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News  --  Archive  --  2019

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A Project Led by SZTE Could be the Solution to the Management of Nuclear Waste

Hungarian-French-American inter-institutional co-operation starts with the leadership of the SZTE, on the basis of an international consortium. It is established to develop a procedure for easier handling of nuclear waste. László Palkovics, Minister of Innovation and Technology announced that the Hungarian government is supporting the project as a national research program with HUF 3.6 billion.

As Prof. Dr. László Rovó, Rector of the University of Szeged, stated the project coordinated by the University of Szeged has a historical significance in science. ‘The cooperation worldwide is of paramount importance, as the management of nuclear waste is crucial for the future of mankind’ – and he added that, as the best university in Hungary, the leadership of SZTE is constantly striving to be at the forefront of the world in both education and science and innovation, and to provide its researchers with a good background for top-quality scientific work. Not only does the science, technology and industry park built around the ELI laser research centre, or the Hungarian Centre of Excellence for Molecular Medicine provide an excellent foundation for these, but also the current collaboration.


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The storage of long-life components is a particular challenge in the management of nuclear waste. For materials with a half-life cycle less than 100 years the process could be considered as resolved. The problem is the safe placement of materials with a much longer half-life, and this can be achieved by means of so-called P&T (partitioning and transmutation) procedure. During partitioning, the different components of nuclear waste are separated and then the long half-life components are transformed by transmutation. The material is exposed to, for example, neutron irradiation, which results stable or rapidly degrading cores.


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’Alchemia-like but functional transmutation is not a new idea; it has been known for decades that with this procedure the treatment of radioactive waste becomes significantly easier. But the functional transmutation is close to impossible, since the necessary neutron is can only be produced in nuclear reactors or with the help of accelerators. Therefore the key question is whether a significantly cheaper, easy-to-manage neutron source could be developed’ - said Prof. Dr. Gábor Szabó, professor at the University of Szeged. Gerard Mourou, who was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2018, developed a proposal with Toshiki Tajima that would eliminate this obstacle with a laser-accelerated neutron source. The University of Szeged will also participate in the practical implementation, which may be a breakthrough in science history.


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László Palkovics, Minister of Innovation and Technology, said: ‘According to computer simulations, the laser system of the ELI-ALPS Research Center in Szeged is the best way to perform demonstration experiments. Therefore, the Hungarian government has decided to support the development of a laser neutron source for transmutation as a national research program for three years with a total of 3.6 billion forints. For the successful implantation of the project, the University of Szeged has been commissioned to establish an international consortium to coordinate the project.’


To assist the developmental process a Memorandum of Understanding was signed on the 5th of April by Ecole Politechnique from Paris, by TAE (a company based in California) and by the University of Szeged. This document serves as a framework for the successful implementation of the project and for involvement of further co-operating associates.

SZTE Experience

93292160_608489396406408_4799535565693255680_oOlney Rodrigues - Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences

My name is Olney Rodrigues de Oliveira and I am from Brazil. I am currently pursuing my PhD studies in the Doctoral School of Education at SZTE. I chose the University of Szeged because it’s one of the best universities in Europe, especially in the field of education. I personally love Szeged because it is safe and I love the architecture, the cultural events, the local Market Mars Tér and so many other beautiful destinations. For my studies I wanted to have an excellent university in a good quality life city and Szeged offers me that. It’s neither too big nor too small, I can ride my bike to go to my classes and practically everything is within a walking distance. I would advise the prospective students to enjoy the city during their stay, the cultural and historical events, know other international students and make a lot of friends, visit other cities in Hungary and make good memories. I am pretty sure that you will be proud of this priceless experience. Before coming to Hungary I worked several years as a teacher. I love the academic environment, the libraries, relationship with students and the feeling to be involved in the acquisition of new knowledge. That is why I plan to be part of a University as a professor as well as to keep researching in different aspects of the process of education. I am so thankful to be here and I believe that the Universe brought me to Szeged because the city and the University are the experience that I need in my life now.

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Hamza Baniata – Faculty of Science and Informatics

I am Hamza Baniata, a first-year student at the Doctoral School of Computer Science, and I am From Jordan. SZTE is continuously supporting research and it has an internationally recognized, highly ranked group of professors. It also offers courses and research topics that are strongly related to my research field; Cloud Computing, Fog Computing and Internet of Things. All of this motivated me to apply to the University/Department of Software Engineering. Szeged is a calm city, full of love and peace. The University of Szeged is similar to the city, which provides the perfect environment for creation and development. Studying at the university requires a high level of effort, commitment and seriousness. Applying to the university and having these characteristics are my two pieces of advice to prospective students. It is very early to define my future now, but I am planning to apply to a research position in my field after graduation and if I had the opportunity, I would love to contribute my effort and knowledge in advancing such a wonderful and respected university.


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