International Youth Nuclear Congress 2014
“Up to the challenge”
The 8th International Youth Nuclear Congress (IYNC 2014) took place in Burgos, Spain, from 6-12 July 2014. The congress provided a platform for global networking for a new nuclear generation. The conference is hosted once every two years and is dedicated not only to young nuclear professionals, but also to their senior colleagues. The event’s objective is to enable the sharing of knowledge and experience between a culturally diverse audience that represents all six continents of the world.
Under the headline: ‘Up to the challenge’ the young nuclear generation present wanted to prove to the world that following the Fukushima accident they are ready for the new challenges ahead, such as improving safety standards beyond ‘unexpected events’, enhancing new technology and continuing with the renaissance of Gen-III reactors.
The congress started at the FORUM Evolucion Congress Center on the evening of 6 July, with registration and an Opening Reception that was followed by Welcome Drinks.
On 7 July, after the Opening Address and welcome speeches delivered by Nicolas Anciaux, IYNC 2014 President, and Raquel Ochoa Valero, IYNC2014 General Co-Chairman from the host country, the Opening Session got under way.
The Opening Session of IYNC2014 featured addresses from Francisco Lopez, President of the Spanish Nuclear Society, who delivered an inspiring message about the current state of nuclear energy in Spain and the challenges and opportunities that it faces, and Fernando Gomez Aguado, Deputy Mayor of Burgos, who welcomed the participants to the historic city of Burgos, the ‘Pride of Castile’ - one of the most beautiful cities in Spain. He also welcomed participants to the largest ‘youth nuclear conference’ on the calendar.
The Keynote Session featured outstanding invited speakers. Alejo Vidal-Quadras, a former Vice-President of the European Parliament, from Spain, delivered a speech about the main challenges facing nuclear, resources dependence, and the role of nuclear energy in the energy market. Another guest speaker, Danny Roderick, President and CEO, Westinghouse, USA, delivered a speech about Westinghouse’s business structure, new nuclear build in USA, the market fundamentals and the role of nuclear energy in the future. The main message for the nuclear young generation from Mr. Roderick was the need to set your “True North”. No one knows exactly what pathway our lives will follow, but to really achieve our goals, to reach our maximum potential, to live a full and rewarding life, we need to establish and hold on to our own set of values, our own True North.
Next up was the Country Reports Session, which provided another unique opportunity for the international Young Generation Network (YGN) member countries to share their national reports (more than 30 country reports featured brief summaries of nuclear developments and YGN activities in each country).
From Monday afternoon onwards, and for the rest of the week, the IYNC2014 continued at the Atapuerca Conference Center, which belongs to the ABBA Burgos Hotel.
The IYNC2014 conference programme featured excellent technical content. More than 70 speakers from 5 continents, most of them highly recognised experts or leaders of nuclear industry and R&D environment, presented their work. The Technical Programme session, which was chaired by Denis Janin, was based on three pillars: Technical Tracks, Workshops, andPlenary & Panel sessions. Its main objective was to ensure that every participant would go back home with meaningful and innovative takeaways from IYNC2014, while having at the same time expanded his or her network.
The Technical Tracks, chaired by Alberto Foronda-Delgado, enabled knowledge transfer among young and experienced professionals from all around the world, promoted networking, and contributed to the personal development of participants. There were 11 different technical tracks: Plant Operation and Maintenance, Design Modifications, Radiation Protection; New Reactors (Gen 3+ and SMRs); Reactor Physics and Materials (including Advanced Reactors, e.g. Gen 4); Nuclear Safety, PRA, Severe Accidents and Fukushima-related topics; Fuel Cycle front end and non-proliferation; Decommissioning, Waste Management and Fuel Cycle back-end; Nuclear Fusion; Training, HR development, Organizational Factors; Nuclear Politics and Economics, Communication, Social Acceptance; Nuclear Medicine and Non-Electric Power Applications and YGN Best Practices.
Participants had the opportunity during the 4 days to attend more than 140 oral presentations in 30 oral sessions, one poster session with more than 40 posters presented, and one related Special Session - the 8th 2014 ENEN PhD Event.
The best papers will be published in the Spanish Nuclear Society Journal and in the Nuclear Science and Engineering journal – a publication by the American Nuclear Society, published following a corresponding external peer review process.
Workshops, chaired by Crystian Ioppolo, were designed to provide a more interactive educational experience for IYNC2014 participants, as well as unique networking opportunities. There were 15 interactive workshops and 4 media training workshops, which together developed innovative concepts on various key topics.
The Plenary & Panel Sessions, chaired by Kristine Madden and Shengke Zhi, invited a number of world nuclear leaders, recognized experts and numerous youth leaders to share, learn and discuss the most popular topics from across the international nuclear sector. They gave a unique opportunity for participants to meet and debate with recognized industry leaders and experts on cutting edge topics for the energy and nuclear energy industry.
The showing of the film Pandora’s Promise, a groundbreaking new film about the myths and science behind nuclear energy, was introduced by Suzy Hobbs, and was followed by a debate with the movie’s director, Robert Stone.
The Fukushima Special Session, organized by Kenta Horio, provided the latest updates on the situation at Fukushima since the accident. Presentations from Japanese experts covered both onsite and offsite issues, including decommissioning, environmental restoration and regional revitalization. There were discussions on the challenges facing nuclear since the accident.
The 8th 2014 ENEN PhD Event Special Session was organized by the European Nuclear Education Network (ENEN), in cooperation with the Joint Research Centre (JRC) of the European Commission. They organize this PhD Event every year to highlight and reward the work of excellent PhD students.
The technical programme finished on 11 July. It was by followed by a programme of full-day technical tours: Tour 1 - Heavy Components Factory (ENSA, Equipos Nucleares S.A.), Tour 2 – Fuel Assembly Factory (ENUSA Industrials Avanzadas S.A.), Tour 3 – Santa Maria de Garona NPP (Nuclenor S.A.), Tour 4 – Control Room Simulators (TECNATOM), Tour 5 – Decommissioning of a Nuclear Power Plant (Jose Cabrera – Zorita), Tour 6 – Fusion Laboratory (CIEMAT). The technical tours provided a complete overview of the nuclear fuel cycle, from fuel assembly and components fabrication through operation to decommissioning and dismantling, as well as research centers and simulators for operators’ training.
The Social Events programme was very well organised. It was chaired by Silvia Ortega, and included following events: 6 July, evening – the Opening Reception in the FORUM Evolucion Congress Center; 7 July, evening - Portia Winery visit; 8 July, evening – a gastronomic tour in the Burgos center with a visit to the Cathedral; 10 July, evening – the Farewell dinner at the Coco Atapuerca restaurant and 12 July – a visit to a Bullring - the CAPEA.
On 9 July, evening, the IYNC Board of Directors meeting took place, during which the participants elected a new IYNC President - Melissa Crawford. The country that will host next conference, IYNC 2016, was also announced – China.
In my opinion, the International Youth Nuclear Congress 2014 was a professional and social success, due to the sharing of knowledge and experience between the nuclear young generation, the opportunity that was exploited to learn from senior nuclear professionals, the communicating within a truly international environment, and the great possibilities that it offered to develop further networks.
But of course, there is still room for improvement. Donald Hoffman, Immediate Past President of the American Nuclear Society, who spoke about leadership, reminded us of the need to “Think Out-Of-The-Box”. I can tell that this nuclear young generation is willing to explore things that are out of their comfort zone and to do everything they can to achieve a creative breakthrough.
I would like to thank very much ENSYGN and the IYNC Committee for the opportunity they gave me to participate in this congress. I wish IYNC2016 in China every success!