25 April 2012
Lights out in Manchester
IChemE Council member Bill Harper, issued a stark warning to delegates at the inaugural Nuclear fuel cycle conference, which opened in Manchester, UK yesterday.
Harper, who plays a prominent role in the Institution’s nuclear community, used his role as conference chair to offer a gloomy prediction of the shape of things to come if global energy challenges are not addressed. Speaking in a darkened auditorium, illuminated by a solitary candle, Harper hypothesised on the state of UK energy supplies in 2042 on the opening day of the 20th Nuclear fuel cycle conference.
The audience listened in silence to Harper’s contribution, which although humorous in style and couched in the form of an imaginary retrospect of the proceedings at the inaugural conference, carried a sharp “If only?” message.
· If only a way had been found to deliver projects on time, on budget and to specification.
· If only decommissioning and waste management challenges had been bottomed out
· If only a long-term approach to spent fuel had been found, rather than storage at reactor sites
· If only public confidence had been regained after the Fukushima incident
· If only an alternative to using finite mined uranium supplies had been found
With the house lights back up, Harper switched back to the present day and highlighted the role of nuclear power in addressing the energy challenge:
“We are heading for the last chance saloon. This gathering of international professionals, academics and industrialists can avoid the ‘if only’ trap by working together to find solutions to these challenges.”
The Nuclear fuel cycle conference is the first of its kind in UK for many years, the technical programme features international contributions from industry and academia across a wide range of disciplines involved with the nuclear fuel cycle. Outcomes from the technical sessions and panel discussions will be used to identify future topics for IChemE’s Nuclear Technology Special Interest Group and also to shape the Institution’s technical strategy.
To view the programme and presentations from the event visit www.icheme.org/nfcc
IChemE’s 2nd Nuclear fuel cycle conference will take place on 21-22 April 2014, register your interest here.