Highlights from Nuclear Energy Department at the 57th IAEA General Conference
The IAEA Department of Nuclear Energy showcased its services to Member States during the IAEA's five-day General Conference from 16 to 20 September 2013. This annual meeting is the IAEA’s highest decision making body to consider the Agency's programmes and budget, and is the global forum to discuss a range of topics on peaceful use of nuclear technologies.
Along the week, the Department of Nuclear Energy hosted nine side events, two exhibitions and its staff held dozens of bilateral, technical meetings with Member State delegates. Highlights of the week for the Department of Nuclear Energy include:
Tuesday, 17 September
Practical Arrangement between the IAEA and University of Pavia
A Practical Arrangement signed on 17 September between the IAEA and the University Institute for Advanced Studies of Pavia reflected the IAEA's commitment to higher education. The arrangement establishes education networks which will encourage the development of a competent nuclear workforce. Alexander Bychkov, Deputy Director General and Head of the Department of Nuclear Energy, and Roberto Schmid, former director of the Pavia Institute, signed the Practical Arrangement.
Wednesday, 18 September
A side event on Support to New Nuclear Power Programmes: Integrated Nuclear Infrastructure Review (INIR) Missions and Agency Assistance provided Member States’ views on how the results of INIRs were used in developing national nuclear power programmes and on how to prioritize assistance, including the perspective of countries with an operating programme. Achievements and common issues from missions held during the past five years, and the concept for INIR missions for countries in Phase 3 of the Milestones approach were discussed.
A side event on Progress in Disposal Programmes Worldwide: Radioactive Waste Disposal — From Theory to Implementation dispelled the widely held public belief that radioactive waste remains a problem and that solutions are not available. It provided a brief global overview of existing and planned disposal facilities and presented disposal projects in six countries, emphasizing that safe and accepted solutions can be implemented for the disposal of radioactive waste.
A side event on Friends of Responsible Uranium Mining: Resourcing the Source — Human and Geological Resources for Responsible Uranium Mining highlighted training needs for aspiring, new and established uranium-producing Member States and the role of intergovernmental and IAEA contributions to education, training and development. The new UN resource classification scheme for describing uranium resources and reserves and its place in the NEA/IAEA ‘Red Book’ on Uranium Resources, Production and Demand was presented.
A side event on Networks for Collaboration in Nuclear Education showcased the role of networks and research reactors to support high quality nuclear education. It introduced recently launched e-learning modules for new nuclear power programmes and demonstrated a live experiment from the French ISIS institute within the Internet Research Reactor Laboratory project.
Three regional nuclear educational networks founded by the IAEA, i.e. ANENT (Asia), LANENT (Latin America) and AFRA-NEST (Africa), and their European counterpart ENEN signed a common action plan to guide future collaborative work.
Thursday, 19 September
The Third Nuclear Operator Organization Cooperation Forum, held annually since 2011 during the General Conference, identified and shared owner and operator perspectives, recent experience, relevant factors and approaches influencing safety and performance improvements. It also addressed long term strategies emerging after the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident.
13 laureates received European Master of Science in Nuclear Engineering (EMSNE) certificates at the EMSNE Award Ceremony. Deputy Director General Alexander Bychkov and Walter Ambrosini, President of the European Nuclear Education Network Association, presented the certificates to the young nuclear specialists.
A side event on Energy Planning and Nuclear Energy System Sustainability Assessment presented an integrated view of IAEA services to Member States, including training, assistance and tool sets for broad energy planning, Nuclear Energy System Assessments (NESA), modelling in support of strategic nuclear energy system planning and an overview of macroeconomics and social impacts on nuclear energy system planning. Major outcomes and findings of the four on-going INPRO projects were also discussed.
Members of the Vienna Energy Club met during a side event on Issues Affecting Long-term Sustainable Energy Development addressing their unique issues related to long-term sustainable energy development. Areas of uncertainty regarding the economy, policies, and technology; interlinkages between energy and water, food, and poverty alleviation; energy diversification for electrification and heat needs; and the importance of energy security and reducing the environmental footprint were discussed.
Pandora’s Promise, the new 90-minute film by Academy Award nominated director Robert Stone, gathered a large audience on Thursday evening. The film tells the personal stories of environmentalists and energy experts who have undergone a conversion from being against nuclear energy to becoming strongly pro-nuclear energy. Mr Stone engaged in a lively discussion with the audience after the screening.