As energy prices and consumption are rapidly increasing, countries are currently looking for ways to produce power at lower costs, guarantee power independence, and ensure energy security by investing in nuclear power plants in their energy mix.
Noppen’s 3rd Annual Nuclear Energy Development Summit allowed the most prominent industry leaders and government officials to not only provide most updated information but also inspire discussions pertaining to the region's current needs and ambitious future.
Hungary welcomed the international community to join the summit and discover new strategies and technologies that can assist in building a state-of-the-art nuclear energy infrastructure, strengthen the nuclear energy development through international cooperation, improve and enhance Safety Culture, and learn from the global operating experience. The event also touched on the global nuclear industry development capabilities and future perspectives, new build projects, current nuclear power regulations and policies, human resource development and education, the importance of planning, and innovative approaches on nuclear reactor design and waste management.
While there were a number of outstanding speakers at the event, the Chairman of the summit, Mr. Amir Shahkarami, Senior Vice President of Exelon Generation Company and Board Member of World Nuclear Association particularly stood out. Not only was he a brilliant Chairman, ensuring that the summit ran smoothly, but his long experience in the industry made him a well-respected figure and the delegates listened intently to his comments and evaluation. He recently retired from Exelon, and established CASe Global Partners Inc., as President & CEO, his extensive knowledge and management skill will enable all stakeholders to benefit from his decades of operating experience.
The 2014 conference was opened by Mr. Alexander V. Bychkov, Deputy Director General & Head of the Department of Nuclear Energy at IAEA. In his speech Mr. Bychkov emphasized the importance of delivering sustainable energy for all and pointed out the IAEA`s efforts to accelerate and enlarge the contribution of nuclear power to peace, health, and prosperity; but safely, securely & responsibly. During his speech, he touched on many vital points such as energy poverty & real poverty, electricity production mix and greenhouse emissions, regional projections and the plans of newcomer countries, future expectations, and safety issues and IAEA`s services and support for the stakeholders. He said “There are 437 reactors in operation and 71 units under construction the World`s nuclear power generating capacity is projected to continue to grow by 2030.”
Ms. Csilla Tóth, Technical Director of MVM Paks II was the second on the stage providing a presentation on behalf of Mr. Sándor Nagy; she presented on maintaining existing nuclear capacities and driving new nuclear developments in Hungary. She provided detailed information on the current energy mix and pointed out the necessity of investing into additional units that will meet the energy demand and minimize the amount of electricity imported by 2030. Ms. Tóth went into great detail about future reactor units’ project preliminaries, requirements including licensing process, preconditions, and time scale. She said “Units current lifespan will be extended by 20 years and public acceptance for nuclear power is very high. MVM is committed to taking on a leading role in fulfilling Hungary’s 2020 goals”.
Before the first break there was a discussion panel called “Checking the Appetite” where Mr. Robert Pitcher, Partner at Eversheds in conversation with Mr. Miroslaw Lewinski, Minister Counsellor at Nuclear Energy Department of the Ministry of Economy of Poland - Mr. David Powell, Vice President of Nuclear Power Plant Sales in Europe at GE Hitachi, and Mr. Danijel Levičar, Director General at Ministry of Infrastructure and Spatial Planning of Slovenia; they frankly and thoroughly examined the recent challenges for nuclear new build projects.
Followed by Mr. Zalán Bács, Director of Hungarian Branch at Rusatom Overseas presented “The development of Paks NPP –seven questions you always wanted to ask”. He explained the framework of cooperation and spoke on why Rosatom is interested in Europe and Hungary, why Rosatom is the right partner for NPP development, and why now? He also gave a detailed overview of economic and social benefits (such as the localization and job creation) of projects in development.
‘New approaches for increasing business performance and reliability’ was the presentation by Mr. David Blazek, Regional Sales Director of Aveva. He emphasized the importance of providing operation and maintenance teams’ unprecedented access to plant information to overcome challenges using Aveva Digital Asset based solution.
His presentation was followed by Ms. Daniela Lulache, CEO of Nuclearelectrica; she shared insights on Romanian’s nuclear power market developments, issues, and future challenges. Ms. Lulache explained how domestic needs are in correlation with EU policies and how Nuclearelectrica will continue to play a major role with newly built Cernavoda NPP units 3 & 4 in order to supply the future demand.
“Maintaining And Developing a Reliable Nuclear Power Industry” was the topic of the next discussion panel under the chairmanship of Mr. Kamil Blažek, Partner & Head of Infrastructure and Projects at Kinstellar. His guests were Mr. Viktor Černý, Project Manager ETE 3&4 - Nuclear Power Plant Construction at ČEZ, a.s. and Mr. Pavel Janik, Managing Director of Czech Republic at Westinghouse. They discussed how to tackle Nuclear Energy Showstoppers such as Public Acceptance, Cost Optimization, and Financing. During the debate the audience was fully focused and there was a greatly appreciated level of transparency.
After the lunch break, Mr. Kristof Ferenczi, Partner & Head of Energy at Kinstellar was on the stage informing the participants on legal challenges of new NPP projects in Europe.
Mr. Mikuláš Turner from Nuclear Regulatory Authority of the Slovak Republic was next on the stage and provided a detailed presentation on licensing new nuclear power plants in Europe. His presentation included updates on the EU`s energy policy: based on four pillars energy security, competitiveness, sustainability, and efficiency. He also provided a comprehensive outlook on nuclear installations in Bohunice and Mochovce sites and the legislative and regulatory framework. His announcement on “Greenpeace Slovakia versus regulator UJD on licensing the completion of NPP Mochovce 3 & 4” fired up a very hot debate in the room; he ended his presentation with “The nuclear power industry is very complex and is in a highly regulated environment”.
Before the last tea break, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Latchesar Kostov, Chairman of Bulgaria Nuclear Regulatory Agency (BNRA) presented BNRA’s updates on nuclear regulatory activities. He gave a short overview of the regulatory framework and the status, activities of the nuclear facilities, and national action plan after Fukushima. He also gave updated information on construction of new Kozloduy NPP.
After the networking break, Dr. Salaheddin Malkawi, Chairman of Nuclear Engineering Department at Jordan University of Science & Technology presented “Progress towards Nuclear Energy in Jordan” on behalf of Dr. Kamal Araj, Vice Chairman of JAEC. Dr. Malkawi outlined Jordan’s energy options, electricity supply, NPP feasibility and financing challenges. Dr. Malkawi also provided a clear view of the current status of the upcoming project.
His presentation was followed by a technology provider KSR – Kuebler represented by Mr. Viktor Oldenburger, and Mr. Dominik Seibert who spoke on the use of sensors for nuclear power plants to increase safety precautions during the lifespan of the NPP.
One of the more popular speakers, Mr. Shahkarami presented the importance of nuclear safety and learning from global operating experience. In his interactive presentation, he formulated the three Ps (People, Plant, and Process) as the key factors of implementing a successful nuclear power program. He finalized his presentation using a video recording from a NPP control room to demonstrate an emergency situation which was followed by an interactive quiz.
His presentation was followed by Ms. Madalina Budu, Chief Project Engineer from Sosny R&D Company who delivered a very detailed presentation on spent nuclear fuel management solutions of Sosny with case study examples.
Day one ended with the Chairman`s closing remarks followed by a special reception, hosted by MVM Paks II, where Mr. Sándor Nagy, CEO of MVM Paks II meet with distinguished attendees who actively contribute to the industry.
After the Chairman’s summary of Day-one, Day-two kicked off with a presentation by Mr. Robert Vance, Nuclear Energy Analyst in Nuclear Development Division at OECD Nuclear Energy Agency on “Managing Environmental and Health Impacts of Uranium Mining”. He also touched on public perception, radiation safety, and financial assurance.
Followed by a presentation from Mr. Henry-Jacques Neau the Secretary General of World Nuclear Transport Institute; he spoke on transporting nuclear materials as a key factor in project implementation. He also outlined the main principles and issues followed by recommendations in order to develop awareness to resolve current bottlenecks.
Mr. Josef Běláč, Director of Fuel Cycle of Nuclear Power Plants Group at Alta presented “Sustainable and Long Term Security of Nuclear Fuel” by examining the cases from the government, utility and vendor. He further analyzed the topic by pointing out factors to achieve it and make it sustainable.
After the first tea break of the day “Simplifying the System of Protection, Public understanding & Radiation Protection Culture” was presented by Mr. Roger Coates, Vice President at the International Radiation Protection Association. He outlined the current challenges for effective radiation protection and summarized the main findings of the report of United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation 2013. He laid out what should be done to establish a radiation protection culture and the implications for the nuclear industry.
One of the most popular speakers at the event was Mr. David Powell, Vice President of Nuclear Power Plant Sales in Europe at GE Hitachi. His presentation on the revolutionary Nuclear Reactor Design “Prism” and discussion on fuel management using Ge-Hitachi`s advanced recycling technology was exciting and inspiring.
The final speaker before the lunch break was Major General Mihály Zala, President of the National Security Authority at Ministry of Interior of Hungary: he presented “How to Be Better Prepared”. His presentation emphasized the cyber-security vulnerability of the industry. During his presentation he underlined the current situation in cyber-defense, challenges in information security, and how can we mitigate the risks.
After the lunch Mr. Polyukhovich Vasili, Deputy Director at Nuclear Energy Department of the Ministry of Energy from Republic of Belarus spoke on “Developments in The Nuclear Power Program of Republic of Belarus”. Belarus is one of the emerging countries’ that is focusing on a nuclear power program, which is already in construction.
The momentum kept growing with Ms. Daria Voronkova, Deputy Director of the Department for International Business & Development at JSC “Rosenergoatom” she spoke on the Rosenergoatom’s international business. She also presented some case study examples to demonstrate the capacities, global experience, and reliable partnership opportunities to the audience.
Just before the networking break, Mr. Miroslaw Lewinski, Minister Counsellor at Nuclear Energy Department of the Ministry of Economy of Poland presented a very comprehensive outlook on the Polish Nuclear Power Program. Poland is on phase one of the implementation of PNPP. Following the networking break Dr. Zsolt Fulop, Director General of MTA Atomki, presented a very interesting case study to demonstrate improving the public acceptance through nuclear research. After briefly mentioning MTA Atomki`s capacities, he detailed the outreach program, prepared for high school students, in which a role playing computer game is used to encourage the younger generation to explore science. The final presentation of the summit was from Prof. Yahia Qawasmi, Dean of Faculty of Engineering at Jordan University of Science & Technology. Prof. Qawasmi`s presentation “The Role Of Educational Institutions In Support Of Nuclear Energy Programs In New Comer States” focused on the human resource side of the nuclear industry. He discussed the long term commitment needed for nuclear power programs and how the programs require not only dedication but also specialization. His presentation summarized Nuclear Engineering activities while providing detailed information on research and training. He finalized his presentation with a video display about an Internet Reactor Lab where students in Jordan interacted with North Carolina State University’s Pulstar Reactor (located in Raleigh, North Carolina, USA).
The event was concluded by the Chairman`s closure and reminder of the site visit the next day. On the last day of the event, distinguished participants from The United States of America, The United Kingdom, Russia, Turkey, Poland, Germany, Japan, Romania, Czech Republic, Republic of Belarus, Hungary, Russia and Ukraine visited MVM Paks NPP where the visitors received essential information and data regarding the plant. They observed the operating reactors, the main control room, and the turbine-generator assemblies from specially designed glass corridors, and they had the chance to walk through the turbine hall. The tour ended with participants being taken to the Maintenance and Training Centre which is a unique facility where real equipment, established with the assistance of the International Atomic Energy Agency, is used to train experts from abroad and the staff on site without the risk of radiation.
Noppen would like to thank all our eminent speakers, supporters, participants, and sponsors: MVM Paks II Ltd, NECG, Aveva, KSR Kuebler, Alta a.s., Sosny R&D, Siempelkamp, MSA Rimera Group, OT Energy Services, Hoppecke, Olajtery Group and MVM Paks NPP for their contributions to the event.