Zagreb, capital of a small Central European and Mediterranean country, had the privilege to host the first European Nuclear Young Generation Forum 2005, shortly “Forum“, within 7-12 June 2005. The Forum was organized on the initiative of YGN of the Croatian Nuclear Society as an event jointly co-organised with the European Nuclear Society (ENS) and the International Youth Nuclear Congress (IYNC). The idea of organizing such an event appeared during the ENS YGN Core Meeting in September 2004. Nevertheless, a short period of preparations did not reflect the quality of the Forum itself and the variety of activities it consisted of.
A crew of around 80 young professionals, researchers, and postgraduate students, with a background in nuclear science/engineering, from 19 countries (of which 18 are ENS member countries) came to the Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computing (FER) at the University of Zagreb to take part in this multi scope event.
The Forum started with a gala welcome buffet and continued the next morning with the opening plenary session. Representatives from Croatian Nuclear Society, University of Zagreb, NPP Krško and the State Office for Nuclear Safety welcomed all participants to Zagreb. The ENS representative at the Forum, Gaston Meskens, Chairman of the ENS Program Committee & ENS Representative to the United Nations FCCC and CSD, has given strong support and encouraged participants to contribute and benefit from this Forum.
The organisers have put some initial standards of what a Forum as a YGN event should include. First of all, the Forum was a technical event since the whole first day was reserved for the workshop on various concepts for radioactive waste management. The invited speakers were well prepared and motivated young professionals coming from companies dealing with radioactive waste. The workshop has covered topics such as Scandinavian, French, Belgian, Accelerator Driven System (ADS) concepts for waste management and innovative concepts in the USA, too. The workshops were really interactive between presenters and the audience, followed by comments and constructive roundtable discussion.
The second significant constituting components were two guided technical tours. The first one led to the Westinghouse type nuclear power plant, Krško, in Slovenia. The participants were welcomed by NPP’s Director of Production in the NPP’s information center in the city of Krško and had the opportunity to hear the most important facts on operational and safety status of NPP Krško. Later on, the professionally guided visit in NPP Krško was set to see the turbine building and main control room, cooling towers, essential service water system, dam and intake part from river Sava.
The second technical tour was hosted in the laboratory for an in-service inspection of the Institute for Nuclear Technology—INETEC Ltd in Zagreb. The Institute’s personnel presented their mainstream business which covers the in-service inspection of the reactor pressure vessel and reactor pressure vessel head, both for PWR and VVER reactors, and additionally steam generator U-tubes inspection, plugging and unplugging process for PWR and VVER reactors. The technical tours ended with a barbecue at a great Jarun, like in Zagreb with a spirit of a domestic live band.
One day was completely programmed to enforce international networking among young nuclear professionals. The whole Friday was dedicated to presentations from various ENS YGN countries (and USA) on their members’ activities within the last decade. Additionally to oral presentations, there was a poster session especially focused on the YGN activities.
The acknowledgment goes to the IAEA representative, Geetha Sadagopan, for a presentation on education and training in radiation protection and waste safety. The ENS representative Gaston Meskens, continued with a lecture on Complex Problem Solving. The representative of the World Nuclear Association, Irina Borysova, gave a presentation entitled “Nuclear Renaissance: A Global Reality”. For the majority, this was also an opportunity to become acquainted with the operation of World Nuclear University, and its first Summer Institute to be held in Idaho Falls this year. Kim Dahlbacka, ENS YGN Chairperson, came with a presentation of results of an interesting survey he conducted in cooperation with YGN colleagues in ENS member countries on the future of nuclear energy foreseen by the young generation.
In the UN’s World Year of Physics 2005, ENS YGN is celebrating its 10th anniversary of its existence and work. This was a great opportunity to celebrate this anniversary in Croatia in the presence of so many participants. The Forum culminated in the official celebration of the 10th Anniversary of ENS YGN on a splendid evening and dinner at the Croatian Journalists’ Society covered with a performance of a live rock band.
The Forum was also a place for youngsters to plan and organize some future events—International Youth Nuclear Congress 2006 to be held in Sweden with a technical tour in Finland. At the same time, a regular ENS YGN Core Meeting with Board elections took place at this Forum.
The last day was prearranged for a visit to the National park “Plitvice Lakes”, a part of the UNESCO world’s natural heritage. Events attended by young people are always followed by numerous social events. With so many present countries and great contributions, this was simply the best way to improve networking and exchange experience in one place. Those with surplus energy and spare time joined the six-day long Post-Forum Sailing Tour on the Dalmatian coast and islands.
We are very happy about the fact that YG contributed to starting a new ENS co-organised event and moreover that YG within Europe is becoming more successful and efficient, with concrete results for the benefit of the whole European nuclear community.
The organizers are thankful to the sponsors (ENS, IYNC, Westinghouse Electric Sweden, NPP Krško, Croatian Electrical Utility – HEP, Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computing – FER, Ministry of Science, Education and Sports, Enconet International, Enteko, National and Zagreb Tourist Board) who supported organization of the first Forum, without which support this event would not be an event such it was.
At the very end, the youngsters have spontaneously agreed this experience was fruitful, educational and at last experience far beyond the technical!
YGN will make an additional effort for the Forum to become a traditional biannual event, in between IYNC and vice versa. Next Forum is expected to be in June 2007. The YGN member countries are encouraged to take into consideration their nomination and give a proposal for hosting the next Forum.