Despite the pandemic hindering international activities, the Global Forum on Nuclear Education, Science, Technology and Policy was launched in January 2021 and made steady progress throughout the year.
During its first year four working groups were established to address issues related to gender equality, education, the relationship with society and future nuclear energy requirements. In late 2021 each working group held their first meetings to start discussing their work plans and timeline in order to deliver specific actions to be developed in 2022.
The Working Group on Gender Equality , co-chaired by Seungjin Kim from Purdue University (United States) and Vera Verkhoturova from Tomsk Polytechnic University (Russian Federation) met on 10 December 2021. Meeting delegates expressed interest in concentrating on universities as a primary target audience for the group’s work. Three possible focus areas were proposed: promoting nuclear engineering and technology programmes to women and non-binary individuals; fostering initiatives to encourage their inclusion within the nuclear energy community; and promoting active efforts to invite men to become ‘allies’ to the cause. The delegates are now exploring a number of potential activities to best pursue these goals.
Working Group on Gender meeting, 10 December 2021
The Working Group on the Future of Nuclear Education , co-chaired by Raul Barrachina from the National Atomic Energy Commission, Bariloche Institute (Argentina) and Kenichi Ishikawa from the University of Tokyo (Japan), met on 3 December 2021. Three topics were identified by the working group to start their activities: Tools and Digital Technologies for Nuclear Education Teaching and Outreach; Multidisciplinary approaches in Nuclear Education; and Open Science: Educational Benchmark Activities. Considering the more than 20 working group members, the group will be split into task forces based on each member’s preferred topics and previous experiences. Each of the task forces are currently gathering specific information on what is available in the three topics and will reconvene at their next meeting to establish specific objectives and outputs.
Working Group on the Future of Nuclear Education meeting, 3 December 2021
Rethinking the relationship between nuclear energy and society
The Working Group on Rethinking the Relationship between Nuclear Energy and Society , co-chaired by Emanuela Colombo from Politecnico di Milano (Italy), and Edward Obbard from The University of New South Wales Sydney (Australia) met on 15 December 2021. The discussions resulted in a consensus about the necessity to consider the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in their activities, and the necessity to reflect on the values of the nuclear community and . The working group agreed to take three actions to improve the tense relationship between nuclear energy and society by: 1) researching the qualitative benefits of nuclear energy and making efforts to communicate the benefits of nuclear energy; 2) identifying and sharing the values of people who work with, or otherwise support nuclear energy technologies; and 3) elaborating scenarios on the appropriate use of nuclear technology in accordance with these values.
Working Group on Rethinking the Relationship between Nuclear Energy and Society meeting, 15 December 2021
Future requirements for the competitiveness of nuclear energy
The Working Group on the Future Requirements for the Competitiveness of Nuclear Energy , co-chaired by Ian Farnan from the University of Cambridge (United Kingdom) and Man-Sung Yim from the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (Korea), met on 2 November 2021. The working group has launched a scoping exercise to evaluate the evolving competitiveness in:
- Large reactors;
- Small modular and micro reactors;
- Production of alternative energy vectors;
- Integration of nuclear energy with renewables; storage and flexible grid systems.
The objective of this exercise is to identify short to medium-term aspects of nuclear innovations that would improve the competitiveness of nuclear energy, not only in terms of cost reductions, but also vis-à-vis the time to the grid and the opportunities to contribute to non-electric aspects of decarbonisation, among others. Such an exercise will be carried out on a geographical basis to reflect the differences in approaches and progress amongst different regions.
In the coming months, each working group will work towards establishing some actions and initiatives to achieve their objectives in the first year of existence. During this initial phase each working group is also working towards enlarging their membership to assure both gender balance and country balance.
Outcomes of the first working group meetings will be shared among all the co-chairs to identify synergies with other working groups and to avoid any overlap. Initial roadmaps will be presented at the 3rd Council of Advisors meeting scheduled to take place in late February 2022.