The great and the good travelled to the National Construction College in Bircham Newton in Norfolk for the Nuclear Island Launch Event. Speeches from Andy Walder, Stef Stephanos, Keith Waller and Michael Grove kicked off the event then all the guests were given a tour of the nuclear power plant construction model.
Three speakers, Malcolm Grimston, Robin Grimes and myself gave presentations on why the UK needs nuclear energy, the research challenges and the benefits of nuclear research to the UK and how UK nuclear universities are meeting the human resources challenges. A short debate followed in Portcullis House but the main debate occurred over dinner in the Palace of Westminster. Current and ex Members of Parliament and other members of the P&S Committee had a very broad ranging, interesting and entertaining debate chaired by Andrew Miller MP.
The second Nuclear Education and Outreach meeting is being held in the same location as the annual CNS meeting, Niagara Falls, Ontario. Canada historically seems to be split into two camps of nuclear supporters and anti-nuclear groups but the younger generation seems to becoming more apathetic on anecdotal evidence. There are a lot of very good communicators providing outreach activities and a possible new programme will organise workshops to train more people to do outreach, and another one to educate workers in the nuclear industry that do not have an understanding of the nuclear fission process. The lunchtime guest speaker was Jay Ingram from the Discovery Channel and he talked about some interesting aspects of culture and cognition. When people look like part of a group that espouse a view then the message can get lost due to assumptions, whereas when a person doesn’t look like the rest of the group then the audience seems to take more notice. If you look like a conservative you will be assumed to have conservative views and similarly for liberals.
This conference, this year in Niagara Falls, continues to have a very Canadian focus and one big change from last year’s meeting is the absence of Areva. Has the situation regarding AECL been resolved? AECL will sell all its commercial activities and become almost like a national lab. The accident at Fukushima has had a very big effect on the possible nuclear planning here. With the very cold winters nuclear power plants need to be able to cope if there is a prolonged lack of electricity supply due to ice?
KTNs have been established and are funded by government, industry and
academia. They bring together diverse organisations and provide activities
and initiatives that promote the exchange of knowledge and the stimulation
of innovation in these communities.
A Nuclear Group has now been set up within the Energy Generation and Supply
KTN, with the aim of creating an integrated and dynamic network of
business, technology, academic and policy stakeholders delivering strategic
and effective knowledge exchange to advance the UK Energy Generation &
Supply sector. Within the nuclear sector they will be addressing some of the
opportunities considered by the Technology Strategy Board to present
significant benefit to the UK, both in terms of the capability within the
UK, and to help the UK to compete in the international nuclear renaissance.
The KTN offers a government funded virtual hub to share information through
web based activities as well as targeted events focussing on priority areas
within the nuclear industry.
The KTN (which is managed by the National Nuclear Laboratory) offers a
government funded virtual hub to share information through web based
activities as well as targeted events focussing on priority areas within
the nuclear industry.
You can join the network at the following site:
Make sure you join the Energy Generation and Supply KTN and specify the
Nuclear Group to be included in the Nuclear KTN activities.
As with much in the nuclear world at the moment many of the presentations at NESTet mentioned the accident at Fukushima. It seems at the moment though that nuclear courses are robust and mature enough to continue to grow. Simulation and virtual reality is growing as a teaching tool although it is not available for open license due to the IP and development hours involved.The UK have a stronger than recent presence at nuclear educational conferences with contributions from NAILS, Cogent, NSAN, NI YGN and Atkins. It also appears to be much more of an international conference compared to the first NESTet in Budapest in 2008.
The workshop was organised by the British High Consulate in Houston and the Bush School at Texas A&M. After an introduction by the Counsel General four breakout groups considered various aspects if the theme. The nuclear discussion highlighted the already strong collaborations that have existed between the UK and US for the last 60 years and the way future global collaborations can ensure a safe development of nuclear power across the world. The IAEA must do a good job in relation to the situation at Fukushima but must also have the confidence of non nuclear stakeholders. Without a global infrastructure nuclear developments will struggle to garner the confidence of the doubters.