It is interesting to be a part of an international conference that gathers together young professionals from the nuclear sector from all over the world. The European Nuclear Young Generation Forum 2013 (ENYGF) took place from 17-20 June in Stockholm, Sweden and welcomed over 300 participants from 23 countries, mostly from Europe. The ENYGF is a biennial conference organized alternately with International Youth Nuclear Congress (IYNC). It provides a great opportunity to discuss, every other year, the crucial nuclear issues of the day and each time in a different continent (Europe, Asia, America or Africa).
This year the ENYGF 2013 organisers offered a diverse programme dedicated to three main subjects: operating nuclear power plants, decommissioning and waste and nuclear power in the future. Participants were able to choose between different parallel technical sessions, 17 interactive workshops and sessions organized within the framework of what is called an “unconference”. The idea of the “unconference” is that the conference delegates decide which topic should be discussed and write a proposal on a flipchart. Each of the participants has the opportunity to either subscribe to the proposed subject or suggest a new one. This participant-driven concept offers more flexibility for discussions and teamwork projects.
ENYGF 2013 was opened by the representatives of the two main conference sponsors: Vattenfall and Westinghouse. First, Torbjörn Wahlborg, Senior Executive Vice President and Head of BD Nuclear Power at Vattenfall AB, underlined in his welcoming speech that the future of the nuclear industry depends on talented, well-trained and empowered young professionals. Furthermore, he talked about the importance of nuclear safety: “there is no competition between safety standards and being competitive”.
Second, Yves Brachet, President, Europe, Middle East and Africa, Westinghouse Electric Company, recalled the greatest achievements of electricity and nuclear power. He stressed that the nuclear young generation is facing two main challenges in the nuclear sector: economic competitiveness and public acceptance.
The first day of the conference concluded with a formal dinner in the magnificent venue of the Vasa Museum. During the dinner delegates were able to a tast a range of of Swedish gastronomic specialties. Also present were high level representatives of the Swedish nuclear industry, as well as Marco Streit, ENS President and Milo Alani, Chairman of ENS-YGN, who awarded Professor Heikki Kalli from Finland the Jan Runermark Award. This award is presented to an individual in recognition of his outstanding service to the the young nuclear generation.
On 18 June, delegates were able to choose from seven technical visits. During a one-day trip to Westinghouse Electric Sweden, in Västerås, I visited one of the world’s largest nuclear fuel factories, as well as the service centre and fuel test laboratory. It was interesting to see how the fuel assemblies for PWRs and BWRs are manufactured and handled.
On 19 June, ENS and ENS–YGN offered ENYGF 2013 delegates a chance to participate in an interactive workshop entitled Knowledge Transfer and New Tools. After a short introduction to traditional educational tools and e-learning options three speakers presented the different E&T activities of their organisations. Tatiana Karseka from IAEA explained the meaning of knowledge transfer and management and good practices recommended by the IAEA in this area. Javier Nieto from Tecnatom, presented four different full-scope simulators, including a 3D one, that are used during training courses offered by Tecnatom. Finally, Mattias Lanzelot, from Uppsala University, gave a lecture on nuclear physics with a use of clickers - an interactive tool which helps the students and teachers to check if the course was understandable.
On the penultimate and final day of this young professionals' conference, two particularly inspiring presentations were given. One was by Sigval Berg, from the USA, who has held various leading positions at American NPPs, INPO and WANO, and the other was by Mr and Mrs Jackson from Sweden, who hold senior positions at Swedish energy companies. Sigval Berg offered a fresh look at leadership, which he said should be viewed by young career-oriented professionals with selfless courage and consideration for those will follow after them.
Åsa and Anders Jackson then explained the importance of keeping the correct balance between career and private life.
To summarize, ENYGF 2013 provided a unique platform for an open dialogue between young professionals and leaders of the nuclear sector. Participants in the conference contributed to interesting discussions, listened to inspiring lectures, took part in interactive workshops, enjoyed great social events and met new colleagues from all over Europe. Congratulations to the organisers! The next edition of ENYGF will take place in 2015, in Paris. I’m already looking forward to participating in this event!
For more information on ENYGF 2013, the programme content, speakers etc. please go to: www.enygf2013.com
Emilia Janisz, ENS