Pizza, Pasta e dei Rifiuti Radioattvi

By Laura Bohill | lightbulbs | August 6, 2012

After copious amounts of e-mails and much persistence I managed to swindle a 3 month secondment in Northern Italy at the European Commission, Joint Research Centre (JRC), Ispra.

Having spent the last month zooming around the remote Italian countryside on my recently acquired and trusty bike, Fred, sampling plenty of pizza, all flavours of gelato, spritz, prosecco and any aperitivo that gets in my way, I can safely say……I could easily get used to life here. I won’t lie  it may have a lot to with being able to spend my evenings lying at the lake, soaking up the evening sunshine and the stunningly picturesque views of my surroundings.

My usual evening spot

My usual evening spot

Things started to move pretty fast over the first few days and I quickly managed to settle in. On my first day I was introduced to the Irish mailing list ……..2 days later I was having lunch with a Dubliner and a Kerry girl, this is where I realised that the 3 months which I thought I would spend alone, reading books, teaching myself yoga and attempting to run in 30 degree heat was not likely to happen as I had originally thought.

A month and a bit in and I’ve only managed to run 4 times, read 2 books and attempted no yoga…….this is mainly due to the fact that some 200 metres from my  apartment hidden amongst the trees I was introduced to “The Foresteria”. A complex of bungalows and apartments occupied by trainees, grant holders and PHD students all working at the JRC. Consequentially I’ve met a great network of people and my evenings are now filled with various social activities whether it’s simply drinks at the lake, aperitivo, a DVD, BBQ, dinner party, 24 hour sports tournament, watching volleyball, kayaking, a 40Km bike ride or goodness knows what else there is always something to do.

I’m glad I pursued undertaking an international secondment, not many graduate schemes give you the opportunity to experience such a thing and not having done one would have been a huge regret. 

I’ll maybe bore you with the actual work stuff at a later date but today I’d prefer to leave you craving pizza and yearning for some summer sun!


After kayaking in Monate Lake

Relaxing evening at Ispra Lake

Evening Sunset

Ok for those of you who are dying to know more here are some facts, figures about the JRC Ispra site and a link to information on the Italian Nuclear programme to flood your imagination with:

  • Ispra site hosts 3 Research Institutes; Institute for Environment and Sustainability, Institute for Health and Consumer Protection, Institute for the Protection and Security of the Citizens.200 buildings
  • 2, 000 employees
  • 36 km of roads
  • 160 hectares

The two main reactors on JRC, Ispra are called Essor (1968-1983) and Ispra-1 (1959-1974) both of which are currently shutdown and in a state of safe conservation.  Non irradiated nuclear material inventory reduced by 95% (2007). Currently constructing an interim storage facility for the storage of low and intermediate level conditioned solid waste until its eventual transfer  to the Italian National Repository.

Information on Italian Nuclear programme: Click Here

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