At the invitation of CEA, one of its Associate Members, the European Energy Forum is organising a delegation visit to Cadarache (South of France) on 27-28 September 2010 under the heading: “The CEA researches for a low-carbon economy.”
In 2010, the CEA changed its name and became the "Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission". Its aim is to better highlight the research that has been conducted for many years in the field of low-carbon energies This includes the use of nuclear power for its original purpose, as well as solar power, hydrogen production, fuel cells, storage of electricity for housing and transportation, and the conversion of biomass to bio-fuels.
The visit to Cadarache will cover three issues: renewable energies, controlled thermonuclear fusion and nuclear fission. It will start on the evening of 27 September with a presentation by Hervé Bernard, Deputy CEO of the CEA, in which he will give a general overview of the strategy of CEA and its projects in the coming years.
Bernard Bigot, CEO of the CEA, believes that Europe must free itself from its reliance on fossil fuels by 2050 and that the next 10 to 15 years will be crucial. We must prioritise electric vehicles, solar power and wind power but, to do this, we will have to develop the means of storing electricity.
In Cadarache, the EEF delegation will be visiting solar power and biofuel facilities.
At the dinner debate we organised in Strasbourg on 18 May this year, on the subject of the ITER experimental thermonuclear fusion reactor project, Bernard Bigot (acting as the French High Representative at ITER) explained, in particular, how the Cadarache site was preparing for the arrival of ITER. The stage is now set for the construction of the reactor and welcoming the personnel from all four corners of the globe who will be involved. There is even an international school for employees’ children, who will be taught in 10 languages! 300 pupils are already attending lessons at the school.
Our delegation will be visiting the ITER site as well as the TORE - SUPRA thermonuclear fusion research facility. Finally, the delegation will also be finding out about the work involved in developing nuclear fission and will be visiting the construction site for the Jules Horowitz reactor (RJH), which is designed to enable the study of innovative materials and fuels for future electronuclear reactor networks. RJH will also be used to produce radio-elements for medical purposes. This reactor was named in memory of a very eminent scientist who helped forge the CEA's reputation. Jules Horowitz was the President of the Scientific and Technical Committee of Euratom in the early 1980s. I had cause to mention his name in the Letter from the Publisher accompanying our newsletter from September 2008, which discussed thermonuclear fusion and the length of time it will take to develop it before we are able to produce energy.
RJH is designed for nuclear fission and will be dedicated specifically to the “4th Generation: G IV” type of fission. At the dinner debate on 7 July this year in Strasbourg, our guest speaker, Dominique Ristori, the Deputy Director-General for Energy at the European Commission, stressed the importance of G IV, which must become established before the energy produced by thermonuclear fusion can be used.
The visit to Cadarache looks set to be a great success. There are just a few days left to sign up for the trip so,
if you would like to register, please contact the EEF secretariat on the following number: +32 2 773 95 36 or by e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
I would also like to draw your attention to another EEF visit due to take place in October. Areva and Edf have invited the EEF to visit the Hague reprocessing plant and the building site of Flamanville 3 on 27 and 28 of October. If you would like to join us, again please contact the secretariat on the following number: +32 2 773 95 36 or by e-mail: email@example.com.
Returning briefly to alternative energies, in the autumn I plan to devote a publisher’s letter to geothermal science and, more specifically, a report on this subject that was recently adopted by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe.