Ladies and gentlemen:
I offer you a cordial welcome to the World Nuclear Association’s Annual Symposium, the 28th in a series dating back to our origins as the Uranium Institute in 1975.
We have a substantial agenda for the next two days – and should get right to it.
As we begin, I want to underscore how gratified I have been in watching the evolution of our organisation over the past two and a half years – since we took the decision to adopt a new name and to seek a broader global vocation.
That decision – to become the World Nuclear Association – embraced both constancy and change.
On the one hand, we reaffirmed this organisation’s twin purposes, which were already well established.
Our first aim is to facilitate cooperation within the nuclear industry, on technical, policy and commercial matters.
Today we continue to do this – with even greater vigour – through a full spectrum of active working groups that relate to all aspects of the nuclear fuel cycle:
The WNA biennial Market Report – a product of the Nuclear Fuel Working Group – is a key tool of industry analysis.
Meanwhile, other WNA working groups serve as operationally-oriented think tanks:
In the past year, we have initiated two new working groups:
The WNA’s second role – which we reaffirmed two years ago and have also pursued with new vigour – is to advance the industry’s common interests by promoting:
Most of such effort must be performed at the national level. But important functions remain to be performed at the transnational level.
To achieve influence there, our tools are information and coordination.
The foundation for all effective public outreach is sound and persuasive information, which we develop and offer directly to the public – and also as a resource for our WNA members. The WNA website provides a vast body of accurate and up-to-date information and is increasingly recognised as the best single source of information on the global nuclear industry.
The website’s offerings range from dozens of well-researched information papers to a multimedia tutorial that we call the WNA "AutoEssay"
Entitled "Why Tomorrow’s World Needs Nuclear Energy", the AutoEssay is available, both on the website and also on mini-CD, in some 20 languages.
Recent innovations on the website are a special site concerning Waste Management and Decommissioning and an interactive database on Nuclear Power Plants, which is being devised as a readily accessible catalogue of all available information on every nuclear power reactor worldwide. All of these sources are concentrating information with a comprehensiveness available nowhere else.
From somewhere in the world – whether from one of our own members or from an interested member of the public – www.world-nuclear.org now receives a hit every few seconds.
Equipped with our various information products, we work with – and on behalf of – our partner organisations to initiate targeted educational efforts:
The tool of coordination has multiple uses:
Looking to the industry itself:
Looking outside the industry – to the critical ongoing UN negotiations on climate change and sustainable development – the WNA is acting to coordinate the industry’s efforts to overcome widespread myths, loosen entrenched ideology, and imbue this profoundly important process with a fact-based realism. In these international forums, the need for clean energy is a central theme. Yet, perversely, the essential role of nuclear power – rather than being accepted as an agreed principle – remains a matter of fundamental dispute. Our work is aimed at the long-term goal of settling this issue, once and for all, by achieving an explicit recognition – by the UN and within its key development agencies – that nuclear power is indispensable to global sustainable development.
Looking ahead to the infrastructure required for an expanding global industry, we focussed on the essential need to manage and preserve knowledge, to build a larger professional work force, and to internationalise educational standards and credentials. These needs led us inexorably into the central coordinating role we have played in galvanizing the creation of the World Nuclear University, which will inaugurate this morning.
In bringing new energy to the pursuit of this organisation’s traditional goals of internal cooperation and external representation, we also embraced a new aspiration, which was to build our organisation into one that is truly global.
Here our aim was nothing less than to build a membership encompassing every nuclear enterprise in the global industry.
In this, our work is not yet complete. But our progress is impressive.
Starting with some 60 enterprises in 16 countries, our membership has expanded to 108 enterprises in 31 countries.
In so doing, we strengthened our membership within OECD countries and Russia. But our principal thrust was to broaden our geographical scope to include organisations in such key nations as China, India, Pakistan, Brazil, Argentina, and South Africa.
This expansion has nurtured new contacts in countries representing some half of world population – and also much of the momentum of 21st century economic development. While a number of Western countries continue to dither on clean-energy policy, several of these large developing countries have made a solid commitment to nuclear power.
Today, at the current state of our expansion, WNA members represent over 90% of the non-generation side of the nuclear industry worldwide and just under 80% of nuclear power generation outside the United States.
I stated earlier that power production is primarily a national business. Accordingly, there is a key role for associations operating at the national level.
Our aim is to see a clean division of labour whereby the WNA supports this work by performing complementary functions not performed at the national level.
At the trans-national level, we also see a clean division of labour:
This graphic depicts what we believe is a valuable, efficient and non-duplicative mosaic – a de facto institutional partnership – which can provide a strong transnational foundation for this industry’s global expansion in the 21st century.
In closing, let me return to basics. Our premise is that nuclear technology will be indispensable in the century ahead if humankind is to meet the challenge of sustainable development.
Implicit in that premise is an enormous challenge for all of us:
In meeting this challenge, I believe that the WNA is making a fundamental and needed contribution.
I welcome you again to the WNA Symposium, as we turn now to an event I believe we should welcome with real enthusiasm, the founding of the World Nuclear University.
I am proud of the central role the WNA was able to play in bringing about this important institutional innovation.
If we in the industry now provide the support necessary to realise the full potential of this new institution, it can constitute a great step forward – a step that is both visionary and eminently practical – for an industry and a technology that are vital to our world’s future.
I yield now with great pleasure to our Director General, who will serve as host as we inaugurate the World Nuclear University.
© copyright The World Nuclear Association 2003