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[en] The article describes the key activities of the Institute for Communication, General Services and Administration (CSA) of the Belgian Nuclear Research Centre SCK-CEN. CSA deals with communication and knowledge management and co-ordinates courses on the fundamentals and applications of nuclear research. CSA also comprises the administrative, financial, logistic and central technical services, as well as human resources and ICT
[en] The article refers to an abstract of a doctoral thesis. From a legal perspective there exists a clear need for a general framework describing conditions and consequences of risk management in the field of high technology. Despite the existence of many kinds of Safety Procedures and Soft Law, specific guidelines are lacking for regulators and courts, especially in case of scientific controversy and uncertainty about the health effects of an activity or a product such as low doses of ionising radiation, electro-magnetic fields, genetically modified organisms, PCB's in salmon etc. The research of the PISA Project on Legal Aspects and Liability has been focussed on the medical applications of ionising radiation. The safety approach depends on the risk characterisation and differs for stochastic and deterministic effects. The most important objective was to find liability or funding systems which can cope with these differences, in particular between dose limits (as for the nuclear industry), reference dose levels foreseen in the EC medical Directive (as for nuclear medicine), and Optimisation referring to the ALARA principle. Risk assessment and risk management that are based on traditional narrow risk-assessment models have to be revised in the light of the Precautionary Principle. This principle urges policy-makers to adopt a broader, more pluralistic approach, considering the societal equilibrium, i.e. the general interest of the activity at stake, the general impact of individual protective measures and the existence of reasonable alternatives from a sociological, economical, scientific and technological point of view. One of the characteristics of the Precautionary Principle relates to our opinion to the collective damage to human health, i.e. a detriment that relates to a group of people. Nevertheless, as a result of the application of the Precautionary Principle, we believe that in case of individual damage the standard of care shall be more and more defined, following the risk characterisation and assessment which has to be introduced once a scientific or societal problem occurs with regard to medical practices, already subject to the legal duty of Justification and of Informed Consent. For some specific cases, as paediatric CT doses, the 2003 report of the Belgian Health Council gives a clear warning and refers to collective doses that are significantly higher than in the neighbouring countries. It cannot be denied that such a repeated warning urges decision makers and hospitals to take corrective actions, in particular when poor optimisation is put in place. Causality in the nuclear field is another complex problem, where worldwide alternatives are under consideration, such as probability of causation. However, such a concept, based on statistical proof, can hardly be implemented in Belgian law since our tort- and insurance-system is based on the individual relationship between liable actor and victim
[en] Safety culture generally focusses on human and organisational contributions to safety performance within organisations that are characterised by a high level of risk. The term safety culture is used in different sectors. The literature distinguishes between two visions on culture and safety culture. According to the first view, culture culture is considered as an organisational tool. This view is the predominant view in the nuclear sector and postulates that the organisation can develop, assess, enhance and rectify culture by organisational actions. The second view considers safety culture as a metaphor of the organisation. It is a kind of culture of facts. Within this anthropological approach, each organisation transports values and beliefs that are partly adopted by workers. The culture is seen as a source of description and understanding. As part of a PhD study, safety culture in the nuclear sector was investigated based on an exploratory approach that is used in social sciences. In particular, the Focus Group technique was used and fieldwork was applied to two sites: a nuclear power plant in France and the Belgian Nuclear Research Centre SCK-CEN. The different groups of players that were taken into account include workers, safety officers and managers. Current results indicate that different safety cultures group similar components, in particular regulatory, organisational, mental, relational and informal components. The specificity of a safety culture is the result of the predominance of one or two components and their ranking
[en] The water tower located at the Belgian Nuclear Research Center SCK•CEN was constructed in the mid-1950s. It ensures that there is sufficient pressure in the drinking water mains on the site and also serves as a physical separation between the public water supply and the SCK•CEN supply. The article describes work undertaken with respect to the renovation of the water tower.
[en] The article discusses the new strategic plan of the Belgian Nuclear Research Center SCK•CEN. SCK•CEN's strategic plan is implemented in 2017 and addresses, among others, the role of the high-performance infrastructure and strives to a balance between fundamental science and commercial applications.
[en] Partly because nuclear energy technology continues to provoke profound controversy, the Flemish institute for technology assessment (viWTA) took the initiative to order a study aimed at mapping out the historical dynamics of the societal debate on nuclear energy. This study was carried out by the Belgian Nuclear Research Centre (SCK-CEN, under the research programme PISA) together with the Free university of Brussels (VUB, research group MEKO) in 2004. In 2007, the report was updated and published by Acco (Leuven) under the title Kernenergie (on)besproken. This study had three main objectives: 1) to discuss the societal debate on nuclear energy in Belgium in relation to major events (Chernobyl, TMI, etc.); 2) to elucidate the role of social actors in the controversy on both a national and international level and 3) to discuss possible alternatives for a better structuring of the debate in the future, building on existing approaches
[en] People make projects work and together create the expertise that the Belgian Nuclear Research Center SCK•CEN offers the world. The article describes recent developments Human Resources Management (HRM) at the Belgian Nuclear Research Center SCK•CEN..
[en] The expert culture needs more ethical reflection in a risk based society. In order to improve transparency goals in a more democratic decision-making process, the contributions of several types of expertise must be gathered in a trans-disciplinary approach. In Belgium, the involvement of the population in the nuclear waste management projects at local level MONA and Stola is seen as a positive support for building social consensus and as a main channel for communication with laymen. At global level, the role of experts in the editing of safety standard and radiation protection guidance stresses the importance of giving more attention to peer review both from scientific side as from society interests. Within European decommissioning policy we see clear needs for comparisons and justification, especially in fund management on the long term. This could help the population to fill the gap between complex issues and legitimated demands for information. Questioning the mandate of experts and reviewing their contribution will help making explicit basic issues that deal with more social concern for future cost of energy, environmental protection and possible scenarios of energy supply. The governance approach addressed to future generations asks for more social justification from scientists, experts and politicians. This requires specific efforts to build up sustainable platforms of dialogue on controversial topics. The objectives of work performed by SCK-CEN are to support ethical considerations in different reflection groups; to enhance transparency within the communication processes; to favour social review in decision-making processes dealing with expert culture analyses and to suggest more involvement to improve democratic attitudes in techno-scientific reflexion