In this issue

“Summer time, an’ the livin’ is easy; fish are jumping and the cotton is high.” When the American composer George Gershwin penned those famous words he evoked a timeless, idyllic vision of summer that we usually associate with our long-lost youth. Whether lazy hot days chilling by the pool is your thing, whether playing tennis, sampling local cuisine or enjoying a bit of culture is what you are hooked on, one thing is sure - we are all entitled to a bit of dolce vita now and again; we all need our annual fix of vitamin D and relaxation to recharge our batteries. So, when summer fails to show up and generate a healthy dose of the feel good factor, we can get understandably depressed.

Well, with the amount of rain that fell in some parts of northern Europe during May and early June, there are many who could be forgiven for thinking that summer, far from being just around the corner, is in fact a remote and alien concept dreamt up by Neckermann or Club Med to persuade us to part with our hard-earned cash. For some people who suffer from seasonal affective disorder (appropriately “SAD” for short) torrential rain in May and June is sometimes enough to make Prozac seem a reasonable option.

The truth of the matter is that climate change continues to set the global agenda. For many of us the threat of drought or the prospect of devastating forest fires has temporarily receded thanks to virtually constant rainfall and temperatures more reminiscent of winter than spring or summer. But it’s just a matter of time until another climate change induced episode wreaks havoc and destruction somewhere in the world. From the fear of drought to flood warnings….the words “out” “fire” and “frying pan” spring to mind. How ironic that one manifestation of climate change should be brought to an end by another.

The evidence is irrefutable and yet there are still people who believe that climate change is just a cyclical phenomenon rather than a manifestation of man’s footprint on the planet. Clearly, it’s high time that those people who still doubt the influence of climate change woke up and smelt the coffee. There is a lot that can and ought to be done to combat climate change and reverse current trends. Nowhere is this more apparent than when it comes to satisfying the world’s spiralling energy needs. More and more countries have recognised the new reality and come to the conclusion – some more reluctantly than others - that only nuclear energy can offer an effective long-term solution to the fossil fuel emissions that foster the global warming that triggers climate change.

Of course, for nuclear scientists this might seem like preaching to the converted. But perhaps we should do more to make scientific fact more accessible and understandable to those who still need to be persuaded? A wise man once said “Science is the apotheosis of the intellect” and perhaps that’s the problem. Unless we improve our ability to translate complex scientific concepts and data into a simple language that people can easily understand, much of what we communicate will fall on deaf ears. If, in the eyes of a non-scientific majority science remains the domain of an intellectual minority that speaks an unintelligible foreign tongue, than we will have failed to reach out to the widest possible audience. Rather than leave it up to natural disasters and extreme weather episodes to hammer home the message that climate change is real - and that nuclear energy can help combat it - perhaps we could do more to preach the message to the unconverted? It’s just a thought.

As, for most of us, the countdown to the summer holidays has just begun, we can only hope that climate change will take some time off and allow us to enjoy a real summer where droughts, flash floods, forest fires and dangerous ozone levels are a distant memory. Perhaps we will be able to experience again a long hot summer like those that were common currency when we were younger. Now there’s a thought.

Wherever you are and whatever you are doing this summer, enjoy it.

In Issue N° 13 of ENS NEWS, our President, Frank Deconinck gives a personal vote of thanks to the outgoing ENS Secretary General, Dr. Peter Haug, for all that he has done for ENS these past five years. He then welcomes his successor onboard, Santiago San Antonio.

Mark O’Donovan


Word from the President

Auf Wiedersehen Peter,

At the turn of the millennium, ENS was in a critical situation financial and administrative situation. The Secretariat, then situated in Berne, was without a Secretary General and the finances were at zero. The situation required drastic measures for ENS to survive.


Nuclear Energy: too little too late?

by Andrew Teller

Even a cursory glance through the international press is sufficient to notice two highly correlated types of articles. The first type is about decision-makers thinking of reviving the nuclear option to combat climate change. The second type reports pronouncements of skeptics claiming that nuclear energy is not the answer to the climate change problem.


RRFM 2006

Specialists in reactor fuel management research gather in Sofia for RRFM 2206

The 10th annual Research Reactor Fuel Management conference (RRFM 2006) took place in Sofia, from 30 April to 3 May. It was organized by ENS, in collaboration with the Bulgarian Nuclear Society and Bulgaria’s Institute for Nuclear Research and Nuclear Energy (INRNE).


TopSeal 2006

17 - 20 September 2006, Olkiluoto, Finland

Waste management is among the top priorities of the nuclear industry. The issue of safe, environmentally friendly waste disposal is crucial to improve public understanding. Therefore in the context of a renewed public and political debate on the role of nuclear in the energy mix to help meet Kyoto requirements, waste management has become vital to the future of nuclear.


TopFuel 2006

TopFuel 2006 will focus on the importance of nuclear fuel developments in the light of the current revival of the debate on nuclear energy. This topical conference provides a unique opportunity for all professionals in the nuclear fuel industry to meet face to face, exchange expertise, and discuss state-of-the-art issues.


ENC 2007

Mark your diary!

Sharing knowledge and providing insight on the latest developments in nuclear research and its applications – that is the aim of the European Nuclear Conference (ENC).


Pime 2007

Make time for PIME!

Dear Colleagues,

Bringing together nuclear communications specialists from around the world to share experiences, exchange views and promote communications excellence – that is the aim of PIME, the annual Public Information Materials Exchange.

The next edition will take place from 11 to 15 February 2007 in Milan.


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