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Recent and upcoming nonproliferation activities, events, and announcements involving the CNS center, staff, and programs.
Updated: Jun 21, 2012
CNS Youth Science Challenge Draws Attention of U.S. and Russian Presidents
A CNS youth science program funded by the State Department was touted as one example of US-Russian cooperation in the presidential joint statement.
Following this week's meeting between Presidents Obama and Putin in Mexico, the State Department issued a media release that touted examples of U.S.-Russian cooperation, including a youth science program developed and implemented by the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies (CNS) of the Monterey Institute of International Studies.
Under the U.S.-Russia Virtual Science Challenge for Youth, U.S. and Russian high school students are meeting online to investigate solutions for managing the world's 240,000 metric tons of spent nuclear fuel. If not managed properly, spent fuel could cause a widespread release of radiation or be used in the development of nuclear explosives.
Designed to enhance cross-cultural understanding between U.S. and Russian high school students and collaborative research on major proliferation problems, the project uses a dedicated and secure online learning website to connect 20 U.S. and Russian students representing five high schools in each country.
The students utilize online workshops, e-learning modules, and virtual classrooms to become familiar with unclassified information about the science and technology of nuclear weapons, nuclear reactors, the nuclear fuel cycle, and the risks posed by the key weapons materials of highly enriched uranium and plutonium. Then, students focus on options for handling spent nuclear fuel, especially plutonium. This study requires scientific prowess, critical thinking, cross-cultural understanding, and cooperation. This investigation will require students to research not only the scientific options available for spent fuel management, but also the proliferation risks that different technologies pose and alternative solutions. At the final stage, all teams will come together and present their findings and proposed solutions in the Virtual Science Fair, in a format of their choosing.
Following their meeting on June 18 on the sideline of the G-20 Summit in Los Cabos, Mexico, President Obama and President Putin issued a Joint Statement highlighting the strength of US-Russian cooperation. The factsheets that accompanied the Statement highlighted developments in cooperation between the two countries. The U.S. Russia Virtual Science Challenge for Youth was mentioned in the context of U.S. Russian Cooperation on People to People Contacts.
The U.S.-Russia Virtual Science Challenge for Youth is funded by the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Last fall the department chose CNS as the sole U.S. organization in the nation to conduct the project.
For more information about the U.S.-Russia Virtual Science Challenge for Youth, please visit the project website at http://virtual-science-challenge.org/.
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