On May 10th, 2023, Sampoerna University’s fourth-semester Mechanical Engineering students visited G.A. Siwabessy nuclear reactor which is located in Puspitek Serpong as part of the Thermodynamics course. This visit was accompanied by the course lecturer, Dr. Ida Ayu Nyoman Titin Trisnadewi. This highly anticipated visit proved to be eye-opening and enjoyable for the students involved.
Before entering the reactor, the students were given an introduction of the G.A. Siwabessy reactor and the surrounding Puspitek complex. They were also given an overview about the various purposes of the reactor which includes reactor fuel element development, reactor safety research and radioisotope production.
Finally came the most exciting part of the visit, a tour inside the nuclear reactor. With this opportunity, the students are able to witness the largest nuclear reactor in Indonesia directly. Without neglecting the safety procedures, the students took a peek into the reactor core and is given a thorough explanation of its working principles.
Next, the students listened to a lecture about nuclear reactor technology from Dr. Mulya Juarsa, a Senior Researcher at the Nuclear Reactor Technology Research Center. He also explained about nuclear reactor safety and explained how thermodynamics concepts were utilized in nuclear technology and research. As the lecture continued, the student’s interests were heightened further, as they were able to apply the thermodynamics concepts learned in class and connect their learning to the real-life application shown before them.
Other than that, the students were also given an explanation about one of the research activities carried out, which is about the topic of nuclear reactor safety. “Almost all nuclear accidents are caused by failure of safety systems such as cooling systems, even though research on nuclear safety has been carried out for many years”, the researcher explained.
He continued, “It is our job, especially as mechanical engineers, to continue researching and improving nuclear safety to prevent nuclear accidents in the future”. The explanation from Dr. Mulya Juarsa will hopefully motivate Sampoerna University Mechanical Engineering student who are interested in pursuing the field of nuclear technology.
To end their visit, the students paid a visit to the Thermohydraulics and Heat Pipe Lab to see one of the passive system simulation facilities, the FASSIP 03, which is a passive cooling system that functions as a backup of the main cooling system in emergency situations such as electricity blackout.
Overall, the visit gave a lasting impression on the students. The new knowledge gained and the experience of connecting theory and practice leaves the students with a greater appreciation for the relevance of Thermodynamics in the area of nuclear energy.
Annisa Nurcahyati Puspita Dewi Sutardi
(Mechanical Engineering Student Cohort 2021)