Issue No.12 Spring
(April 2006)


ENS News

Chernobyl, the accident scenario and its global impact

Critical thinking

ENS Events

PIME 2006 - Chairman's opening speech

Pime 2006 - Summary

TopNux 2006

ENA 2006

RRFM 2006

TopSeal 2006

TopFuel 2006

Member Societies & Corporate Members

Three Baltic States saying “YES” to Nuclear Energy

Positive current and future outlook in Nuclear Field in Slovenia

YGN Report

International Youth Nuclear Congress 2006

PIME 2006 - ENS YGN Report

European Institutions

MEP Forum discusses economics of nuclear energy

WENRA presents its Harmonisation Reports

ENS World News

A look at the Promise and Problems of Nuclear Energy

NucNet News

ENS Members

Links to ENS Member Societies

Links to ENS Corporate Members

Editorial staff

RRFM 2006RRFM 2006

RRFM 2006
30 April - 3 May 2006 in Sofia, Bulgaria

TopSeal 2006

TopSeal 2006

17.9. - 20.9.2006 Olkiluoto, Finland
TopFuel 2006

TopFuel 2006

22 - 26 October 2006 in Salamanca















































In this issue

High-definition digital pictures, ultra slow-motion replays and extreme close-ups have brought the fascination of the natural world to our living rooms. It’s impossible to be indifferent to the relentless cyclical power of nature, its awe-inspiring capacity to regenerate itself. It is genetically pre-programmed to recover from any situation. As Aristotle said, “Nature does nothing without purpose or uselessly.” Well, the annual miracle of spring reminds us that nature is the comeback king. But this time it’s not the only one.

Twelve months ago, our sector was showing the first signs of emerging from a cold anti-nuclear winter into the bright spring sunshine of a nuclear renaissance. Everyone wondered whether the revival would prove to be a short-lived phenomenon, a permanent or seasonal one. Initial optimism from the nuclear sector was, understandably, tempered with caution. False dawns can have a sobering effect.

Well, so far the revival has not faded away. On the contrary, it has actually gathered momentum. The green shoots of recovery have grown into a healthy plant that is not about to wither simply to fulfill some seasonal destiny. This plant is fed by a nutritious diet of political pragmatism, economic necessity, growing environmental awareness and the gradual acceptance of a new reality.

The devastating effects of climate change and growing concerns about security of energy supply have put nuclear energy back in the spotlight. Decision-makers, environmentalists and even some NGOs are increasingly coming to the conclusion that nuclear energy is here to stay. Public opinion continues to shift subtly in favour of retaining - and in some cases even expanding - the use of nuclear energy. It is no longer an isolated issue on the margins of the global energy agenda. Now it occupies the centre ground.

The return of nuclear is slowly redrawing the political energy map in Europe. A new spirit of realism has forced governments to acknowledge that nuclear energy offers us the best chance of combating climate change and ensuring the secure supply of electricity that the world craves. The facts speak for themselves and, as the saying goes, “only a fool never changes his mind.” Although some countries, like Austria and Ireland, remain unconditionally anti-nuclear, others are openly reviewing their policies, reassessing their energy options. Last spring the revival began, this spring we are seeing the fruits of that revival.

In the UK, for example, the Blair government has recently stressed that nuclear energy should be part of the country’s energy equation. This might include re-launching its hibernating nuclear industry. It is currently carrying out a root and branch review to ensure that it makes the right energy choices for the future, while respecting its international CO2 reduction commitments.

The Netherlands is reviewing its nuclear phase-out policy. Its only nuclear power plant, at Borssele, was recently granted a 20 year lifetime extension. The government is openly considering the possibility of building a second nuclear power plant.

Other countries, like Belgium, Spain and Italy, also appear prepared to allow nuclear energy back on their political radar.

The Baltic States of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia recently announced that they wanted to build a new nuclear power plant, in Lithuania, that would be “shared by all three states.” Romania is building two new reactors. Other countries, like Poland, are considering the possibility of a bright new nuclear future.

So, the signs look good, but a note of caution is required. The events at Chernobyl that occurred twenty years ago this month are a timely reminder that no renaissance is guaranteed permanent. There is still a long way to go before nuclear energy establishes itself as the number one energy option worldwide. If the nuclear industry does not use its increased acceptability to hammer home key messages about its economic, social and environmental advantages, and about its scientific excellence and impressive safety record, then the revival may yet prove to be a false dawn.

So, like a constant gardener, we must nurture the nuclear plant carefully to ensure that the come back is a lasting one. As the PIME 2006 conference in Vienna recently showed us, one of the major weapons at our disposal is communications. With public perceptions of nuclear improving and economic circumstances playing in our favour, the time is ripe to go on the offensive and to use targeted communications to press home our advantage. We need to improve our communications skills, intensify our communications strategy and send out our messages loud and clear to a broader range of target audiences. At a time when more and more people are inclined to listen, we must do all we can to make sure that we are heard. We cannot afford to miss the bus - there might not be another one around for several springs to come.

The ENS NEWS section of Issue N° 12 kicks off with a word from ENS President, Frank Deconinck. Frank gives a blow-by blow account of the events that led up to the Chernobyl accident that happened 20 years ago, analyses its social, economic environmental and health consequences and focuses on the regulatory and political fall-out of what was a watershed event for the nuclear industry.

In his article entitled Critical Thinking, Andrew Teller reflects upon how the reasoning that underpins the points of view expressed by the press and anti-nuclear lobbyists – for example in relation to the Chernobyl accident - is often fundamentally flawed due to faulty reasoning methodology, factual errors, imbalanced reporting and illogical arguments. By exploring, among other things, the concepts of motivated reasoning, Andrew highlights the importance of critical thinking and reasoning in forming valid arguments that can withstand close scrutiny.

In the Events section, the spotlight falls on PIME 2006, which that took place in February, at the IAEA’s Vienna International Centre (VIC) facilities in the Austrian capital. First up, you can read the opening speech delivered by Frank Deconinck, who chaired this international conference for communicators working in the nuclear industry. This is followed by a detailed summary of the conference that underscores the programme highlights and provides links to all the speakers’ presentations (including a speech from American physicist and Nobel Prize Winner, Professor Burton Richter, of Stanford University, California).

Another major ENS event in the nuclear calendar that ENS NEWS reports on is the TOPNUX conference that was organised in collaboration with the British Nuclear Energy Society (BNES) and took place in London, in March. Other ENS events in the pipeline are also featured, including RRFM (Sofia, Bulgaria, from 30 April – 4 May 2006), TOPSEAL (Olkiluoto, Finland, from 17 – 20 September, 2006) and TopFuel (Salamanca, Spain, 22 – 26 October, 2006). ENS NEWS will provide reports on all important events that ENS organises or co-organises.

The Member Societies section has a decidedly strong new Member States flavour to it, with two in-depth features: one is by the Lithuanian Nuclear Energy Association and deals with the Baltic States’ recent decision to collaborate with the expansion of their nuclear activities; the other, written by our friends from the Nuclear Society of Slovenia, gives an update of the present situation and an appraisal of the future direction of the nuclear industry in Slovenia.

The Young Generation (YGN) section focuses first on the PIME 2006 workshop that YGN organised on the subject of communicating with young people about radioactive waste. It then gives details about the forthcoming International Youth Nuclear Congress (IYNC), which will take place in Stockholm and Olkiluoto, from 18 – 23 June 2006.

No prizes for guessing the main news item in the European Institutions section of Issue N° 12! The recent EU Energy Green Paper has, understandably, grabbed all the political headlines and continues to preoccupy industry leaders, stakeholder groups and the press alike. ENS NEWS features the measured response that was given by FORATOM, on behalf of the nuclear industry, to the Green Paper and invites those interested to fill in the European Commission’s questionnaire on the Green Paper and make their views known on the subject.

Also in this section is a FORATOM reaction to WENRA’s Harmonisation Reports on safety standards at nuclear installations.

The ENS World News section features the complete DVD-recorded message that Nobel Prize winner and eminent physicist, Professor Burton Richter, delivered to delegates at PIME 2006 from Stanford University in California.

Finally, the NucNet News section focuses on a new book on climate change, entitled The Weather Makers that highlights the competitive benefits of nuclear energy.

Enjoy reading Issue N° 12 of ENS NEWS and don’t hesitate to give us your feedback.

Peter Haug
Secretary General

Mark O’Donovan

Chernobyl, the accident scenario and its global impact

The accident: what happened ?

Chernobyl reactor 4 was a graphite moderated light water reactor (RBMK) with an output of 1000 MWe. It was a pressure tubes boiling water reactor with direct steam feed to the turbines.


Critical thinking

by Andrew Teller

The press keeps providing a steady flow of dubious claims concerning this or that element of the nuclear debate. The forthcoming anniversary of the Chernobyl accident won’t do anything to improve this situation. Critics of nuclear energy continue to pile up arguments, old and new (mostly old), justifying their position.


PIME 2006: Chairman’s speech for Frank Deconinck

Monday 13 February 2006: Opening speech

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Welcome to PIME 2006 and to the beautiful, romantic city of Vienna. More about Vienna later, but first I would like, on behalf of ENS and the co-organisers of this year’s conference – FORATOM and the NEA/OECD – to thank the IAEA for hosting this year’s PIME. We are also very grateful to the IAEA for the use of the Vienna International Centre. Our hosts have left no stone unturned in an effort to make us feel welcome and to provide the perfect environment for a constructive and interactive debate on the main issues facing communicators in our industry today. The contribution that they have made to the agenda is considerable too.


TopNux 2006

From 20-23 March, the TOPNUX conference took place in London. This international conference, entitled Securing the Future – the Role of Nuclear Energy, was organized by the European Nuclear Society (ENS) in collaboration with the British Nuclear Energy Society.


RRFM 2006

It is not yet too late to register for RRFM 2006!

Preliminary Programme and registration form on

The 10th conference on Research Reactor Fuel Management will take place from 30 April to 4 May 2006 in Sofia, Bulgaria.


ENA 2006: Riding the winds of change

When the inaugural European Nuclear Assembly (ENA) took place in November 2004, the first green shoots of the nuclear recovery were emerging from the long anti-nuclear winter. Twelve months down the road and the revival has gathered momentum.
This was clear for all to see at ENA 2006, which took place in Brussels, on 28 & 29 March, under the chairmanship of Mike parker, CEO of BNFL in the UK.



Mark your diary!

Mark your diary for TopSeal, the international meeting place for waste management professionals, organised by the European Nuclear Society in Olkiluoto from 17 to 20 September 2006. Olkiluoto, with both an EPR and an underground rock characterization facility under construction, is a hotspot for the nuclear industry – not to be missed.


TopFuel 2006

It is not yet too late for you to submit a paper to the 2006 International Meeting on LWR Fuel Performance (TopFuel)!

This key event for the nuclear fuel community will be held from 22 to 26 October 2006 in Salamanca (Spain), a UNESCO World Heritage Site.


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