A glimpse of the future as young European nuclear
professionals focus on nuclear agenda
The European Young Generation Forum, a biannual
conference that brings together young nuclear professionals, industry
specialists and guest speakers from the world of politics and
academia, was hosted this year by the Dutch Young Generation Network
from 5 to 10 June 2007. It took place in that beautiful city synonymous
with tolerance and diversity, Amsterdam. Over 80 participants
from around 20 countries attended.
The former Dutch Prime Minister, Dr. Ruud Lubbers,
kicked off the conference. He stressed the role that young nuclear
professionals can play in promoting the economic and environmental
benefits of their industry: “You are the young people who
are looking to the future. Don’t be defensive and wait for
politicians, take the lead on this issue yourselves.” Mr.
Lubbers also expressed his strong conviction that renewables and
nuclear energy were both necessary to tackle current energy issues.
Professor van der Hagen, Director of the Reactor Institute in
Delft, then gave an overview of the energy situation worldwide
and in the Netherlands and underlined that no energy revolution
was feasible without nuclear power.
Dr. Frank Deconinck, the President of ENS, encouraged
young nuclear scientists to be open and transparent in order to
increase the credibility of the nuclear community and to improve
public acceptance of nuclear power.
The rest of the conference focused on various
key issues including Generation IV, energy market liberalization,
the hydrogen economy, public opinion and the media. The sessions
featured speakers from the CEA (France), ADS, EnBW and Aara-Tessin
(an energy service provider from Switzerland) and FORATOM.
A lively debate then took place between a nuclear
advocate, Gerardo del Caz Esteso, from the Spanish parliament
and Heleen de Coninck (from the Energy Research Centre of the
Netherlands (ECN)), who believes that the risks posed by nuclear
energy outweigh its advantages and that it’s better to invest
in renewables and carbon capture and sequestration (CCS). The
audience took part in the debate, which triggered discussions
about which energy technologies are suitable to meet future energy
Juliette van der Laan, P.R. Manager at NRG (the
Dutch national nuclear research institute, in Petten), delivered
an interesting speech on how to deal with the media. She also
stressed the need to be open and transparent with the media and
to give them useful and concrete tips to the nuclear scientists
who are nominated to talk to the Dutch television during the technical
Organisation team EYGF 2007
The young nuclear professionals
then boarded a bus to Petten, to visit NRG’s facilities.
The participants could visit either the High Flux Reactor
(HFR) and the European Commission’s Joint Research
Centre (JRC) Hydrogen Laboratories, or the Hot Cell laboratories
and the ECN’s Renewable Energy Test Centre. The Dutch
television channel NOS followed the group throughout the
visit of the HFR and interviewed three representatives of
EYGF - from the Netherlands, Spain and Finland respectively.
The HFR, which is owned by the JRC and run by NRG-staff,
is used for the research of materials used for fission and
fusion, and also for producing isotopes for
medical applications (www.nrg-nl.com).
The programme was then broadcast during prime time hours.
The “fusion road show” was also “performed”
during EYGF. This show aims to explain the fundamental principle
of fusion in a clear and understandable way. It is based on the
CD Fusion - Power for Future Generations, produced by the European
Fusion Development Agreement (EFDA), which is available at:
EYGF was a great success and contributed to enhancing the profile
of the nuclear community.
The programme and the presentations during the forum are available