RRFM 2012: A Young Generation perspective
The annual RRFM (Research Reactor Fuel Management) conference took place this year in Prague, the Czech Republic, from 18 to 22 March. It was organised in conjunction with IGORR (International Group on Research Reactors) in order to create a kind of “European Research Reactor Conference” focused not only on research reactor fuel management issues, but also on all aspects of research reactor operation. The conference was opened by Jean-Pol Poncelet, ENS Secretary General; Dr. Martin Ruscak, Director of Rez Research Centre Ltd., in Prague, and Dr. Jan Kysela, Scientific Director at Rez Research Centre Ltd.
The conference programme was organised around 8 sessions – International Programmes; Fuel; Operation, Maintenance & Safety Reassessment; Utilisation of Research Reactors; New Research Projects; Innovative Methods in Research Reactor Analysis and Design; The worldwide impact of the Fukushima-Daiichi Accident on Research Reactor Stakeholders and Medical Applications. Given the number of participants, it was necessary to organise each session in parallel, except for the one dedicated to International Programmes. With so many interesting topics on offer, it was difficult for delegates to choose the session most relevant to them. Many of the topics covered during the sessions were further discussed during the coffee breaks. The tight schedule and the carefully planned programme made it necessary to limit several debates to the auditorium and there wasn’t always enough time to answer all questions asked. Luckily, extra room was provided to encourage further individual break-out sessions.
From my point of view, the most important session was the one on Innovative Methods in Research Reactor Analysis and Design. The presentations during this session were focussed more on the numerical solutions used in nuclear reactor analysis.
Beside the oral presentations, there was also a poster session, with 42 posters on display during the designated sessions.
Another important contribution to the conference was the technical tours. There were two options on offer: firstly, there was a visit to Rez Research Centre Ltd. The second one involved a visit to the VR-1 training reactor at the Czech Technical University, in Prague.
An essential part of any conference is the social programme, which allows participants to make knew contacts and to finish discussions that couldn’t be completed either during the question and answer sessions or the coffee breaks. And the RRFM social programme didn’t disappoint. Unfortunately, I did not take part in the conference dinner, but based on the pictures posted later in the photo gallery it was a very enjoyable evening.
RRFM 2012 brought together a broad range of professionals, including those who work with a variety of research reactors, researchers at specialised institutes and representatives of supervisory bodies. The goal of the event was to exchange knowledge and techniques, to share experiences and expertise and to network among fellow nuclear professionals. Additional meetings organised enabled people to work together to find collective solutions to common operational problems, to help to improve education and training programmes and to foster the forming of coalitions.
I really enjoyed the time I spent at RRFM 2012 and I am looking forward to the next ENS conference.
Lenka Heraltova, Czech Technical University, Prague, Czech YGN