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NNWE hosts academic expert roundtable on Science and New Nuclear: the benefits and challenges


New Nuclear Watch Europe (NNWE) recently hosted a small roundtable with some of the UK’s leading academics in the nuclear power sector. The roundtable was convened to discuss what role science and academia can play in the development of new nuclear and what challenges the development of new nuclear power faces in the UK and Europe.

Chaired by Tim Yeo, NNWE Chairman, the roundtable sparked lively discussion amongst the academics. The topics covered how the academic and scientific community can help to promote the development of new nuclear, including a complete change in attitude to the role of nuclear in society, discussion on NNWE’s principles with regard to cost, home-grown supply chain and safety considerations, and nuclear waste. After two hours of discussions, the attendees agreed on four main conclusions:

  • The need for open discussion with Government and the public to change the popular perception of nuclear power, led by academics in the medical, physical and engineering sciences but supported by industry; consumers need to understand the advantages of nuclear, including the safety, cost, security of supply and climate change benefits;
  • The benefits of a Government delivery agency for new nuclear with an experienced, politically-backed leadership which could drive the development of new nuclear and give investors the confidence to invest;
  • The benefits for new nuclear which would flow from a measure of Government financing particularly as the UK Government is able to borrow cheaply;
  • The development of Small Modular Reactors (SMR) is potentially a real opportunity for the development of the new nuclear UK supply chain.

Tim Yeo stated after the event:

‘We were very privileged to have such a distinguished group of leading academics with an interest in the development of new nuclear attend our roundtable. Recent public polling undertaken by NNWE showed that academics are the single most trusted source of information when it comes to telling the truth about the advantages and disadvantages of nuclear energy  which demonstrates even more the importance of the industry, regulators, politicians and the media listening to the opinions of this expert group.
 
‘Although all of the academics came from different viewpoints and discussion was robust at times, we were all able to agree on some conclusions which if enacted would be a huge boost to the development of new nuclear, particularly in the UK’

NNWE was very grateful for the participation of the attendees and will be considering how best to ensure that the conclusions are included in future messaging. NNWE is also forming an ad hoc academic advisory committee to discuss the on-going development of new nuclear and will be announcing membership in due course.

Leading academics discuss the development of new nuclear at drinks following NNWE's expert roundtable

Leading academics discuss the development of new nuclear at drinks following NNWE’s expert roundtable

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Roundtable attendees:

Tim Yeo Chair, New Nuclear Watch Europe
Francis Livens Professor of Radiochemistry and interim Director, Dalton Nuclear Institute
Malcolm Joyce Personal Chair, Nuclear Engineering, Lancaster University
Bill Lee Director, Centre for Nuclear Engineering, Imperial College London
Wade Allison Emeritus Professor of Physics, University of Oxford
Ian Fells Technical Director, Penultimate Power UK LTD
Mike Tynan Chief Executive, Nuclear AMRC, University of Sheffield
Paddy Regan Professor Radionuclide Metrology, University of Surrey

 

Observers:

Edmund Nickless Executive Secretary, The Geological Society
Charles Napier Consultant, New Nuclear Watch Europe