European Commission launches SNETP

On 21 September 2007, the EC launched the much-anticipated Sustainable Nuclear Energy Technology Platform (SNETP). Janez Potocnik, the EU’s Science and Research Commissioner, kicked off the launch conference in front of an impressive gathering of researchers, politicians, industry representatives, EC officials and environmental groups. Commissioner Potocnik outlined the concept and role of Technology Platforms. He explained why the EC supports one for nuclear energy, emphasising the pivotal role that nuclear energy has to play in the EU’s energy mix and stressing that “…nuclear power will be a very important part of their solution to security of supply and the reduction of greenhouse gases.”

The overriding aim of the SNETP is to facilitate closer integration between researchers and industry to enable the definition and implementation of a Strategic Research Agenda (SRA) and its corresponding Deployment Strategy (DS). It will help to maintain Europe’s R&D leadership in the nuclear research sector and provide nuclear energy’s contribution to the Strategic Energy Technology Plan (SETP) that aims to develop research into all low-carbon technologies in the EU.

A strategic document entitled SNETP: A Vision Report was published to coincide with the launch. This report, which was compiled with the support of industry, research institutes and the Euratom Scientific and Technical Committee, underlines in detail the special contribution made by nuclear energy to ensuring security of energy supply, promoting competitiveness and fighting climate change. It also provides a roadmap for the creation of the Strategic Research Agenda (SRA), highlighting the start-up, by 2020, of a new breed of fast reactors (Generation IV), advanced recycling processes and the production of alternative fuels, like hydrogen. The report also stresses the need for increased resources for education and training in nuclear engineering.

Details of the upcoming agenda and work programme of the SNETP were also outlined. The first significant step in the process will be the setting up, by 30 October 2007, of a Governing Board, an Executive Committee and Working Groups focusing on specific research fields. The chairpersons of these bodies will be elected on the same day and will be entitled to attend the first meeting of ENEF on 26 & 27 November 2007, in Bratislava. In early December 2007, a meeting will be held to launch the SRA and the DS activities. The finalised SRA and DS will be presented one year later at the first General Assembly of the SNETP.

Following on from the setting up of the High-Level Group on Safety and Radioactive Waste and the creation of ENEF, this latest initiative further endorses nuclear energy’s key role in the EU’s energy mix and in tackling the problems of security of supply and climate change – a role now officially recognised by the EU institutions.

Janez Potocnik

After Commissioner Potocnik’s opening speech, the launch conference began with the first of 3 panel debates. First up was a debate entitled The Role of Nuclear Energy in Tackling EU Energy Challenges, which was chaired by Zoran Stancic, Deputy Director General of DG RTD. Among the

panelists were MEP Romana. Jordan Cizelj (EPP-ED, Slovenia); MEP Philippe Busquin (PSE, Belgium) – a former EU Science and Research Commissioner – and Thomas Barrett, Director of the European Investment Bank (EIB)

The second panel debate was chaired by Deputy Director General of DG TREN, Dominique Ristori. It was entitled The Views of the Main Users of Nuclear Power and Heat and featured speakers from other industrial sectors and academia. These included Thierry De Bresson, Strategic Management, ALCAN (the metallurgy sector); Anders Hildeman, Vice President of SCA (paper and pulp industry), and Professor Jacques De Ruyck of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB), who had worked on the Commission 2030 Report for the Belgian government.

Finally, the third panel session was entitled The SNETP: from Vision Document to the Strategic Research Agenda and the Deployment Strategy. It was chaired by Simon Webster, Head of Unit DG RTD, J2 (Nuclear Fission). Among the speakers was Philippe Pradel of the CEA, who presented the Vision Report document; Roland Schenkel, Director General of the Joint Research Council (JRC) and Bernhard Fischer of E-ON.

Alain Bugat, Director General of the CEA, brought the conference to a close with a closing speech.

For further information about the launch event and the SNETP, you can consult: the press release of the EC:
( IP/07/1370&type=HTML&aged=0&language=EN&guiLanguage=en)
and the following websites:;

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