More than 2,700 curious visitors at SCK CEN’s visiting weekend
The visiting weekend marks the celebrations for SCK CEN's 70th anniversary
Last weekend, the nuclear research centre opened its doors to the general public - for the first time in 10 years. This attracted a lot of curious visitors. SCK CEN welcomed more than 2,700 of them. "This year, SCK CEN is blowing 70 candles out. We also wanted to share this anniversary with the general public," enthuses Eric van Walle, Director-General of SCK CEN.
"The latest cancer therapy is radioactive", "Belgium starts research into small-scale nuclear power plants", "Belgians have a say in the disposal of nuclear waste", ... Anyone reading the newspapers these days knows that the nuclear sector is a regular feature. And that means SCK CEN is, too. "These topical issues are all areas in which we conduct research on a daily basis. We even play an important role at the global level. For us, the visiting weekend was the perfect opportunity to get this message across to the general public", explains Eric van Walle, Director-General of SCK CEN. The initiative was clearly met with enthusiasm, as all the available spots were taken in less than a week. "We welcomed over 2,700 visitors. That's what we call a success!"
The nuclear research centre treated the visitors to a fascinating and interactive programme. Among other things, this programme took them into the control room of Belgian Reactor 1 (BR1), the first, and still operational, research reactor in Belgium. Visitors delved into the virtual reactor vessel of Belgian Reactor 2 (BR2) and had a go at operating the robotic arms of a hot cell. They also learned about the role played by the nuclear sector in the fight against cancer, everything that happens when nuclear power plants are dismantled, what research SCK CEN is doing into solutions for radioactive waste and how reactor technologies can help in this regard.
SCK CEN hopes that the company visit has also inspired young future talents. "Ensuring an adequately-skilled workforce in the nuclear industry, health care, government agencies and research is a major challenge. Attracting young people to STEM subjects (Science - Technology - Engineering - Mathematics) is the first step. We hope that this company visit has already made them curious about nuclear science and technology!", says Michèle Coeck, director of the SCK CEN Academy.
Unfortunately, the nuclear research centre does not open its doors every year. "This year, SCK CEN is blowing 70 candles out. We didn't want that to just pass under the radar. In fact, we wanted to celebrate it in a unique way - with our collaborators, stakeholders and society. After all, we are working for society. We develop innovative nuclear applications for societal challenges," concludes Eric van Walle. In addition to the visiting weekend, SCK CEN has other important milestones on the calendar for this celebratory year, including the appointment of Peter Baeten. He will succeed Eric van Walle as Director-General on 1 November.
Were you unable to attend, but would you still like to discover how SCK CEN works? Then be sure to pay a visit to our exhibition in the brand new visitor and meeting centre Tabloo.
More information: https://tabloo.com/en