"Nuclear R&D in Europe: status and future"
This was the subject of a roundtable organised by
the Belgian Nuclear Society on Thursday 17 June 2004.
The discussion panel was composed of:
- Prof. Michel Giot, Professor at UCL and SCK/CEN
- Mr. Dominique Hittner, AREVA FANP Project Manager,
- Mr. Jacques Pirson, Tractebel R&D,
- Mr. Roland Schenkel, JRC Deputy Director;
- Mr. Claude Truffin, ULB R&D Director and
SCK/CEN Managing Director.
Industry representatives (Messrs Hittner, Pirson)
provided the industry perspective on the question by describing
the actions of their respective companies in the field of R&D.
Prof. Giot focused its contribution on an analysis
of the threats and opportunities faced in particular by the nuclear
sector. R. Schenkel then raised the topical issue of whether the
nuclear sector was experiencing the end of a period of transition.
He was keen to emphasise that, from his point of view, a more
positive attitude was now surfacing in Europe, as suggested by
recent newspaper articles. He considered that three conditions
had to be fulfilled to confirm this trend. The continued industrial
leadership is essential, he noted, as is closing the nuclear cycle,
which enters the domain of governmental responsibility. Last but
not least, he added that scientific leadership needs to be achieved.
Here, the universities have a large and highly influential role
to play. He went on to underline EC promotion of coordination
and integration of R&D efforts, and the inducement of joint
strategies between industrial players and the EC. He also recommended
investing more in new energy fields to attract young scientists.
The panel’s discussion revealed two consensus
points. First, the vital point of building confidence in the nuclear
community and the public was highlighted; it was suggested that
R&D might have a role to play in answering this question.
Second, shaping nuclear R&D in the future should - in order
to maximise productivity - be done in the context of an ERA (European
The moderator, Mr. Truffin, concluded with a statement
underlining the need for the nuclear community to demonstrate
more assertiveness, as the future for nuclear R&D is bright