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Published:September 5th, 2007 10:49 EST
Experts to Look 25 Years Ahead, A Nuclear Crystal Ball?

Experts to Look 25 Years Ahead, A Nuclear Crystal Ball?

By SOP newswire

While no crystal ball, the IAEA´s Scientific Forum this month promises to offer far-reaching insights into where nuclear development is headed over the next quarter century. Many of the world´s top authorities are examining issues of nuclear power, safety and security, safeguards, and international development.

The Forum is taking place 18-19 September as part of events during the IAEA General Conference at the Austria Centre in Vienna. Opening the Forum are IAEA Director General Mohamed ElBaradei and Gareth Evans, the Forum´s Chair and head of the International Crisis Group, an independent multinational non-governmental organisation.

Dr. ElBaradei has stressed the range of challenges and tasks remaining to be done, singling out issues in health care, agricultural production and water and energy supplies; radiation safety and security; and non-proliferartion and arms control.

"We need to look for creative approaches in all these areas so that nuclear technology can continue to play a significant role in social development and the promotion of peace," he says in the Forum announcement.

Four sessions are being held:

Nuclear Power. This session will look at energy in the 21st century and the potential for nuclear power, particularly for developing countries and countries in the Middle East. Other presentations will examine nuclear fuel services in the next quarter century; managing residues; innovation, research and development in the next quarter century; and expectations for fusion research and ITER.

Meeting New Challenges in Food, Agriculture and Health. Speakers at this session will talk about cancer as a global health issue; future trends in radiation therapy as as effective tool to fight cancer in women; global challenges in food and agriculture, controlling animal diseases; and sustainable agriculture.

Global Safety and Security Regime: Building Robust Safety and Security Infrastructures. This session´s invited speakers will address challenges to a harmonized global safety regime; transport of radioactive material; nuclear reactor ageing; safety and security of innovative reactors; safety and security of radioactive sources; decommissioning; and enhancing global emergency preparedness.

Safeguards and Nuclear Verification: A Long-Term View. The focus of this session will be on the expected world security context for the next 25 years; outlook on the global nuclear non-proliferation regime; understanding clandestine nuclear procurement networks; and consolidation of safeguards and non-proliferation in the context of a nuclear rennaisance.

The Scientific Forum has been a regular feature and useful addition to the IAEA´s annual General Conference since 1998. It customarily brings together experts and decision-makers in specific fields to network with their peers, share experiences, review latest developments, and stimulate discussion on scientific and other issues relating to the IAEA´s activities, which are of interest to Member States. Previous fora have dealt with subjects ranging from water resources, nuclear waste, safeguards and verification, nuclear safety, technical cooperation, and the nuclear fuel cycle, among others.

This year´s Scientific Forum is the tenth since 1998 to run parallel with the annual General Conference. This year´s theme has been especially chosen to coincide with the commemoration of the Agency´s 50th year anniversary in 2007.