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Dni Otwarte w NCBJ (Narodowym Centrum Badań Jądrowych). W hali reaktora MARIA (fot. Marcin Jakubowski, NCBJ) Inside the MARIA reactor building (photo: Marcin Jakubowski, NCBJ)

Świerk has not witnessed such crowds for a long while! Over 3,000 persons came for Open Days organized the last weekend of May. Total 10 sightseeing routes were offered. MARIA reactor, POLATOM Radioisotope Centre and Świerk Computer Centre were the most popular destinations.

Even if the earliest NCBJ bus arrived to Świerk only at 9 am on Saturday, the first visitors appeared about one hour earlier. Total number of visitors have by far exceeded the number expected by the organizers. Every visitor was offered 10 sightseeing tours. NCBJ employees guided the groups of visitors around the most interesting places in Świerk and answered all asked questions. Many persons came both on Saturday and on Sunday to participate in more events.

„Tremendous public interest in Open Days organized in our Institute surpassed our wildest expectations – said Professor Ludwik Dobrzyński, Director of NCBJ Department of Education & Trainings, head of the team that organized the Open Days event. – „MARIA, the sole nuclear reactor operated in the country was of course the largest attraction. The reactor is not used to produce electricity, it is just a mighty source of neutrons used to irradiate various materials (including isotopes necessary to manufacture radiopharmaceuticals e.g. molibdenum 99 for nuclear medicine) and also for scientific research. Visitors seemed to be surprised by information that just one week of operation of our reactor is enough to produce medical preparations for 100,000 patients. POLATOM is exporting their products to 78 countries all over the world”.

Other objects open for visitors included Świerk Computer Centre (where one of the three mightiest supercomputers in Poland is operated), Radiation Protection Measurements Laboratory, plasma gun, places where our most modern medical accelerators are developed and constructed.

On the occasion of coming 60th birthday of Polish nuclear sector, nuclear power industry was the main theme of this year Open Days event. Nuclear power was propagated already in 50’ by Professor Andrzej Sołtan, the organizer and first Director of Institute of Nuclear Research called into being in June 1955. Our guests could acquaint themselves with Polish Nuclear Power Programme presented on an exposition prepared by Ministry of Economy and the PGE EJ1 company, look at models of contemporary nuclear power plants presented by Ministry of Economy and the AREVA French company, learn history of Polish reactors, get a glimpse into management of radioactive waste, medical applications of nuclear physics, and border scanners of illegal trafficking of hazardous substances. In the meantime between successive tours visitors could have a look at expositions presenting such topics like nuclear fusion and nuclear physics methods in environment protection, watch films on nuclear power (including projection of the “Pandora Promise” movie directed by Robert Stone), or enjoy some refreshment in the Institute bar. Special shows, games, sweet surprises, contests and plenty of other small attractions have been prepared for the youngest kids by students of the Alcide De Gasperi University of Euroregional Economy in Józefów near Warsaw.

 „Open Days in our Institute have shown that topics we are exploring in NCBJ are interesting not only for scientists, but may also attract crowds of general public. The visitors were positively surprised how a broad spectrum of applications of ionising radiation is possible not only in nuclear power, but also in industry or medicine” – pointed out Professor Grzegorz Wrochna, NCBJ Director General – „We wanted to show visitors that scientific research, often perceived as abstract and out of touch with reality, produces applications utilized in both economy and every day life, including life and/or health-saving equipment.”

Patrons of the Open Days event: Ministry of Science and Higher Education; Ministry of Education; Ministry of Economy. Media patrons: TOK FM Radio; portal. Partners and sponsors: PGE EJ1, CEA (France), EDF (France), AREVA (France).

Open Days is just one of many opportunities to get to know what we are doing in NCBJ. Each year our Institute participates in many science popularizing events (Scientific Picnics, Festivals etc.), as well as invites organized groups of high school/college students to visit reactor. Each year we are hosting over 7,000 students on the average.

More info:

Dni Otwarte w NCBJ (Narodowym Cenrum Badań Jądrowych). W hali reaktora MARIA (fot. Marcin Jakubowski, NCBJ)
Dni Otwarte w NCBJ (Narodowym Centrum Badań Jądrowych). Zwiedzanie Ośrodka Radioizotopów POLATOM (fot. Marcin Jakubowski, NCBJ)
Festyn dla dzieci podczas Dni Otwartych w NCBJ (Narodowym Centrum Badań Jądrowych) - (fot. Marcin Jakubowski, NCBJ)
Dni Otwarte w NCBJ (Narodowym Centrum Badań Jądrowych) - Festyn dla dzieci podczas Dni Otwartych w NCBJ (Narodowym Centrum Badań Jądrowych) - (fot. Marcin Jakubowski, NCBJ)