Word from the President
The third quarter of this year started with the highly successful TopFuel conference, in Manchester. This was followed by the prognosis made by Yukiya Amano, Director General of the IAEA, during his opening speech at the IAEA’s General Conference, in Vienna, that even in the most pessimistic case scenario nuclear capacity will grow by 25% by 2030.
At the 56th General Conference of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which took place in Vienna, from 17 to 21 September 2012, Yukiya Amano, the Agency’s Director General, presented the IAEA’s annually updated report on the development of global nuclear power. As an ENS representative I was given the opportunity to join this meeting as an observer. Based on his new forecast, Mr. Amano indicated that "nuclear energy remains an important option 18 months after the accident, for many countries." In the forecast he stated that even in the most pessimistic case scenario nuclear capacity worldwide will grow by 25% by 2030. Europe will not play in important role in that scenario and, personally, I think this is very unfortunate.
The following week I was able to attend a meeting of the EHRO-N Group (European Human Resource Observatory in the Nuclear Energy Sector), where important work is done to analyse how the supply of future experts for the nuclear industry in Europe responds to demand. Do we have enough universities offering lectures on nuclear-related subjects? Are there enough students in the nuclear sector? Are the experts sufficiently mobile? These, and other important questions, are the main focus of EHRO-N’s members. ENS strongly supports the work that EHRO-N does and I kindly ask you to spend about 3 minutes of your time to fill in a short questionnaire that will support this challenging project (ehron.jrc.ec.europa.eu/).
During the meeting I was also able give a presentation on the nuclear education system in Switzerland, and in particular a project that the Swiss Nuclear Society repeated this year for the fourth time, the Basic Seminar. As you will read later on in this edition of ENS NEWS, it was once again a success story. I want to encourage our member societies to check out if this concept of a 3-day basic seminar could be adapted to suit your country’s particular context. We give a short overview of the status of the nuclear energy sector, starting with the general energy situation, and then launch discussions on the production methods of electricity, before going more deeply into the basic principles of nuclear. Reactor technology, types and safety are the focus of the second day of the course. On the third day the political and environmental background is examined. The seminar concludes with a visit of a NPP nearby.
From an EU policy perspective the third quarter of this year saw the publication by the EC of its Communication on the stress tests process. Speaking at a Nuclear Industry Safety Seminar, organised by FORATOM, Peter Faross, Acting Deputy Director General of DG Energy and Director of Nuclear Energy, reiterated one of the main conclusions of the Communication, namely that the overall safety level of Europe’s nuclear power plants was satisfactory and that as a result of the process not a single power plant was required to close. He added that a significant number of improvements still needed to be made and that all nuclear countries in Europe will be required to provide a National Action Plan detailing how they intend to implement these improvements by the end of 2012. These action plans will then be peer reviewed and an EC report on the peer review conclusions will be published. Finally, Mr. Faross also announced that the EC intends to put forward a Proposal on insurance and liability in 2013 and another one on the revision of the Safety Directive.
It was certainly a busy quarter and the next one promises to be equally so!
I look forward to seeing you at the ENC2012 conference, in Manchester, from 9-12 December.
President of ENS