Marseille plays host to ENC 2014
The European Nuclear Conference (ENC) 2014 took place in Marseille, France, from 11-14 May 2014. The Welcome Reception, sponsored by GDF Suez, took place on the evening of the Sunday 11th at the Regards de Provence Museum on the city’s waterfront.
On Monday, the opening session began with the conference chair, Bernard Bigot, welcoming the participants. Around 400 delegates attended the conference, with a very strong presence from European countries, but with presenters also coming from countries including the USA, Brazil, Malaysia, India, Japan, China, and South Korea.
The opening panel featured speeches from Noel Camarcat, Director Executive Group Production and Engineering at EDF, and ENS President; Frank Deconinck, ENC 2014 Programme Committee Chairman, and Honorary ENS President; Milo Alani, Chairman of the ENS Young Generation Network and Donald Hoffman, President of the American Nuclear Society (ANS). Noel Camarcat’s speech was delivered on behalf of Hervé Machenaud, Director of Executive Group Production at EDF, who was unable to attend. In the speech Mr Machenaud discussed how the Young Generation Network was founded and underlined its importance for networking and collaboration between institutions. Frank Deconinck highlighted the main issues and topics covered by the conference programme. Milo Alani then discussed the work the ANS has done to engage the public and the young generation, and emphasised the need to get across the benefits of a nuclear power station to the local community when siting it. Donald Hoffman gave a welcome address on behalf of ANS.
Keynote speeches were then delivered by Noel Camarcat, and Osamu Motojima, Director General of ITER, who emphasised the international partnership involved in ITER’s construction and gave an update of progress on the ground.
This was followed by plenary sessions delivered by a range of key figures from government, industry, academia and international organisations. Agneta Rising, Director General of the World Nuclear Association (WNA) emphasised the need for nuclear new build and chaired a round table of experts including Arthur de Montalembert from AREVA, Nikolai Drozdov from Rosatom, Philippe Anglaret from the French Nuclear Suppliers Association, David Powell from GE Hitachi and David Boath from AMEC. The panel discussed the feasibility of financing and implementing a local supply chain for nuclear new build, and the importance of a skilled workforce.
Keith Parker from the UK’s Nuclear Industry Association (NIA) discussed the development of a supply chain for UK new build. Jorma Aurela from the Ministry of Employment and Economy, Finland, highlighted the challenges that the Finnish government faced in planning for new build, including local challenges finding sites reactors. Paul Rorive discussed GDF Suez’s involvement as an intelligent operator of nuclear plants in Belgium and their plans for involvement in new build in the UK. Zbigniew Kubacki from the Nuclear Energy Department in Poland discussed Poland’s decision to introduce nuclear power, placing this in the historical context of a previous attempt which was subsequently reversed.
After lunch, Michel Debes discussed the EDF nuclear fleet. Pal Efsing of KTH, Sweden’s Royal Institute of Technology, discussed the difficulties of guaranteeing the safety of an ageing fleet of reactors, which is relevant in many countries. Bozidar Krajnc discussed safety upgrades to Slovenia’s nuclear plant. Bjarne Noren discussed the World Association of Nuclear Operators’ role in strengthening nuclear safety, by demanding a high standard of safety from its members.
Monday finished with parallel sessions on new build, plant operations and nuclear technology in society. A workshop organised by the Young Generation Network was also scheduled, which covered the needs of different stakeholders for reactor new build, with emphasis on a country with no previous nuclear experience. The attendees had an opportunity to take part and discuss different stakeholder needs, which was an excellent chance for delegates both young and experienced to exchange ideas.
Tuesday morning kicked off with parallel sessions on new build, plant operations, coolant & fuel technology, severe accidents and fuel cycle. This was followed by a plenary session which initially focussed on medical applications. Wolfgang Weiss of UNSCEAR gave a talk on radiation exposure from Fukushima, and Fiona Rayment of the UK’s National Nuclear Laboratory (NNL) gave a talk on use of nuclear decay and nuclear reactors as power sources for space applications. This was followed by a poster session which gave industry, government and academic delegates from a wide range of countries chance to present their work. After lunch, their were further parallel sessions covering a wide range of topics including materials fusion, fuel fabrication, life science applications, education & training, core analysis, decommissioning, severe accidents, fuel cycle and new build.
On the Tuesday night, the conference dinner took place at the Palace Pharo on the Marseille waterfront, offering a panoramic view of the beautiful port and marinas. This was an excellent opportunity for delegates to network, chat and catch up with old acquaintances.
Wednesday morning began bright and early with talks on a diverse range of topics, divided into parallel sessions on safety review, waste treatment, non-power applications and fuel cycle scenarios. After a brief coffee break, the final set of parallel sessions covered used fuel, reactor simulation, plant operations and education & training.
In the final plenary session of the conference, Christophe Behar, Director of the Nuclear Energy Division of CEA (France’s Commissariat for Atomic and Alternative Energy), gave an outline of the challenges facing nuclear fission, with emphasis on a future nuclear fuel cycle which was sustainable from the point of view of uranium utilisation and waste management. Ferry Roelofs, of the Dutch utility NRG, then gave an overview of the workforce demands for nuclear new build, in particular for construction of new plants to replace the current fleet as it reaches the end of its life. Finally, Ron Cameron of the OECD Nuclear Energy Agency gave a talk on the economics of the back end of the nuclear fuel cycle.
In the closing session, Milo Alani gave the audience a breakdown of the demographics of the conference dinner attendees. The average age of attendees was just under 50 and on average around 20 years of experience in the nuclear industry. Just over 20% of the attendees were female, and these tended to be slightly younger than average, suggesting that this percentage could rise in the future. Ingeborg Hagelocher, President of the ENS High Scientific Council, and Noel Camarcat, the ENS President, thanked the delegates for attending and closed the conference.
Engineering Department, University of Cambridge, UK