Plant #3 and #4, and it is one of the world’s top 3 large-scale experimental equipments.

After receiving his master’s degree at UST, Yazan returned to his home country and worked as a nuclear safety analysis and design engineer for JRTR. He was able to resolve many issues that came up during the reactor design phase with what he learned at KAERI. As he gained field experience, he formed the goal of contributing to the efforts to establish Jordan’s energy independence of with more advanced nuclear power generation technology, and to make progress toward this goal, he decided to enter a PhD program.

“While there were other options like France or Russia, I believed in the efficiency of UST’s unique research and education and chose Korea again. Korea is the world’s fifth nuclear power generation country, and KAERI with world-class facilities and researchers is at the center of it. But there is also the fact that I really love and missed Korea.”

He also mentioned that he learned a lot academically and socially from Professor Yun Ju-hyeon, who was his advisor during his master’s program. “Professor Yun was the ‘perfect teacher’ who made students the highest priority. Professor Yun taught me how to work hard and devote myself to research.”

“I’ll learn Korean with my wife”

The focus of the PhD program is the equipment-scale thermal hydraulic power interpretation code “CUPID” that was developed by KAERI. With this code, which generates a three-dimensional simulation of a two-phase flow in a reactor, research is expected to make a leap forward by the end of the semester. Yazan plans to gain experience from post-doctoral research in Korea or another country before returning to Jordan, but he says that if there is an opportunity, he would love to work in Korea.

In his second visit to Korea, he brought his wife along to show her the beauty of Korea’s landscape changing according to the four seasons, and Korean food like the kimchi stew and bulgogi he enjoyed. He and his wife also plan to learn Korean to allow him to communicate more with others and to make his research progress smoother. And finally, he had a message for the junior foreign students of UST.

“Studying abroad is a series of difficulties. But do not let go of the opportunity you obtained by hard work. Consult with professors and fellow researchers about your difficulties, and they will do their best to help you. Do your best in the laboratory, and try to enjoy the food, language and nature of the country other than your own outside the laboratory. I hope your time at UST will be used to expand your knowledge as well as your character.”