ENYGF 2011 – Prague

The ENYGF 2011 was the fourth meeting of European young professionals from the nuclear field. The meeting consisted of lectures given by invited recognised experts, technical visits to nuclear facilities, and social events. It enhanced networking and experience exchange between recognised experts, young professionals, and students, as well as among young people interested in the nuclear field from the whole of Europe. The ENS YGN, in cooperation with Czech Young Generation, held the European Nuclear Young Generation Forum in 2011 in Prague with focus on:

  • promoting nuclear science and engineering among young people and students 
  • emphasize the importance of communication, knowledge and experience exchange between professionals 
  • advertising nuclear and nuclear-related fields 
  • presenting works of young people from the whole Europe 
  • increasing a social understanding and acceptance of nuclear energy

The main topics were:
1. Nuclear safety and severe accidents
2. New builds
3. ITER and fusion

On May 17-20 Prague, the capital city of Czech Republic, was honored to host the biennial meeting of European nuclear young professionals, the premium brand of ENS-YGN, European Nuclear Young Generation Forum (ENYGF2011). The Forum tradition dates from 2005, when the first meeting of nuclear youth was held in the city of Zagreb, Croatia. Year 2007 was marked by continuation of ENYGF in Amsterdam in the Netherlands and similarly Spanish Cordoba hosted ENYGF in 2009. Czech Young Generation opted for hosting of ENYGF2011 in early 2010 at the Core Committee meeting of ENS-YGN and its candidacy won.   

The Forum was jointly organized by Czech Young Generation (CYG) and European Nuclear Society Young Generation Network (ENS-YGN) with help and co-organization from the European Nuclear Society (ENS), Czech Technical University in Prague (CTU) and Czech Nuclear Education Network (CENEN). The Forum had a single goal: to provide independent and unbiased ground for young professionals to allow them to discuss and learn on various nuclear topics. Organizers tried to bring young nuclear professionals together in order to help tear down the walls between various nuclear branches: even though young people in the nuclear field usually have the same basis, their professions may bring them to different areas of nuclear applications. For instance, while one is involved in the computer code calculations of neutronic characteristics of a reactor core, the other can be interested in legal issues of rad-waste disposal from medical applications. Such people can hardly speak the same language—they can hardly even meet each other! But both are nuclear to the bone and perhaps they can teach each other a lot. The European Nuclear Young Generation Forum was here to help: it invited both of them, regardless of their profession, to join the ever-growing community of ENYGF participants, who like to meet new people, to get in touch with new nuclear applications and to learn about progress in their nuclear profession. ENYGF offered room for communication and networking among many European countries. 

Lesser but also important goal of the Forum was to develop a bond between young and senior nuclear professionals: knowledge transfer is crucial as the nuclear renaissance hits Europe. France and Finland are already building new units, Czech Republic and Slovakia are in the late stages of new-builds preparations and other countries are also considering further nuclear development. The young nuclear engineers also need to learn from mistakes in the past, which might, when underestimated, lead to disastrous development. Europe is missing qualified nuclear professionals and not only in the field of new reactor construction, safety and operation: the other nuclear branches are affected as well. In such times, knowledge transfer plays the key role in strengthening the nuclear position in the region, especially when Europe witnesses certain political pressures to phase-out the use of nuclear power for peaceful power generation. 

ENYGF2011 addressed both issues: networking among young nuclear professionals and knowledge transfer from senior to junior specialists. The invited and sponsored lectures from the key persons of the nuclear European industry helped educate young professionals in improving their insight, while their own contributions (both in the form of oral presentations and posters) introduced fields of their interest to others. ENYGF organizers also prepared a decent portion of social events, ranging from boat night trips to the Vltava river to visit on Czech most famous Karlstejn castle, and technical trips in order to give young professionals a chance to meet and get acquainted with each other. Technical trips were set to offer visits to important nuclear installations and industrial complexes: three research reactors, tokamak, radioactive waste disposal site and reactor machinery complex formed wide opportunities to learn about the Czech nuclear environment. 

In the frame of Forum, total number of 211 participants from 22 countries attended seven tracks, named as:

  • Nuclear Safety and Severe Accidents
  • Education and Training
  • Service and Operation of NPP
  • New Build
  • Back End Issues
  • ITER and Fusion
  • Nuclear Medicine (poster session only)

Each track was governed by a young chair, selected from ENS-YGN, and hosted well-recognized invited senior experts as well as the most interesting presentations from young participating professionals. 

First track, which was focused on safety and dealing with severe accidents, was introduced by Dana Drábová, Head of the State Office for Nuclear Safety. Second part of this track was introduced by Track on new builds was opened by Craig Marianno from Texas A&M University, a member of the U.S. expert mission at Fukushima site after the accident in March 2011. František Hezoučký from the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering, Czech Technical University in Prague. The ITER and Fusion track was covered by Jan Mlynář from the Institute of Plasma Physics, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic. The Education and Training track was addressed by Vladimír Slugeň, President of ENS. Keynote speech in the Back End Issues track was given by Philippe Bretault, senior process expert and deputy of expertise & innovation E&P Direction, AREVA. Daneš Burket, director of Technical Support Unit in the Power Division of CEZ Group, who is responsible for the Long-term operation project of Dukovany NPP, started a track called Service and Operation of NPP.

In general, one can summarize that ENYGF2011 was a great opportunity to meet the nuclear elite of Europe in a friendly environment of a nuclear-oriented country with a respectable history. Although the forum was mostly set up for the European nuclear youth, it is also opened for participants from overseas—their voice will not be lost and they will be warmly welcomed as well as European participants. After all, we are all members of one large nuclear family.

The European Nuclear Young Generation Forum has a successful tradition of important events for sharing of knowledge among experienced experts and the new generation of nuclear specialists. Its importance is recognized by crucial companies and institutions working in the nuclear field. ENYGF Organizers would like to express their thanks to all sponsors and interested companies for their involvement.

Here is the advertising video: