From 20-23 March, the TOPNUX
conference took place in London. This international conference,
entitled Securing the Future – the Role of Nuclear Energy,
was organized by the European Nuclear Society (ENS) in collaboration
with the British Nuclear Energy Society. Around 200 delegates
attended from across Europe, China, the US, Canada South Africa
etc. This included several ministers and senior politicians, industry
experts, scientists (among them was the famous environmentalist
and Gaia theory proponent, James Lovelock) and members of BNES
and ENS. Among the key speakers were: Malcolm Wicks, UK Energy
Minister; Paavo Lipponen, the former Finnish Prime Minister and
current Speaker of the Finnish Parliament; Pierre Gadonneix, CEO
of EDF and Bill Coley, CEO of British Energy.
Among the main issues under discussion at TOPNUX
were: international partnerships to fuel the supply chain, waste
management, security and safeguards, public perceptions, new engineering
and R & D initiatives with regard to design and construction,
attracting and recruiting talented young engineers into the into
the nuclear industry and research sector and proactive risk communication
strategies. There were also a number of technical sessions that
focused on products that will secure the future of the nuclear
industry, including advanced gas-cooled reactors, “smart
technologies,” hot labs, innovative spent fuel initiatives,
encapsulating waste in hard rock or in underground wet storage
sites and the Generation IV reactors of tomorrow.
Another important issues discussed by TOPNUX
delegates was the nuclear industry’s need for promoting
greater national awareness of the advantages of nuclear energy
with legislators, regulators and the general public.
The current nuclear renaissance, with the increasing
importance attached to plant lifetime extensions and new-build,
was a commonly recurring theme throughout the conference.
For more information about the TOPNUX
conference, including details about the programme and the speakers’
presentations, visit the ENS website at: www.topnux2006.org.