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New MS Linking for an Advanced Cohesion in Euratom Research

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Closer cooperation with fission research newcomers

New Member States (NMSs) represent a largely untapped potential for research and development in nuclear energy-enabling technologies. An EU-funded initiative has fostered better integration of their competences in the European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom).

Energy

Despite numerous EU initiatives to encourage NMSs to participate in the Euratom programme, their involvement remains low. In terms of budget, only 5 % of related grants in both the Sixth and Seventh Framework Programmes (FP6 and FP7, respectively) were held by these countries. A consortium representing research institutions, implementers, and small and medium-sized enterprises from NMSs and Old Member States (OMSs) joined forces to remedy this situation. The 15 partners together identified the best applicable solutions to increase the future participation of NMSs in fission research. Within the EU-funded project 'New MS linking for an advanced cohesion in Euratom research' (NEWLANCER), they worked along three directions. The ultimate aim was to establish a dynamic network able to unlock the research potential of each country, increase cohesion among institutions in NMSs and enhance cooperation with OMS research centres. The NEWLANCER network provided insights into the current research capabilities and difficulties in NMSs and identified opportunities for future project proposals. These served as the starting point for working plans to strengthen cooperation at regional level and increase cohesion in Euratom. Structured across19national and 5regional expert groups, this network served as an interface with institutions' management and national research authorities to improve access to funding opportunities. On the other hand, senior scientists' points of view on research needs and priorities were communicated to European structures framing nuclear energy strategies. An evaluation of success stories in both NMSs and OMSs enabled the NEWLANCER consortium to produce guidelines for good practices. In addition, recommendations reflecting project findings were communicated to a wide group of stakeholders interested in enhancing the exploitation of research potential. NEWLANCER has brought research in NMSs oriented towards developing reactors and reducing waste radiotoxicity to a higher level. In the process, it enhanced the overall level of European research capacity with important benefits for the EU and its citizens regarding clean, safe and sustainable energy.

Keywords

Fission research, New Member States, nuclear energy, Euratom, radiotoxicity

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29 April 2021