BNS Chairman Eric van Walle speaks about the important role played in our society by the BNS
"The Belgian Nuclear Society (BNS) has a successful history of organising multiple events that give an overview of the current status of a great variety of subjects related to nuclear applications. Our former Chairman, Didier Haas, has to a large extent promoted these activities. Thank you Didier!
Nuclear energy is one of these nuclear applications. When the Fukushima nuclear accident occurred on 11 March 2011, nuclear electricity generation suffered a serious setback and it is more than ever up to the nuclear community to demonstrate the safety of its installations. The stress tests that were imposed by the Belgian and European Authorities after the accident should, therefore, be looked upon as an opportunity to demonstrate the safety aspects of our nuclear infrastructure; a demonstration that should help promote greater confidence in nuclear technology and its derivatives.
We should not forget that Europe is the world leader in nuclear technology and that Belgium has contributed a lot to it earning this status. Many studies have demonstrated that an electricity mix with maximised renewable sources still needs nuclear generated electricity to satisfy society’s present and future energy needs, while at the same time taking into account the need to mitigate the effects of climate change. Nuclear energy technology should be considered as a trump card for Europe, not a joker where risks are taken that could lead to the loss of accumulated knowledge and experience, which are still vital in the short term. Renewable energy sources should be developed as much as possible, but not independently at the expense of securing the future of nuclear technology. Moreover, the development of nuclear applications has always been a driving force behind nuclear science and R&D. Clearly, nuclear energy has created a legacy with regards to high level nuclear waste and related issues. Surely, it is up to the nuclear research community to solve this problem, but this can only be done if we can guarantee the necessary level of education and training of experts that is required to encourage an understanding of the fundamentals of nuclear physics. We do not only need engineers, physicists and expertise in various other disciplines to tackle these problems, we also need them to operate the broad range of different nuclear installations that the sector has. A major issue here is the need to have experts to regulate and evaluate these nuclear installations: they also need on-the-job training in order to gain the necessary experience to make the right decisions and to underpin their theoretical knowledge. We need innovation in order to attract and keep these people in the nuclear sector.
Nuclear applications save lives. Today, the medical world would stand still if nuclear techniques were no longer available. Do we want this situation to stagnate just as we are on the verge of making many breakthroughs that would allow major progress to be achieved in the diagnosis, cure and treatment of patients suffering from painful diseases?
Didier Haas (past Chairman), Eric van Walle (Chairman), Grégory Délécaut (past Secretary), Thomas Berkvens (Secretary)
The Belgian Nuclear Society has an important role to play today: from expressing its views to writing papers, as well as by organising lectures and conferences. The dynamism of the BNS-YG, avid contributors to the Society, is one of main drivers for action, so why not join it and make a contribution. BNS brings together experienced professionals in Belgium with a range of expertise in nuclear disciplines to listen and to discuss the main issues of the day: these professionals want to contribute to a multi-disciplinary field with critical, self-analytical and constructive views and contribute to a Society that looks at its long term future in an open and clear way. Join us and be part of our Society’s future!"
Eric van Walle, Chairman of BNS