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Young Generation Exchange Assembly – ‘The changing landscape of nuclear power’

Young Generation Exchange Assembly

The second annual Young Generation Exchange Assembly convened in the North Lakes Hotel in Penrith, Cumbria on 6 – 8 March 2018 to discuss the theme of 'the changing landscape of nuclear power'. 35 participants in total representing 8 nationalities from across the global WANO membership gathered to share knowledge, exchange views and develop international working relationships.

Day One

Graham McDonald, Senior Manager at WANO Tokyo Centre, welcomed attendees to the event, opened proceedings with a safety message and, as an ice-breaker, invited all participants to introduce themselves to the group. Euan Hutton, Chief Nuclear Officer of Sellafield, then provided a strategic overview of Sellafield and offered some excellent insights into his personal commitment to guiding the future direction of the site.

WANO's Strategy & Integration Director Dave Shuffleton then gave attendees an introduction to WANO: Past, Present and Future.

In advance of the technical tours on day two of the assembly, Dr Glyn Thomas, Head of Nuclear Safety Program Delivery at Sellafield, discussed the unique challenges of leading safely through change at Calder Hall and Magnox Reprocessing Plant. He was followed by Sellafield's Senior Operations Manager Phil Carrol, who spoke about the challenges involved in preparing the remediation facilities at Sellafield for the first WANO Peer Review, a complex task which required a unique approach to waste processing.

Next to deliver a presentation was Jacob Home, Commissioning Engineer for Horizon Nuclear Power, who gave attendees an overview of the International Youth Congress (IYNC), explaining plans for the future, highlighting upcoming events and encouraging participants to continue their support for the IYNC. He emphasised that, because the IYNC is a fully voluntary organisation, sustained engagement in the initiative is vital. 

Yuichi Hiramatsu, Deputy Manager at WANO Tokyo Centre, updated the assembly on Young Generation activities in Tokyo Centre, and recounted a report of the WANO Young Generation Assembly in Paris in 2016.

Stephen Tutin, Reactor Physics for the Nuclear Technology Branch at EDF Energy, gave an impassioned presentation about the EDF Energy Young Generation Project, where he emphasised the value of young generation initiatives and the crucial importance of working together.

Next to take the stage was Carl Lowisin, a Young Generation secondee to WANO Paris Centre, who gave the assembly an update of activities in WANO Paris Centre, along with an insight into his own professional experiences as a secondee. Tayler McInnis then offered a perspective on activities from Atlanta Centre, focussing on the current and anticipated changes in the US nuclear industry and providing an account of the work performed by the North American Young Generation in Nuclear.

The day closed with an insightful duo of presentations delivered by Son Sunghoon (Assistant Manager, Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power) and Sohn Kyoungbin (Senior Manager/WIO Proxy) who spoke about the challenges faced by KHNP in a changing nuclear landscape and the energy transition in Korea respectively.

Day Two

The group departed the hotel early in the morning to begin a day of technical tours at the historic Sellafield site, home to some of the most complex nuclear decommissioning projects in the world. The tour included a guided walkthrough of Calder Hall, the world's first power station to generate electricity on an industrial scale from nuclear energy, the THORP (Thermal Oxide Reprocessing Plant) viewing gallery, the Head End facility and the Pile Fuel Cladding Storage Silo. WANO would like to say thank you to Sellafield Ltd for organising an informative, insightful and at times moving tour through a facility, which for many, had been a formative experience in their professional careers.

Day Three

Graham McDonald began proceedings by thanking Sellafield for their commitment and involvement in the YGEA and for organising an excellent tour of various facilities across the site, before handing over the floor to Mr Chang Kai-Hsiang, RP Specialist at Taiwan Power Company. He delivered an excellent presentation on the changing landscape of nuclear power in Taiwan, which offered some compelling insights into the political and cultural attitudes to nuclear power in his home country. The presentation was even more remarkable considering it was his first presentation delivered in English.

Next to present was Emma Betts-Gray, Nuclear Fuel – Commercial Analyst, EDF Energy UK. She delivered a fascinating presentation entitled 'Uranium and U' which gave participants an overview of the uranium mining and purifying business, along with insights into the fluctuating price of uranium following market uncertainty after Fukushima.

The event ended with a Q&A session which gave all participants an opportunity to ask questions of the panel, which consisted of Euan Hutton, Ichiro Maeda, Stephen Tutin, Carl Lowisin and Phil Carrol.

Feedback for the assembly was overwhelmingly positive. Ms. Sohn Kyoungbin, Senior Manager, WANO Cooperation Team, Global Nuclear Business at KHNP, said:

"There is no better place than the YGEA to meet many young generation people from all over the world and from all areas of the nuclear industry. From this experience, I can build my international network and get useful information and insights on nuclear issues that we are facing now. I hope more YGEA activities will be conducted in future for nuclear future leaders. I am really grateful to WANO TC, LO, Sellafield and all participants."