The meeting was an important step for the project, whose work methodology is based on dialogue and inclusiveness of all relevant stakeholders. 12 Member States and Associated Countries (MS/AC) came together to learn more about ORIENT-NM and provide initial feedback.
On 13 September, the ORIENT-NM project hosted an online discussion with representatives of EU Member States (MS) and Associated Countries (ACs). This first meeting is a part of the dialogue that the consortium seeks to establish in order to gather inputs, feedback, advice, and suggestions to guide the project's strategy. Accordingly, ORIENT-NM is working to produce a Strategic Research Agenda (SRA) for materials for all nuclear fission reactor generations until 2040 to support the deployment of a Co-Funded European Partnership (CEP) on nuclear materials. As such, this SRA needs to be consistent with national programmes and identify common goals that benefit all the MS/AC that decide to participate in the CEP.
With the involvement of more than 30 representatives from 14 different MS/AC, the event was opened by Lorenzo Malerba (CIEMAT), coordinator of the ORIENT-NM project, who briefly introduced the framework, objectives, way of work, and structure of the project. Most importantly, Dr Malerba shared the vision of the nuclear materials science community in Europe. As such, ORIENT-NM aims to:
In this respect, Lorenzo Malerba highlighted that even though all these objectives cannot be reached through one partnership, "one is needed to make the best of existing nuclear materials science assets in Europe". "We request your input to blend all visions into a single vision", Dr Malerba encouraged the attendees.
From the side of the European Commission, Mykola Džubinský, ORIENT-NM's Project Officer at DG Research & Innovation, asserted that "the attempt to set up an EJP or partnership on nuclear materials is not new (…). The Commission considers that the nuclear materials community is ready to be consolidated in the form of a EJP or CEP. For this to become true, it is important to have a group of MS/AC in favour", Džubinský concluded.
Under this light, the meeting was successfully held as a few Member States and Associated Countries already expressed a favourable position towards the project's goals, while none voiced clear objections. Moreover, several participants underlined the need to promote synergies with other EU programmes, the fusion community, and other low-carbon energy technologies, also critical aspects of ORIENT-NM.
This meeting intended to be the first occasion for ORIENT-NM to interact with MS/AC representatives and start a constructive dialogue. To follow, two workshops involving a wider audience are foreseen in November 2021 and by mid-2022. For more information, click here.
The presentations of the Informative Meeting can be downloaded from the Events page of the ORIENT-NM website here.