NESTet 2013

The NESTet conference is now established within the ENS portfolio with a strong line up of speakers and presentations. As educators like to learn form each other it is a bit of a shame that there are so many parallel sessions, but this is probably due to the success of the conference. This year it has a very European focus with not many presentations from North America, some from South America and hardly any delegates, let alone, presentations from Asia or Africa. I would hope that after the recent co-operation agreements signed between ENEN, ANENT, LANENT and AFRA-NEST that cross-fertilisation of education and training experiences would be encouraged. There is still no global nuclear education and training conference. Perhaps this conference might be it http://www-pub.iaea.org/iaeameetings/46084/International-Conference-on-Human-Resource-Development-for-Introducing-and-Expanding-Nuclear-Power-Programmes-Building-and-Sustaining-Capacity but Education or Training is not explicitly mentioned in the title.

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NI Congress 2013

The NI Congress is taking place today and tomorrow in Manchester and today’s proceedings were dominated by the announcement that the UK Government and EDF have agreed a strike price for the Hinkley Point C development which also includes options for Sizewell C. The Strike Price is set at:

  • £89.50/MWh if Sizewell C goes ahead. There will be a payment from Sizewell C to Hinkley Point C equivalent to £3/MWh upon the final investment decision being taken with respect to Sizewell C reflecting the fact that the first of a kind costs of EPR reactors are shared across the Hinkley Point C and Sizewell C sites.
  • £92.50/MWh for HPC project if Sizewell C does not go ahead.

If wholesale prices rise above an agreed “strike price”, consumers will not pay extra. If they fall below this price the generator will receive a top-up payment. For further information go to
http://newsroom.edfenergy.com/News-Releases/Agreement-reached-on-commercial-terms-for-the-planned-Hinkley-Point-C-nuclear-power-station-82.aspx

Learning To Share – Sharing To Learn

Another nuclear conference in Manchester but this one had a definitely different flavour to the recent TopFuel and ENS Conferences. A gathering of nuclear Knowledge Management specialists is an interesting concept on paper due the historic attitude of secrecy with the nuclear industry but that was then. Today real efforts are being made across the UK nuclear sector to share best practices as people realise the benefits to this dramatic change of policy. There is still an issue with who owns the nuclear knowledge in the UK, that was developed and nurtured by the CEGB, UKAEA and BNFL, three companies that no longer exist with most of their operations, with the exception of the National Nuclear Laboratory, now in the private sector. But the new commercial focus may be the driver to bring down costs through the process of sharing, so more of these interesting, enjoyable and thought provoking conferences could well be held for years to come.

European Nuclear Conference 2012

The ENS signature conference came to Manchester this week and it was a very successful week, plus the rain held off. The conference was a good mix of policy plenary presentations and parallel technical sessions with plenty of choice for everyone. I’m not sure how the delegate numbers matched up to previous conferences but I heard somebody say that they were 480 delegates. The exhibition was interesting from a UK perspective. Spain and France put on a real show of co-ordination and strength with all the major players present. The UK on the other hand was very poorly represented and scattered around the room. I heard that the companies did not want to be all together on Stand GB. If all the nuclear universities can work together in collaborations why can’t the industry?

Energy Choices 2012

A different flavour to Energy Choices this year with more of a focus on technology innovation and skills. Chaired by John Hutton, instead of a recognised media personality, the conference perhaps benefited by his knowledge of the industry. The Weinberg Foundation, which supports the the development of thorium fuelled reactors, had quite a few mentions in the morning session. In the afternoon a Q&A session with Tim Stone was entertaining as well as informative. The message from Government is that there is now unequivocal support for new nuclear build, and perhaps more important was the statement that Hinkley would be but one of the new nuclear build projects. So now it’s up to the industry and the financiers to go out and make it happen.

Nuclear KTN Post Fukushima Research Needs Meeting

A new location for a a nuclear meeting, Cheltenham, and a very successful meeting. A good combination of nuclear speakers plus a civil engineer and a seismologist contributed to very good discussion sessions in the afternoon. A lot of the focus was on communication and a way to facilitate good communication without compromising operational effort to stabilise the situation. Could more remote systems be put in place? Another aspect discussed was of course safety but an idea put forward by Malcolm Grimston was does the nuclear industry do itself a disservice by saying safety is the number one priority rather than safe economical electricity is the number one priority?

Nuclear New Build Conference 2011

A very positive conference following the events in Japan earlier this year. Charles Henrdry was unambiguous in his, and the government’s, support for new nuclear build in the UK and not just for one reactor but for a fleet of reactors. Mike Weightman summarised his interim report on the Fukushima accident with the full report due in September. There was a very good joint presentation by the ONR and the EA on the current status of the GDA and its drawing to a conclusion on the AP1000 and the UKEPR with no show stoppers. There where also good sessions on stakeholder engagement and another organised by the YGN and Malcolm Grimston, as always, gave a very good presentation, this time of the nuclear industry with relation to the past and to public perception