experimental nuclear reactor
instrumentation research center
multimedia technology center
academy-university innovation center
academy-industry innovation center
A number of successful innovations have attracted Russian industrial customers. For example, a multi-channel amplifier is used for shock and vibration testing by a leading Russian aerospace company. A magnetic defect detection system is used by Russian industry to monitor gas and oil pipelines. New techniques have been developed for making locally produced titanium wire for medical applications. Internationally, companies in Japan, Korea, and the United States use technologies developed within the Urals Branch.
Alvin W. Trivelpiece, the chair of the National Research Council (NRC) committee and a consultant at Sandia National Laboratories, emphasized that a logical application for the skills of specialists in Russia’s nuclear cities is the further development of nuclear power. Some estimates indicate that 1,000 new nuclear reactors will be required to meet the needs of developing countries for stable and reliable sources of energy. Also, there are many opportunities for innovation in nuclear medicine, a field in which Russian specialists have considerable relevant experience.
An interesting experiment in fostering contacts between laboratories and industry was a former policy of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) that encouraged U.S. nuclear laboratories to provide a few days of free consulting services to companies in need of technological advice. In one success story, a laboratory expert in graphite processing saved a pencil company from bankruptcy by recommending a change in a process that was rapidly wearing out the dies that extruded the graphite for the pencils. He discovered that the graphite was crystallizing in a way that scored the dies, and adoption of his recommendation to change the process that caused the crystallization returned the company to solvency.
In short, effective technology transfer requires close interactions between researchers and company personnel. Without continuous close contact, the likelihood that innovations developed by research institutions will find interest within companies is low.
George D. Pomeroy, who represented the Nuclear Cities Initiative of DOE in Washington, D.C. (the financial sponsor of the workshop), reviewed the objectives of the program. They are to: (a) prevent the proliferation of nuclear expertise by supporting the transition of displaced workers to commercial jobs; (b) support Russia’s planned reduction in the nuclear weapons complex through the