Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

FP7

ENERGY CHALLENGES 12 Report Summary

Project ID: 326429
Funded under: FP7-EURATOM-FISSION
Country: Switzerland

Final Report Summary - ENERGY CHALLENGES 12 (TOMORROW'S ENERGY CHALLENGES 2012)

Executive Summary:
1. Final Publishable summary

Background
The Association FORUM ENGELBERG was founded in CERN to debate, already in 1990, over the "risks and opportunities of the Web coupled to the Internet". It has 20 years of experience in organizing conferences on complex topics requiring a global and interdisciplinary scientific approach, in order to support political authorities to legislate.

Project Context and Objectives:
1.1 Summary description of project context and objectives

The leap in the understanding of the elementary structure of matter was made with the release of the most powerful force in the universe, namely the nuclear force. This discovery, accompanied by the ability to transfer scientific results more directly into viable technology led to energy solutions that could also fulfil the economic demands.
Nuclear Power is the principal low-carbon source of base load electricity in the EU, totalling some 135 GWe of installed capacity and accounting for almost one-third of current electricity generation.
However, Fukushima, on the 11th March 2011, triggered a widespread crisis of both confidence in the technical safety of nuclear systems and emotional concern, plunging the Western world into uncertainty.
Leading up to the conference, various stakeholders had postulated a fundamental conflict between the further development of renewable energies and the continued operation of the existing nuclear plants in Germany and Switzerland. Some say that licensing extensions for nuclear plants will hamper the further development of renewable energies. Furthermore, nuclear plants are said to be too inflexible to be operated compatibly with large electricity supplies from wind and photovoltaic power plants.
Based upon a strong foundation of related conferences organized in 1993 (on Energy and Environment: A question of survival) and 1999 (Risks and safety of technical systems in view of profound changes) and participation in the International Risk Governance Council (IRGC) organization (www.irgc.org) since 2004, the Association FORUM ENGELBERG, strongly animated by its familiarity and expertise in the subjects of energy, environment and safety of technical systems, took the initiative to launch a high-level international conference in order to restore a climate of trust.
Whilst the rebirth of nuclear fission and the reinforcement of the research effort in plasma physics would enable to produce in the future an almost inexhaustible energy supply, based on thermonuclear fusion, this Conference considered all options (nuclear and non-nuclear) and the feasibility of efficiently combining the energy production from both types of sources. This acceptance of all interest groups is also reflected in the examples of issues that have been given as examples of what the Conference addressed
On the 28th June 2011, the European Union Council invited the European Commission to organize a Symposium: “involving a broad spectrum of stakeholders to the debate on the benefits and limitations of a low carbon economy”. The results of the Conference ENERGY CHALLENGES 2012 were intended to contribute to the preparation of this EU-2013 Symposium held from 26th -27th February 2013 in Brussels and to subsequent worldwide dissemination activities (2013-2015), especially a prestigious “LAUDATO SI” event on 16th September 2015, which included presentations by Son Eminence Monsieur Le Cardinal Georges Cottier OP, Son Excellence Monseigneur Marcelo Sánchez Sorondo Prof. Dr. Phil., Chancelier des Académies pontificales des Sciences et Sciences Sociales and to Monsieur le Pasteur Xavier Paillard, Président du Conseil synodal de l’Eglise Evangelique Réformée Vaudoise (EERV).
The main objectives of the 20th Conference FORUM ENGELBERG - ENERGY CHALLENGES 2012 were to address the key issues related to supplying energy in the future, most probably in a mixed nuclear / non-nuclear environment. It brought together recognised technical experts in the fields, politicians, decision-makers and researchers.
Issues raised included:
• If the nuclear phase-out is to be stopped, are there any technical or operational restrictions that would hinder the integration of nuclear energy into a system based on large and fluctuating supplies of renewable energy?
• How will an energy system be affected by the extension of nuclear operating licences; economically and in terms of CO2 emissions?
• What are the macroeconomic costs of phasing out nuclear power and energy- political change? Will the phasing out nuclear power engender a geopolitical dependence of the Western Europe states on fossil energy, to foreign states in regions of the world known for their political instability?
• How can the safety of the nuclear plants remaining in activity be guaranteed for all Member States of the European Union.
• The decommissioning of closed nuclear plants requires strengthening the training of engineers for at least two generations and the associated security - with public confidence in the radioactive waste storage.
• Renewable energy includes Geothermal Energy and the increase of dam capacity: What are the prospects of achieving these?
• New infrastructures for new high-voltage networks would incur further costs and meet resistance from objectors to the electromagnetic waves. What are the socio-economic costs of the change in energy policy?
Answering all these questions requiring a global approach was a central point of the objectives of the 20th Conference FORUM ENGELBERG - ENERGY CHALLENGES 2012. In addition, this major high level event organised in the heart of Europe strengthened the excellence of the scientific cooperation between the European Union and Switzerland. It was also the crucible of high-level political relationships enabling the cooperation agreement between Euratom and the Swiss Confederation to be forged, thereby contributing to the research effort in the realization of the ITER project.
In preparation for the 20th Conference FORUM ENGELBERG 2012, the Association FORUM ENGELBERG dealt intensively with the power industry, which awarded a research contract on these topics. The results of this research was presented in the conference and made available to the EU.

The objectives were achieved through presentations from experts and panel discussions on topics related to nuclear and non-nuclear themes, and so-called “Fireside-Talks”, in which participants from different disciplines could discuss open-endedly during the evenings in a less-formal atmosphere. Examples of the topics for discussion in the “Fireside-Talks” included:
Talk 1 - European priorities for energy research and innovation (SET-Plan)
Talk 2 - Global responsibility in the Future of Energy and Climate
Talk 3 - Network of Energy Networks: Convergence of Power-Grid, Gas-Grid and Distance-Heating-Grid - A Key Factor for Future Energy in Urban Areas
Talk 4 - lnteroperability of Transport in a Moving World
This major high level event strengthened the scientific cooperation between the European Union and Switzerland.
The phasing-out of nuclear energy (irreversible in Germany and decided by the Federal Council in Switzerland, with legislative procedure in the Federal parliament in 2013 followed by the popular vote) means abandoning zero CO2 energy production!
The input to the preparation of the EU-2013 Symposium was achieved through the Scientific Report, which was presented at the event by the editor and Chairman of the Scientific Committee Prof. Dr. Hans Püttgen.
Project Results:
1.2 Description of main S & T results/foregrounds

The FORUM ENGELBERG Conference took place on 5th – 7th September, 2012. 3 reports were produced:
• Rechsteiner Report for parliamentarians (in German).
• Scientific Report , by Prof. Hans B. Püttgen.
• ACTA Proceedings (500 pages, covering all the Conference presentations, the panel sessions and the Fireside-Talks). This was delivered both electronically and in printed form.
A wide dissemination was achieved:
• The event was streamed over the Internet and the Public Meeting was shown on "Arena" (Swiss TV production).
• The "Arena" TV production focused on the topic of “Radioactive Waste Management: More convincing Answers to Overcome the Problems?”. This theme is very important because the mountain Wellenberg (situated between Lucerne and Engelberg) is one of the potential locations for the storage of nuclear waste from power stations ("geologische Tiefenlager") on the list of the Swiss Federal Council. The topic is similarly controversial for (at least) other parts of Switzerland, Germany, France, Liechtenstein and Austria.
• For the plenary sessions of this large conference, 250 members of governments, scientists and CEOs were expected and attended. The industry-oriented Fireside-Talks attracted participants from different disciplines who discussed open-endedly during the evenings in a less-formal atmosphere. For the “Arena” event, there were 150 participants at the filming, but the TV programme was watched by thousands of people on television afterwards. Therefore, during the conference itself, 800 persons attended, with a larger audience reading the material and watching the outputs after the event.
Further (worldwide) dissemination plans:
• On the 20th February 2013, the EC DG Research and Innovation representatives Dr. Péro and Dr. Siegler visited the Energy Centre at the EPFL and the Energy-efficient Hydraulics laboratory at the Centre de Recherche en Physique des Plasmas (CRPP). In the evening of the same day, Prof. Dr. Eric van Walle, Director General of the Belgian Nuclear Research Centre SCK-CEN, Mol, gave a presentation of the MYRRHA project.
• Outputs from the FORUM ENGELBERG Conference served as contributions to the Symposium in Brussels on 26th - 27th February, 2013 and to and to subsequent worldwide dissemination activities (2013-2015).
• The Association FORUM ENGELBERG participated in the EU SET-Plan Conference (7th - 8th May 2013).
• A Colloquium was organised at the EPFL in June 2013 on the theme of “Energy Strategies & Trends 2020/2030“. In the evening, the Colloquium will be opened to the public and will include more long-term/philosophical presentations.
• The link to the material from the Conference will be distributed via a Newsletter to the 3’000 members of the European Materials Research Society (E-MRS).
• The IRGC www.irgc.org is an independent organisation, created through an initiative from the Association FORUM ENGELBERG and financed by Swiss Confederation, Electricite de France and Swiss Re. Its purpose is to help the understanding and management of global risks that impact on human health and safety, the environment, the economy and society at large. The IRGC publicised the outputs from the Conference through targeted workshops focused on the findings of each of the 3 reports (Rechsteiner Report, Scientific Report and the ACTA proceedings).
• Dr. Jyoti Gupta organised an Asia Conference based on the FORUM ENGELBERG output, in collaboration with the Research Centre for Energy Management & the School of Energy Management (MDI).
• Dr. Bernard Comby used the results from the FORUM ENGELBERG Conference to disseminate information through a Conference in Africa, organised through the “Reseau Coselearn”.
• A prestigious “LAUDATO SI” event was organised in Cully and Lausanne (Vaud, Switzerland) by Association FORUM ENGELBERG on 16th September 2015, which included presentations by Son Eminence Monsieur Le Cardinal Georges Cottier OP, Son Excellence Monseigneur Marcelo Sánchez Sorondo Prof. Dr. Phil., Chancelier des Académies pontificales des Sciences et Sciences Sociales and to Monsieur le Pasteur Xavier Paillard, Président du Conseil synodal de l’Eglise Evangelique Réformée Vaudoise (EERV).

Potential Impact:
1.3 Potential impact and main dissemination activities and exploitation results

The expected impacts from the Workprogramme for the part of the Call that this proposal addressed related specifically to support for the 2013 Symposium in Brussels, which was requested by the European Union Council to: „involve a broad spectrum of stakeholders to the debate on the benefits and limitations of a low carbon economy“.
Furthermore, the Fukushima accident on 11th March 2011, initiated a widespread crisis of both confidence in the technical safety of nuclear systems and emotional concern, plunging the Western world into uncertainty!

Based upon a strong foundation of related conferences organized in 1993 (on Energy and Environment: A question of survival) and 1999 (Risks and safety of technical systems in view of profound changes) and participation in the International Risk Governance Council (IRGC) organization (www.irgc.org) since 2004, the Association FORUM ENGELBERG, strongly animated by its familiarity and expertise in the subjects of energy, environment and safety of technical systems, took the initiative to launch a high-level international conference in order to restore a climate of trust.

Impact 1
It was expected that the 20th Conference FORUM ENGELBERG 2012 would have a great impact on the debate into the future of fission as low carbon electricity producing sources.
The programme of the Conference encompassed technical, societal, political, ethical and philosophical points related to fission energy. Presentations by internationally reputed speakers and round table panels (so called “Fireside-Talks”) helped the audiences to grasp all the aspects of a multi-faceted problem, which cannot be reduced simply to an opposition between “pro-fission” and “anti-fission”. The participation of NGOs, not necessarily in favour of fission (such as Greenpeace) was a necessary ingredient for a democratic debate around fission and its societal acceptance.
In principle, the technical questions could have been settled in specialized conferences. The key point, which distinguished this 20th Conference of the FORUM ENGELBERG 2012 from other meetings, was that it brought together all stakeholders, not only in the field of fission (and fusion) but also of energy supply at large, of human development, political decision-making, policy making, etc. This mix of competencies allowed to have a global picture, which could help decision- makers to form an opinion on the topic of nuclear fission.
One important impact of the Conference ENERGY CHALLENGES 2012 was that it contributed to the preparation of the EU-2013 Symposium to be held from 26th – 27th February 2013 in Brussels and to subsequent worldwide disseminations.

Impact 2
The issues raised in Impact 1, and other key aspects, such as Innovation and Education and Training were specifically addressed through dedicated sessions in the Conference.
The 2nd day focused on the risk governance associated with the benefits and limitations of low carbon (mainly nuclear) solutions. Many of the talks were given by those responsible for making decisions about the choices for energy supply and advising politicians.
The 3rd day examined non-nuclear renewable solutions and what innovations are needed. It also broadened the discussions towards geo-political questions (i.e. “energy as political power”).

Impact 3
The 20th Conference FORUM ENGELBERG 2012 was expected to have an impact on the Euratom programme, as it defines its role in the Horizon 2020 Framework Programme. In particular, Euratom will work on strategies in which “... fusion, as a credible option for commercial carbon-free energy production, shall follow a roadmap with milestones towards the goal of electricity production by 2050”.
The European and international fusion programme recognizes ITER as a key element to achieve the goal of producing electricity by 2050. The missions of ITER are:
1. to integrate in a single device all technologies necessary for a fusion reactor
2. to realize a power amplification (Q = Output thermal fusion power / Input heating power) of 10
3. to demonstrate the safety aspects of a fusion reactor.
The missions “1” and “3”, above, imply cross-cutting issues with fission (see “Impact 4” below). For example, a test tritium breeding blanket (TBM) will be installed. The technology of these TBMs calls for a detailed knowledge of tritium measurement methods. More generally, ITER requires an extremely large tritium handling plant as well a hot cells and the remote handling of activated components. All these activities involve nuclear engineers and physicists.
Mission 3 is an intrinsic part of the design and operation of ITER. According to French law, ITER is considered as an “installation nucléaire de base” and has to fulfil all the requirement of any nuclear power plant, including the so called “stress test”. The procedure is nearing completion and is just waiting for the “décret d’autorisation”.
However, the 20th Conference FORUM ENGELBERG 2012 not only discussed about ITER but more globally on the ways to realize fusion: the roadmap and other magnetic confinement concepts. It was therefore expected to give the audience a global view on how fusion can fulfil the promise of electricity production by 2050.

Impact 4
Cross-cutting issues:
• Euratom Horizon 2020 has identified many cross-cutting issues, such as: materials, coolant technology, reference nuclear data, modelling and simulation, remote handling, waste management, radiation protection.
• Material science is one of the main fields where both fusion and fission share the same interest and the Fireside-Talk K5 addressed this topic, with speakers from E-MRS and ABB.
• Also, in the past, a common programme and activities were performed for the benefit of both fusion and fission. Recognizing this point, the 20th Conference FORUM ENGELBERG 2012 scheduled a session on the afternoon of the 2nd day, in which fission and fusion materials were discussed, entitled: Long term: Which Concepts (Fission and Fusion) for the Future?

Impact 5
The Fireside-Talks were planned specifically to have an impact for participants, due to the way in which people could meet in a less-formal atmosphere and attend the talks in which they were interested.
These Fireside-Talks included the discussion of both nuclear and non-nuclear topics. For example:
Talk 1 - European priorities for energy research and innovation (SET-Plan)
Talk 2 - Global responsibility in the Future of Energy and Climate
Talk 3 - Network of Energy Networks: Convergence of Power-Grid, Gas-Grid and Distance-Heating-Grid - A Key Factor for Future Energy in Urban Areas
Talk 4 - lnteroperability of Transport in a Moving World

Related information

Reported by

ASSOCIATION FORUM ENGELBERG
Switzerland
Follow us on: RSS Facebook Twitter YouTube Managed by the EU Publications Office Top