36th Annual Meeting
The Annual Meeting of the Spanish Nuclear Society held in Santiago de Compostela, in October, was once again a success. The number of delegates who participated was over 560, and in addition there were over 100 accompanying guests, making a total attendance of about 700 people. Among those participating were around 30 corporate sponsors and 34 exhibitors.
The meeting agenda featured 29 technical sessions and 266 papers. Of the 29 sessions all bar one were oral ones – the exception being one poster session. In addition, monographic sessions took place on such interesting topics as "Science and Technology Development at CERN," "New Developments in Inspection and Materials Technology" and "European Initiatives on Nuclear Energy."
Courses have been completed aimed at encouraging the exchange of information and knowledge on topics like "Liberalisation of Gas and Electricity in Spain," "Experiences and Impressions of the Nuclear Youth members at Chernobyl" and "Management of Design Modifications in a Nuclear Power Plant."
Among the social events on the agenda of the Annual Meeting that warrant special mention were the gift to the Apostle Santiago that was presented on behalf of the SNE by our President, and the Medal of the Society that was awarded to José Luis González, president of ENUSA, who throughout his well–known career has always provided invaluable support to the activities of SNE.
The Nuclear Youth Generation once again organised its "Basic Course in Nuclear Science and Technology", which this year benefited from the collaboration of EPRI (Electric Power Research Institute), and institutional support from the University of Santiago de Compostela (USC). Women in Nuclear (WiN) organised a conference on "Energy Saving and Efficiency", showing the increasing need to optimise our energy consumption, taking into account that energy is a finite commodity that we cannot afford to waste.
The main focus of the meeting was the future of energy in our country and the world. It is noticeable how developed countries and emerging economies are making decisions regarding medium to long-term energy planning. These include decisions on the role of nuclear energy as part of the energy mix in their countries, thereby prolonging the operation of their power plants - as was the case recently in Germany. Other decisions involve new build planning. The point of view of SNE is that Spain cannot escape this reality.
This year the meeting centred around three plenary sessions. The first one was devoted to "Nuclear Energy Advertising in Spain and the World." The session presented the aspects that determine the success or failure of communications campaigns, and why it is that the messages that are communicated reach the public more easily in some countries than in others.
The second plenary session was devoted to the "Ibero-American Nuclear Programme", and featured the presence of leading speakers from Argentina, Brazil and Mexico. It highlighted the current situation and future plans of the nuclear industry in those countries. It also illustrated the reasoning that has guided their decisions on energy planning, decisions that were reached having taken into account various potential scenarios, and bearing in mind their objective of achieving the greatest possible consensus to ensure stability in the medium and long-term.
The third plenary session was devoted to the relationship between the "Energy and the Electric Vehicle", showing not only the opportunities that the development of these vehicles can offer, but also the risks they pose for the generation and distribution system.
In addition to the plenary sessions, there were a number of presentations highlighting the latest technologies used in our industry. These were included within the broad programme of technical sessions and included discussions on such issues as nuclear safety, fuel, radioactive waste, nuclear medicine and radiation protection. Special importance is given to research and development that aims to promote the continuous improvement of the operation and maintenance of our plants, as well as the participation of the Spanish industry in the new international projects.
The 37th Annual Meeting will be held next year, in October, in the city of Burgos. It will coincide with the 40th anniversary of the Central Nuclear de Santa María de Garoña.
Miguel Millán, president of Spanish Nuclear Youth Generation has been elected President of the International Youth Nuclear Congress Network, replacing Hans Korteweg (FORATOM).
Presidency changes have occurred in three committees (WiN, Nuclear Youth Generation and Programmes), thereby ensuring the continuity of SNE.
All representatives of the energy sector in Spain claim that an agreement on energy has been reached by the two major parties, the PSOE, now in government, and the PP, in opposition. These parties have agreed upon the upgrade of the electricity bill and attempts are being made to reach a consensus for a long-term pact to determine the energy scenario in 20 or 25 years. This would allow the Spanish energy sector to plan more effective and stable strategies for growth and development.
The Committee responsible for choosing the location for the Centralised Temporary Storage (ATC) of nuclear waste has presented a report to the Council of Ministers, in which Zarra (Valencia) received the best rating (Ascó, Tarragona, came second). The report does not prejudice any individual candidate’s chances of winning, but instead carries out an assessment according to several criteria, so that the Council of Ministers can make its final decision. The government postponed its final decision after receiving the results of a new report referred which it refers to the state’s legal services.