Bright results and big plans: CP session took place at JINR

News, 27 March 2023

On 24 March, a session of the Committee of Plenipotentiaries (CP) of the Governments of the JINR Member States chaired by Plenipotentiary Representative of the Government of the Republic of Georgia in JINR Arsen Khvedelidze was held. The participants discussed the status of JINR research projects, the results achieved, and further plans for the development of the Institute. The Committee members studied the latest version of the draft of the new Seven-Year Plan for the Development of JINR for 2024 – 2030. Deputy Director General, Head of the Nuclear Energy Department of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Mikhail Chudakov and a representative of the Embassy of Mexico in the Russian Federation Ana Isabel Lopez Estrada took part in the session as honoured guests. Head of the Directorate for Scientific Affairs of the Arab Atomic Energy Agency (AAEA) Daw Saad Mosbah Khalefa attended the meeting. Director of the Vinča Institute of Nuclear Sciences Snežana Pajović and Senior Assistant of the Ministry of Science, Technological Development and Innovation of Serbia Svetlana Bogdanović joined the CP meeting on behalf of the Republic of Serbia.

Mikhail Chudakov congratulated the staff of the Joint Institute on the JINR Foundation Day on behalf of the IAEA. “JINR and IAEA share a long history of joint work and collaboration not by chance. JINR is a centre of excellence in nuclear science research, while IAEA is a world centre for cooperation in the nuclear field. We have a number of agreements that we regularly update. Thus, we renewed one of them in 2022. JINR is known all over the world, and the IAEA is happy to continue fostering international cooperation with the Institute for the benefit of all our Member States,” Mikhail Chudakov noted. He also brought forward the proposal of the IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi to make JINR one of the sites of the new IAEA Lise Meitner programme aimed at promotion of the careers of women in the nuclear industry.

Director of the Joint Institute Grigory Trubnikov opened the work programme of the CP session. In his report, he presented the results of JINR activities for the period since the last CP meeting in November in Egypt. The year 2023 started at the Institute with meetings of the Programme Advisory Committees and the Scientific Council with new memberships. These JINR governing bodies unite highly qualified experts from leading scientific centres from all over the world. The main task of the meetings was to get acquainted with the final draft of the Seven-Year Plan for the Development of the Institute. Its scientific programme will undergo a detailed examination at the upcoming sessions of the PAC in June.

Among the main results of the February meeting of the Scientific Council was the signing of an agreement with the United Mexican States on joint work in the field of advanced basic and applied scientific research. The parties agreed to specify the research areas of mutual interest in the next six months, as well as to identify the main partners on the Mexican side. The creation of a Joint Coordination Committee with representatives of JINR and Mexican scientific organizations is planned. Its first meeting is scheduled for early June alongside the Mexican Council of Science and Technology.

The protocol signed this week on strengthening cooperation with China in the field of basic scientific research was another important result in the field of international cooperation. The document confirmed the parties’ intentions to increase the level of cooperation between the People’s Republic of China and JINR. For the purpose of the organization and planning of joint activities under the Protocol, a Joint Coordination Committee will be established. The first meeting of the Committee will take place in China at the beginning of summer this year.

Cooperation with the Republic of Serbia is actively developing. At the end of February, the JINR delegation visited the Vinča Institute, took part in the session of the Serbia-JINR Joint Cooperation Committee, and also met with representatives of the Ministry of Science, Technological Development, and Innovation. LRB and Serbian colleagues are actively working together on a number of scientific topics.

JINR Director Grigory Trubnikov also presented important performance indicators of the Institute. The United Institute is rapidly reducing the average age of the scientific infrastructure. The proportion of employees aged 35-60 years is increasing (43%). There is also an increase in the proportion of women among JINR employees (38%). The Institute maintains a high level of the publication activity and the number of theses defended.

The Institute has achieved important scientific results. As part of the NICA Project, the BM@N international collaboration received more than half a billion events during a record-breaking physical run on the accelerators of the NICA Complex. “Thus, the BM@N team practically launched the international physical programme of the first experiment at the NICA Complex,” JINR Director Grigory Trubnikov said. He also noted that the construction of the complex is progressing at the fastest possible pace. Now the construction work is 97% complete. It is expected that by December 2023, the accelerator complex will be ready for technical launch, provided that the necessary engineering equipment is delivered by the summer of this year.

The obligations of JINR in the ALICE, CMS, and ATLAS experiments at CERN are being fully fulfilled. In 2022, the Tier-1 centre at JINR was ranked first among other Tier-1 world centres for CERN in terms of performance. Another important result has been achieved in the field of information technologies: the Govorun Supercomputer has been significantly modernised, and now its peak performance exceeds 2 petaflops. In terms of the data transfer speed, fast RAM, and the total amount of data storage, the supercomputer occupies a leading position among the machines of the Member States. It is also among top 25 supercomputers in the world. Armenian and Uzbek centres joined the DIRAC platform.

The work at the Superheavy Element Factory is in full swing. In 2022, the operation time of the installation was 6,000 hours. New isotopes of superheavy elements have been obtained: darmstadtium-276, lawrencium-264, moscovium-286, hassium-272, seaborgium-268. The most recent result obtained in February this year was the first observation of the previously unknown darmstadtium-275 isotope. These achievements strengthened the Institute’s leading position in the field of synthesis of superheavy elements.

The Baikal-GVD Neutrino Telescope has already reached an effective volume of 0.5 km3. During the current expedition on Lake Baikal, the project team plans to install two new clusters, thereby increasing the number of optical modules to 3,456. In addition, at the beginning of March, a meeting on Lake Baikal was held, at which the development of the Russian neutrino programme was discussed. The Minister of Science and Higher Education of the Russian Federation Valery Falkov took part in the event. The Baikal-GVD Telescope is already producing physical results. The project participants have registered 11 candidates for astrophysical neutrinos. An article about this was published in the high-rank journal Physical Review D. In addition, three new participants joined the Baikal-GVD collaboration.

The staff of the Frank Laboratory of Neutron Physics is getting ready to launch the IBR-2 Reactor. The Laboratory is also developing a mathematical model of the dynamics of a new research neutron source, the NEPTUN Pulsed Reactor. To verify the model, a number of experiments are planned to study the effect of dynamic bending of the fuel rod in a power pulse on the oscillatory stability of the NEPTUN Reactor. In addition, preparations are under way to study the characteristics of the nuclear fuel, neptunium nitride, for the new neutron source.

“The scientific programme and scientific results are the foundation of our activities. The successes we have achieved to date are the result of the collaborative work of the JINR team. Therefore, the staff of the Institute is our main driving force, the main potential, and the main value,” Grigory Trubnikov highlighted. “The current seven-year period is coming to an end, and we can say that the Institute is completing it successfully. JINR fulfills its main task, demonstrating outstanding scientific results and attracting new partners”.

The Committee members studied the final draft of the new Seven-Year Plan for the Development of JINR. The Institute’s staff took into account the remarks and comments of the CP members and the Scientific Council to the document. They also prioritised the Institute’s participation in external experimental collaborations. Experts analysed possible risks for the implementation of the plan and suggested ways to reduce them. One of the important aims of the document is digitalisation of the Institute. In order to make it happen, JINR is rapidly developing a digital platform that will ensure the barrier-free use of JINR administrative and scientific resources. In the new seven-year period, it is planned to enrich the personnel of the Institute with 1.5 thousand new researchers and specialists, first of all, due to the associated staff. In this regard, JINR is involved in the work on creating a comfortable social environment in Dubna.

The Institute continues its intense educational activity. On 25 March, alongside the meeting of the Committee of Plenipotentiaries, a new building of the University Centre was opened outside the technical sites with a total area of about 1,500 m2. The new building will become a platform with experimental laboratories for schoolchildren and students.

The head of the AAEA Directorate for Scientific Affairs Daw Saad Mosbah Khalefa spoke at the session. He noted that the Institute forges ahead with the scientific achievements, information about which AAEA will distribute among its Member States. He also confirmed his intention to open a JINR information centre at the organization’s headquarters in Tunis, as well as to organize a JINR virtual laboratory there.

The meeting of the JINR Committee of Plenipotentiaries was preceded by a meeting of the Finance Committee chaired by Deputy Minister of Science and Higher Education of the Russian Federation Andrey Omelchuk. The participants approved the revised JINR budget for 2023. A new budget structure of the Institute was approved for budget planning starting from 2024. The LLC JSC “Korsakov and Partners” was elected the auditor of JINR for 2022. The execution of the 2022 budget was 82% in all respects.

“The projects and initiatives implemented by JINR today are aimed at increasing its authority, attracting new talents, as well as strengthening the competitiveness and recognition of the Institute in the international arena. I congratulate the JINR team on the successful completion of the run at the NICA Complex, which is being created, among other things, thanks to the Nauka i Universitety national project (lit. “Science and Universities”). I would also like to congratulate the employees of the Institute on the fruitful results of the work at the Baikal Neutrino Telescope and the signing of a Joint Declaration of Intent between the National Council of Science and Technology (CONACYT) and JINR. It is also important to note that in order to increase the level of China’s participation in JINR activities, the Protocol on Strengthening Cooperation in the Field of Basic Scientific Research has been recently signed between the Ministry of Science and Higher Education of Russia, the Ministry of Science and Technology of China, JINR, and the Chinese Academy of Sciences. We are extremely grateful for the expert support of colleagues from the Institute through Russia’s participation in the G20 Working Group on research and innovation,” Deputy Minister of Science and Higher Education of Russia Andrey Omelchuk said.

The session was completed by a general discussion, after which the Committee of Plenipotentiaries of JINR made decisions. The next meeting of the Finance Committee is scheduled for 9 November in Almaty, Kazakhstan. The session of the CP will take place on 10 – 11 November.

JINR turns 67 – the Committee of Plenipotentiaries and the Institute’s Foundation Day