Women in Nuclear (WiN) Annual
Global Meeting in Tokyo :
Will Nuclear Power Be Chosen As Energy for the 21 st Century?
Exclusive Interview with WiN President Annick Carnino.
Nothing Is More Important than Communication and Transparency
Ms. Annick Carnino, the president of WiN Global, which includes
members from 60 countries worldwide, has dedicated many years
of her professional career to nuclear safety services in France.
In addition, she has also assumed the position of manager
for nuclear facility safety at the International Atomic Energy
Agency (IAEA). We interviewed her about the significance of
this year's WiN Global Conference in Japan, as well as what
is happening in Europe and the rest of the world with regard
to nuclear energy.
Q1. Could you explain the significance of your organization's
general assembly this year?
A1. We at WIN Global, an international network of women working
professionally in the fields of nuclear energy and radiation
applications, hold an annual general assembly in one of the
member countries in Europe, the U.S., or Asia. The regions
take turns hosting the meeting each year. We get together
in one place in order to share and discuss a variety of topics
of interest in the world, which we find greatly benefits us
in terms of what individual members do professionally on a
The activities of WiN are designed to win understanding regarding
the fact that nuclear energy is useful not only for military
purposes, but also for peaceful purposes in a broad range
of sectors such as electric power generation, advanced medial
services, and science and technology. Unfortunately to say,
our society is still male-oriented, and this is also the case
with the nuclear energy world. However, there are many cases
where women can change social awareness from their perspective.
In this sense, our meeting is also an international forum
for information exchange among professional women working
in the nuclear energy business environment.
Q2. This year's meeting seems to make a difference by providing
your first symposium open to the public, where WIN members
may meet citizens not involved in nuclear business, or women
residing in regions were nuclear power plants are located.
A2. It is wonderful indeed. I had been thinking that we needed
to have such an open meeting in order to exchange information
with a broad range of people, instead of a closed forum for
members only. Nothing is more important than communication
and transparency in order to win better understanding regarding
nuclear energy among people. I suppose that there should be
a particularly strong public demand for transparency in a
country like Japan, since it has had a series of scandals
involving nuclear energy businesses. We hope that the Tokyo
meeting provides an opportunity for many people to discuss
a variety of issues toward public consensus building.
Q3. What do European people think about the awareness gap
between where nuclear power plants are located and where electric
power generated from nuclear energy is consumed?
A3. Talking about my experience, I think that French people
share the common idea that it is unrealistic to build nuclear
power plants in major cities. It is inevitable, therefore,
that nuclear power plants are located far away from the location
of energy consumption. The focus of this matter is not toward
nuclear power plant locations, but towards the locations of
storage and disposal of the radioactive waste. However, this
common recognition remains unchanged by nature.
The importance here is that the government is deeply involved
in decision-making and enforcement of its national policies.
In France, the government establishes committees where nuclear
power plants are located, which include members of local assemblies,
media reporters and opinion leaders. In addition, government
employees are dispatched to local representative offices to
be engaged in activities to win public acceptance (PA) among
local communities that are affected. The focus of PA efforts
will probably be shifted toward nuclear waste issues worldwide.
Because these are long-term issues, the government should
be in the forefront of communication to citizens.
Q4. In the countries introducing deregulation into the electric
power industry, the positioning of nuclear power generation
A4. That is true with regard to certain aspects of the issue,
but I think that nuclear power generation will continue to
be necessary even after industry deregulation. To achieve
sustainable growth, we need to choose sources of energy with
competitive advantages in terms of natural resources and the
environment. From the aspect of a country's independence in
terms of energy procurement today, nuclear energy is essential
for both France and Japan. From the economic perspective,
the current crude oil hike points to the importance of securing
long-term stable electric power supply sources. The CO2-free
energy source should help prevent global warming, as well
as provide economic benefits in the future. Nuclear energy
is also expected to provide an electric power source for hydrogen
In addition, nuclear fuel reprocessing has brought many benefits
to France. The fourth-generation nuclear power reactor project,
currently being discussed worldwide, includes a variety of
options by anticipating the potentially changing environment
in the future. Thus, I think it will be possible to continue
to develop nuclear energy under such flexible circumstances
in the future.