In the Economics session, participants talked about how one must continue to improve the economies of nuclear power to make nuclear power an economically viable alternative. Antoine Van de Velde of Siemens AG talked of the significant role of advanced nuclear fuel technologies in improvign nuclear power plant operation. He stated that “although the cost of nuclear fuel fabrication only amounts to around 10% of the fuel costs, advancements in nuclear fuel technology are the key factor to cost savings and efficiency enhancement in the entire nuclear fuel cycle”. He went on to point out that further developments in nuclear fuel technology are therefore focused not only on the reduction of fuel fabrication costs, but primarily on the by far greater savings potential which can be tapped in the uranium supply sector, and in the management and disposal of spent fuel.
When evaluating the economics associated with nuclear power, it was quickly demonstrated that there is a large variance between countries.
For example, the availability of resources within a country impact the economics when the needs for self-sustainability, security of supply, and dependable resource availability are considered. Also, each country faces a unique environmental situation and level of urgency to meet environmental targets. Only when these country-specific factors are considered can a complete economic picture be developed.
Nuclear Programs and Technical Cooperation
In the course of the “Nuclear Programs and Technical Cooperation” session, it was ascertained that cooperation of the young generation working in the nuclear field in different parts of the world is necessary right now. It should stimulate the development of nuclear programs directed to peaceful applications.
Fuel Cycle Challenges
The options of open and closed fuel cycle have been considered. At present, the situation in several countries is not favorable to closure of fuel cycle due to high capital investment costs and low cost of natural uranium. But recycling of nuclear material is indispensable, not only for the effective use of valuable resources but also to reduce the debt which we may leave to the next generations. Many developments in advanced reprocessing technologies have been carried out in several countries to deal with the diversification of nuclear fuels. Cost effectiveness and waste- free processing are increasingly important factors in the recycling policy.
The problem of nuclear wastes treatment was discussed at the “Fuel Cycle” session. Hesitation of the authorities responsible for high-level radioactive waste disposal is a negative influence on the perception of the nuclear fuel cycle by the public. The treatment of wastes is being constantly improved with the development of technologies. This progress should be highlighted in the press to communicate it to the public.
Media Training Workshop
Emmy Roos of Rocky Mountain Remediation Services showed the participants just what it takes to be prepared to deal with the media through an interactive media training workshop. “It is a matter of having both the right attitude and the right knowledge, the Yin and the Yang”, as Roos put it. She explained how every interaction with the media should be taken very seriously, no matter how trivial the subject or how limited the exposure. Roos also taught the participants some basic things one needs to know about the media in order to understand how they operate and how articles come about. One of them was that the media are established as businesses with their own objectives, their own owners and their own stockholders.
The group discussed the three types of interview: TV, radio and print. They learnt how they differed in presenting one’s image, what time limits there were and whether you can be sure that what you say is what is heard by the public. She went on to discuss the interview and the preparation needed to avoid surprises,how to select the best company representative and a variety of points to consider. She explained how to set our goals for the success of the interview by developing a Prioritized List of the points that had to be made while considering what questions the host might ask based on the type of interview. Know a lot, memorize a little (just key items) of the message you want to leave and, then, relax. She gave lots of practical tips from guidelines on what to wear to how to keep track of time to make sure that your points were made in time.
At the end of the first part of the workshop, all participants were given a company’s imaginary scenario and were asked to prepare themselves for a critical interview in the second part, by a professional journalist, Keith Miller of the Slovak Spectator, an international weekly. Miller knew the different scenario’s and had, in addition further information that was true in some scenarios and false in others. The interviews themselves were very educational, both through very successful and less successful ones. After each interview the group discussed what went right and what went wrong and Miller gave his professional input.
International Committee Meeting
After a few days of interacting with representatives of many diverse cultures, each country sent a representative to an International Committee meeting. Rarely do so many countries have the opportunity to speak together, and to determine a common mission and goal. After introducing him/herself, each delegate relayed his or her overall impression of the congress. The overwhelming consensus was that IYNC had been a success, but all hoped that it would not stop at merely a single meeting. Everyone expressed a strong desire to maintain contact with delegates from the other countries represented at the table, and to broaden those contacts to a larger number of countries in the future. Delegates came with a common mission: to promote the use of nuclear science technology throughout the world and to effectively transfer knowledge of nuclear science across generations and across international boundaries.
Several expressed an urgency to take what we learned in Bratislava a step further – to take action in our convictions by making the technical aspects of nuclear technology accessible to all, by inviting members of environmental groups to future meetings to educate them on the importance of nuclear
technology, and by producing a large media event to publicize the fact that young people ARE supportive of nuclear technology and that we ARE NOT willing to watch decades of knowledge and experience disappear as the older generation begins to retire. This international forum was unique. It was vibrant and energetic. It was an opportunity to share ideas and experiences. The success of IYNC in gathering a truly international group of young people could be the cornerstone to the future life of the nuclear industry, if we choose to build on it by turning ideas into action.
Closing Session – Y Notes Restitution
Following the technical sessions on Wednesday afternoon, a general session was held to provide completion to the technical component of IYNC. Because not all participants were able to contribute to the individual Y Note sessions, the outcome of each technical session was summarized in a forum attended by all participants.
This offered all conference attendees an opportunity for comment and revision. From these discussions some participants indicated that not only were they intending to write articles to their local media groups upon returning from the congress, but that some already had! Everyone was excited about what had been accomplished, and many were ready to begin planning what IYNC could accomplish in the years before the next congress would be held.
After three long days of meetings, one would expect an exhausted group, ready to turn in early. Not so with this enthusiastic group of young professionals.
This group saw the success of the week as an opportunity to celebrate – and to dance the night away. The Farewell Dinner was held at the Mammoth Restaurant, whose name tells all – this beer hall is the largest in Central Europe, and it is located right in the heart of Bratislava. Dinner began with beer and pretzels, followed by a hearty meal and, of course, another beer or two.
With all the energy in the air, no one could stay at a single table. The place was alive with activity! People mingled among various tables to relate good times and stories with others they had only recently met, but had kindled unique friendships. Awards were announced for the best posters and presentations in each of the categories – everyone seemed to agree that all the presentations were worthy of award, and those receiving them were honored indeed. Most exciting of all, the host for the second International Youth Nuclear Congress in 2002 was announced. South Korea eagerly accepted the honor of hosting the next Congress, and pledged to build on what was learned at the Congress in Bratislava.