ENS NEWS N° 33 (summer 2011):
Bruised but not battered
Not surprisingly, one event has dominated the nuclear agenda in the last few months – and will doubtless continue to do so for a long time to come - the dramatic and unprecedented events that occurred at Fukushima in March and their aftermath. This edition of ENS NEWS reflects that reality.
With the political and media focus on nuclear safety understandably sharper than before Fukushima, and the process for elaborating the stress tests criteria having proven to be quite a can of worms, it would be logical to assume that the wind might have been taken out of the nuclear industry’s sails. And yet, in spite of the anti-nuclear fraternity whipping up a media storm, and notwithstanding the negative political fall-out that has occurred in Germany, Italy and Switzerland, the nuclear industry has charted a relatively steady course through stormy waters. The European nuclear community as a whole has emerged reasonably unscathed from the unfolding drama in Japan. It has been quick to assert its commitment to learning the lessons of Fukushima and putting them to good use and to reaffirm its safety credentials. Safety has always been, and will always remain, its top priority.
It is significant to note that there has been no significant loss of forward momentum in the majority of countries that have new build projects in place or are preparing to launch nuclear for the first time. Although there has been an undeniable and inevitable decrease in public confidence registered in some countries, this has not been as dramatic or across-the-board as one might have expected. Indeed, public acceptance of nuclear energy has held up well under the circumstances. Of course, it remains to be seen how developing events in Japan, and the results of the stress tests once they have been carried out, are likely to affect the nuclear community in the medium and long term. Contributions to this and future editions of ENS NEWS will doubtless reveal how the nuclear science community, from the grass roots up, is experiencing the post-Fukushima era. One thing is for sure – Fukushima has been a watershed moment for the community.
N° 33 kicks off with the traditional Word from the President opener, which puts the spotlight on the subject of education and training and features an unusual reference to the famous American Indian chief, Sitting Bull. Fukushima is back on the agenda as Andrew Teller’s thought-provoking contribution focuses on the facts and polarised opinions that have emerged three months after the Fukushima accident occurred and compares Fukushima with Chernobyl.
The Events section features two contributions that concentrate on that ENS flagship conference dedicated to nuclear education and training - NESTet 2011. The first is a general report and appreciation of this important international conference compiled by participants from FORATOM and ENS. The second one is delivered from the perspective of COGENT, the Sector Skills Council for Chemicals, Nuclear, Oil and Gas, Petroleum and Polymers, in the UK. COGENT and the OECD/NEA joined forces to present a session on education and training at NESTet
This edition has a bumper Member Societies and Corporate Members section. It features detailed reports and news updates from the French, Bulgarian, Spanish, Hungarian and Romania societies. Also included are: an analysis by SCK-CEN of the results of two recent multi-partner research projects focusing on waste management models, which received funding under EURATOM’s FP5 and FP7 programme; the latest in high-tech gamma radiation dose measurement technology and two Westinghouse events related to supplier networks and the post-Fukushima stress tests, respectively.
The YGN Report section of ENS N° 33 offers articles from the Belgian and Spanish YGN sections, a tribute to the winner of the Jan Runermark Award (Helmut Böck) that was recently announced by the Austrian YGN and a report by the Czech YGN on the European Nuclear Young Generation Forum (ENYGF) 2011, which ran back-to-back with NESTet 2011, in Prague.
The ENS World News section contains the usual selection of newsworthy stories that made the NucNet front pages, an early teaser on next year’s International Youth Nuclear Congress (IYNC 2012), in Charlotte USA, and a reminder of the busy schedule of ENS sponsored conferences in the pipeline.
I would like to wish all ENS NEWS readers lots of fun, sun and well-earned rest during the summer break. Hopefully you will return refreshed, energised and not too sun-burnt.
Enjoy your ENS NEWS N° 33!
Editor-in-Chief, ENS NEWS