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Five nuclear scientists and three English language faculty members from Tomsk Polytechnic University (TPU) in Tomsk, Russia, have taken on the roles of students at the Monterey Institute of International Studies this summer, taking part in a unique, customized program curriculum intended to enhance communication between nonproliferation officials in the U.S. and Russia.

The English Language and Nonproliferation Program (ELAN) for Nuclear Security was developed specifically to meet the needs of the TPU group, scientific faculty with expertise in nuclear physics and nuclear materials protection, control, and accounting. Their Monterey program, developed jointly by faculty at the Institute’s James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies (CNS) and Graduate School of Translation, Interpretation, and Language Education (GSTILE), is designed to develop English language proficiency in order to enhance communication with their U.S. partners and counterparts in international organizations, including the U.S. Department of Energy and the International Atomic Energy Agency.

The project grew out of a proposal developed about two years ago by ELAN project manager Lisa Donohoe Luscombe and GSTILE Professor Peter A. Shaw. Tomsk Polytechnic University graduates go on to work in the control and accounting of fissile materials and physical protection of nuclear facilities in Russia, as well as in international organizations in nuclear energy and require English language skills to be able to follow international regulations, participate in scientific forums, and communicate with colleagues from other countries. After the Monterey proposal was approved by the U.S. Department of Energy, the ELAN project manager conducted a needs assessment at TPU (November 2009) and diagnostic testing (April 2010) which served as the basis and baseline, respectively, for the summer 2010 program, now under way.

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Jason Warburg

Eva Gudbergsdottir