RRFM 2008

In the first of what will be a series of Young Generation Reporter features covering ENS conferences, Nicolas Franck of CERCA, AREVA, gives the following personal account of the recent RRFM 2008 conference, in Hamburg.

If you would like to add your views on RRFM 2008 to those of Nicolas, please forward them to Kirsten Epskamp, ENS Manager or Mark O’Donovan, Editor-in-Chief of ENS NEWS.

The Research Reactor Fuel Management (RRFM) 2008 conference took place from the 2-5 March in the beautiful city of Hamburg, in northern Germany. PhDs, engineers, scientists, researchers and a multitude of other people working in the field of research reactors and related fuel management met to present their works and to share their research data and ideas on all things connected with the fuel management of research reactors.

RRFM 2008After the traditional welcome address by Santiago San Antonio, the ENS Secretary General, the conference kicked off with a presentation celebrating the 50th anniversary of research at GKSS, the company that hosted RRFM 2008. Over the next three days, no fewer than 54 presentations were made around 5 central themes: international topics and an overview of new projects and fuel developments, fuel development

and manufacture, reactor operation, safety and core conversion, fuel back-end management and innovative methods in research reactor analysis. Throughout the entire conference a poster gallery featured a display of projects covering these 5 themes.

Two subjects were particularly discussed: the development of the high-density U Mo fuel and reactor conversion from HEU to the LEU. From a personal point of view, I was more interested in the presentation on the PALLAS reactor project given by Mr. Van Der Schaaf and on the reactor conversion programme presented by Mr. Staples. The coffee breaks and the lunches were provided a suitable opportunity to discuss the presentationsRRM exhibition

in more detail, to network and to meet new people. Personally, I have had the opportunities from many different countries, including Korea, the United States, Argentina, Belgium, Germany, The Netherlands, Russia and France.

RRFM DinnerThe RRFM 2008 was completed by two “thematic parties.” The first one was organized by AREVA and took place in the prestigious place Museum of Ethnology, and the second began with a boat trip visit of Hamburg’s famous port followed by a dinner at an historic former warehouse in the port district. These two evenings were very convivial and pleasant, allowing people to meet in another context and to make new friends.

My function as young reporter during these evenings made it easier for me to meet new people and forge new friendships, which I was able to do with several people.

The three-day conference programme ended with a technical visit to either the GKSS research reactor or the HASYLAB Research Centre. The organization of RRFM in Hamburg was perfect: the choice of location for the conference, administration, the agenda and contents of the various sessions, the food and drink, the planning for the social programme (including bus transportation to and from the various locations) and the organization of the technical visits made the conference one to remember. RRFM 2008 was an undoubted a success, especially in view of the number of participants and the quality of their presentations. I would like to give a big thank you to the ENS staff for their hard work, for the quality of the organisation and for their availability and friendliness.

The whole experience was very interesting for me. It was also very enriching both professionally and personally for several reasons: first of all, it gave me a better understanding of the international organisation of the research reactors; it also gave me a better knowledge of the mission and objectives of the RRFM conference; it enabled me to build up a network of contacts and finally, it gave me an opportunity to discover what it takes to successfully organise an international conference like RRFM 2008. As a result of participating I am looking forward to participating in other congresses and conferences like this one.

Nicolas FRANCK
Titulaire d’Affaires
Service Combustibles Atomiques, CERCA,