Atoms for the Future 2012 – A success story for the French Nuclear Young Generation network (SFEN-JG)
The 2012 edition of the annual Atoms for the Future conference took place in France from the 22 to 25 October. It focused on the “daily life" of nuclear power plants (NPP’s). The overarching topic of the conference sessions was NPP’s Operations & Maintenance.
Atoms for the Future 2012 consisted of two days of technical visits and two days of conference sessions. The event brought together 250 participants from 12 different countries, including Belgium, Japan, China, Austria, the United Kingdom, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Poland, Slovakia, Spain and the USA.
Atoms for the Future 2012 kicked off with two days of technical visits for a total of 40 participants from different countries and backgrounds. Each visit began with a theoretical introduction to familiarise participants with the basic technical knowledge they needed to fully enjoy the visit. On the first day participants had an opportunity to visit AREVA facilities in the Chalon area: the Creusot factories and the Chalon/Saint-Marcel plant. The former is where some of the NPP’s large components, such as steam generators, pressurisers, etc. are forged. The latter is where steam generators, reactor vessels, pressurisers and other large components are produced and assembled.
On the second day, participants visited EDF’s Nogent NPP. The tour included a look round the maintenance training centre, the control room simulator, the turbine hall and the fuel storage building (controlled area). According to the participants, the tour was a unique chance to get a better understanding of the different tasks performed in an NPP. It also helped them to appreciate the challenges of working in an NPP and, therefore, the need for extensive training.
Visit of EDF's Nogent NPP
The conference sessions started on 24 October, in Paris. There were many highlights during these two days. Senior guest speakers shared their knowledge with the participants, especially the Young Generation members. The structure of the presentations enabled attendees to understand the ins and outs of each topic, beginning with presentations that addressed specific technical issues. The debate was then broadened by opening it up to include other closely connected topics. The aims of the lectures were as follows:
To give participants easy access to facts and figures from the entire nuclear value chain
To enable participants to discover the different approaches of key actors active in the field (industrials, operators, academics and politicians)
To provide participants with technical information
To facilitate exchanges with expert speakers
To help participants understand the political context
Luc OURSEL, SFEN’s Chairman and President and Chief Executive Officer of AREVA, opened the two days of conference sessions. During his very enthusiastic presentation he gave an overview of the perspectives for nuclear energy around the world. It was followed by a presentation from Eric MAUCORT, Deputy Director of Nuclear Operations at EDF, on the objectives and challenges facing the nuclear industry.
These presentations were followed by others devoted to specific maintenance and outage activities in the NPPs, which featured the participation, notably, of Christophe BEHAR, Director of the Nuclear Energy Division at the CEA. He explained the CEA’s key activities carried out in support of the operating fleet of NPP’s. Participants also enjoyed presentations from international speakers, notably one on the management of outages given by Steven LAU, First Deputy General Manager at CGNPC and another on the replacement of heavy components by Luc VANHOENACKER, Deputy General Manager of the Nuclear Department of Tractebel Engineering.
Other presentations focused on related safety issues. These included one by Markus BIRKHOFER, Executive Vice President of AREVA’s Fuel Business Unit, who outlined the importance of fuel design to the performance and safety of NPP’s. Claude JAOUEN, Senior Executive Vic -President at AREVA’s Reactor and Services Business Group, then focused delegates attention on NPPs’ safety and profitability for AREVA’s Installed Base Business.
Participants also had the honour of welcoming André-Claude LACOSTE, Chairman of the French Nuclear Safety Authority (ASN), who gave a presentation on the role of the safety authorities. This presentation was followed by Jacques REPUSSARD, Director General of IRSN (France’s Radiation Protection and Safety Institute), who gave a talk on environmental and health management.
In order to get a more international view on safety issues, Conrad DUBE, Project Manager at WANO, underlined the importance of human performance and safety culture. Such key topics have also been considered for Generation III plants, such as ATMEA1. Takashi KANAGAWA, the ATMEA1 Project Manager, then explained the progress made to date on the operability of Generation III NPP’s.
Denis JANIN, from the SFEN-JG presented upcoming international Young Generation events, such as the ENYGF2013 conference in Sweden and IYNC2014 conference in Spain.
In view of the success of the first three editions of the Atoms for the Future conference, the SFEN-JG is willing to continue to develop and organise this successful event. With its combination of visits and conference sessions it is now a proven concept of great value to both young professionals and companies, who are given a forum to meet and exchange views on a broad range of generic and specific topics.
Since Atoms for the Future offers a large range of benefits we would like to share the concept with other people. Indeed, this event is not only a valuable event for participants, but also gives greater exposure to the SFEN-JG and its activities. Furthermore, after the Fukushima accident, it is necessary to continue to reassure young people who are motivated to meet the challenges of nuclear energy. In our view, sharing experience and knowledge is one possible answer. Atoms for the Future does, indeed, have a bright future.
Next year’s conference is already being prepared: Atoms for the Future 2013 will be devoted to the topic of Nuclear Energy and the Power Grid. It will be held in Paris from 21 - 24 October. The event will give participants a chance to to enjoy technical visits and listen to outstanding presentations. Young professionals and students from all backgrounds and countries are welcome!
All the material presented during the conference sessions is available on our web site at: www.sfenjg.org/The-conferences,551