COP14 «Debating Nuclear and Climate Change »

International Young Generation Networks kicks off COP side event in Poznan.

COP 14 a major event

United Nation COP14 (Conference of Parties of the United Nation Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)) dealing with international policies on climate change took place in Poznan, Poland, from 1 - 12 December 2008. Around 10-15 thousand participants attended this major event, representing national delegations, NGOs and various observer organisations.

YGN delegation in the main negotiation room
YGN delegation in the main negotiation room

The European Nuclear Society, together with the Young Generation Network, represented the nuclear community along with WNA/FORATOM and the IAEA. Both organisations had exhibition stands there within the main hall. They hosted many visitors and distributed an extensive amount of documentation. Five members of YGN in Europe, and beyond, made up the nuclear delegation: Igor Vukovic (Chairman of ENS-YGN, FER), Hans Korteweg (Chairman of IYNC, FORATOM), Wim Uyttenhove (Chair of the Belgian Nuclear Society YGN, SCKCEN) Alexey Lokhov (French Nuclear Society YGN, CEA) and Edouard Hourcade (Co-chairman of  ENS-YGN, CEA).

A “slot” to debate nuclear and climate change

Hundreds of applications were received from NGOs wanting to snatch up one of the 80 precious slots available for official side events over the 2 weeks. Eventually, organisers had to go through a drastic selection process and strongly encouraged that side events merge. ENS-YGN came up with an original format and was eventually selected as an official side event organizer.

Igor Vukovic kicked off the YGN side event with a presentation of ENS-YGN activities. Hans Korteweg continued with a technical speech entitled Climate change: can we do without nuclear? Hans discussed the carbon footprint of various energy sources and insisted on the great future that low carbon options such as nuclear energy promise.

Alexey Lokhov then gave a technical speech based on the French experience. It covered the following items:

  • current development of the nuclear fleet with 3rd generation reactors

  • current available fuel cycles

  • fourth generation fast reactors and their potential for fuel cycle closing

After the presentations, time was set aside for a long discussion with the audience, chaired by Wim Uyttenhove and Edouard Hourcade.

“Debating Nuclear and Climate Change” side event in Wild sheep room

“Debating Nuclear and Climate Change” side event in Wild sheep room

A very diverse audience

The audience (roughly 50 people) was very diverse: several representatives of ecologist organisations were present (e.g. Greenpeace, WECF, etc.), as were delegates from Brazil, China and Belarus and other members of the nuclear “community” - like the WNA and the IAEA.

The questions asked focussed mainly on economical performance, the cost of the nuclear fleet, Generation IV development, safety and investment in other CO2 free energy sources…

This event organized by ENS-YGN was recognised as a success by many of the participants. We distributed a lot of greatly appreciated technical information and made it clear exactly what was at stake within the nuclear industry.  

YGN would like to thank ENS, SFEN, CNS, BNS, SCKCEN, CEA and FER for their great support.

Edouard Hourcade
Co-chairman,  ENS-YGN


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