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The 14th KONTEC (International Symposium “Conditioning of Radioactive Operational & Decommissioning Wastes”) including 14th Status Report of BMBF “Decommissioning and Dismantling of Nuclear Facilities” from 27 to 29 March 2019 in the Congress Center of the Maritim Hotel in Dresden showed once again that the conference existing since 1993 has been recognised by the industry as the leading German trade fair for nuclear waste management.

The symposium, which has been growing steadily since 1993, enjoyed great popularity in 2019 with nearly 1,300 participants from 23 nations in Europe, Asia, Africa, America and North America and 86 exhibiting companies on an area of over 1,280 sqm.

Since the first event with few participants it has rapidly developed into a popular meeting place in the nuclear industry. In the meantime, KONTEC has become a magnet for all important national and international companies and institutions, which mainly focus on the conditioning of radioactive operational and decommissioning waste as well as on the dismantling of reactor plants. The symposium takes place every two years in spring and brings together operating experts, plant manufacturers, service providers, researchers, experts and representatives of the authorities to exchange information and experience.

KONTEC offers the suitable platform for the topic of interim and final storage in which the status report of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) on the research projects under the title " Decommissioning and Dismantling of Nuclear Facilities" is embedded.

On Wednesday, 27 March 2019 at 10.00 a.m. Mr. Olaf Oldiges, chairman of the KONTEC program committee opened the KONTEC 2019 and addressed among other things the still existing open questions around the plannable production of waste packages suitable for final disposal. In particular, the progress in the standardisation of procedures for product control, which is difficult to detect, and the fact that the staffing levels of those involved in the procedures are still far too low on the part of the authorities would give cause for concern that the planned opening of the repository in 2027 would actually result in significant storage volumes for the KONRAD repository. However, the current situation in Germany, where approx. 20 reactor plants are currently being actively dismantled or the corresponding permit applications have been submitted, allows us to look optimistically to the future.

Following the opening of the symposium, Ms. Sabine Diehr from the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) addressed the KONTEC 2019 greetings. The development of nuclear energy calls for changes until today. Changes in posture and perspective can be achieved through movement, says Ms. Diehr. Looking into the world with openness and confidence: this should be the essential message of all participants - this is an essential part of research. Through the FORKA programme (research for the dismantling of nuclear facilities), a whole series of research projects have been carried out in which scientists and companies work together. The forum "Research meets Industry", which took place for the first time in connection with the program committee of KONTEC, was well attended. A total of 15 participants from university and institutional research invited to "Speeddating" with industry. Coffee and cake were the subject of lively discussions about research projects, applications and possible collaborations.

Also this year KONTEC offered visitors, exhibitors and speakers ample time and space for the exchange of technical know-how as well as for networking and deepening business contacts. The main focus of the symposium is the exchange of expert knowledge in direct discussions as well as in the lectures - be it plenary lectures, KONTEC DIRECT or posters. A total of 86 companies took the opportunity to present their latest products and services in the trade exhibition on 1,288 square metres.

The programme committee attaches particular importance to a professionally balanced and high-quality programme of lectures. The programme of KONTEC 2019 was compiled in three major subject areas. Section 1 dealt with "Installations and technologies for the dismantling and treatment and packaging of operational and decommissioning wastes", Section 2 with "Disposal, interim and final disposal and transport of radioactive waste from operation, decommissioning and dismantling of nuclear installations" and Section 3 dealt with "Decommissioning and dismantling of nuclear installations". At KONTEC 2019 43 speakers had the opportunity to give their 20 - 30 minutes lecture in front of an interested audience of experts in the large plenary hall. For the foreign participants of the event, the plenary lectures were translated into English by simultaneous translators.

The winner of the "Best Plenar Award" will be determined on 28.06.2019 at the review meeting of the programme committee in Hamburg. The award includes an exclusive free ticket to KONTEC 2021. In another format, the KONTEC DIREKT - short lectures in word and picture, which is only available at KONTEC in this form, experts from research and industry were given the opportunity to present the content of the submitted contribution to a smaller audience in a 10-minute short lecture in addition to their poster. KONTEC DIREKT thus offered approx. 20 speakers the opportunity to present their poster presentation in detail digitally to up to 60 listeners.

The winner of this year's "Best KONTEC DIREKT Short Presentation Award" with "Robot System for Mapping Nuclear Facilities" is Mr. Dr.-Ing. Martin Brandauer from the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT).

In addition about 60 poster presentations, an integral part of KONTEC, were presented. Mr. Dr. Bastian Niedrée from Jülicher Entsorgungsgesellschaft für Nuklearanlagen mbH (JEN) won the "Best Poster Award" with "Mobile gas sampling and gas analysis of waste drums and Konrad containers".

As part of the KONTEC CAMPUS " Companies promote the next generation of nuclear engineers" - a project for the promotion of young talent which has been carried out at KONTEC since 2009 - 23 students were able to take part in KONTEC 2019 free of charge thanks to the support of 12 well-known companies of the industry. For years it has been headed by Dr. Thomas Hassel, Head of the Underwater Technical Center Hannover at the Institute of Materials Science, Production Technology Center Hannover (UWTH) and member of the KONTEC Program Committee. After an informative introductory round at the beginning of the KONTEC CAMPUS and a meeting with Mrs. Sabine Diehr, guided tours through the exhibition took place, where the participating students and interested exhibitors could exchange information directly. In the course of the past KONTEC CAMPUS projects numerous cooperation agreements between participating companies and students have already been concluded.

At the very well attended evening event on Thursday, 28 March 2019, the "KONTEC 2019 Banquet", on the terrace level of the MARITIM International Congress Center, interesting conversations were held, discussions deepened and new contacts made in a pleasant atmosphere and with delicious food and drinks at the "KONTEC 2017 Banquet".

On Friday, March 29, 2019 at noon Mr. Olaf Oldiges, Chairman of the KONTEC Program Committee, spoke the closing words and presented the winners of the KONTEC 2019 Awards with their book prizes and certificates. Mr. Oldiges thanked the participants, exhibitors, especially the speakers for their valuable contributions as well as the participants and said goodbye with reference to the date of KONTEC 2021 in the MARITIM Hotel & International Congress Center Dresden from 17th to 19th March 2021.

Current information about future KONTECs at www.kontec-symposium.de/.

atm Gesellschaft für aktives technisches Marketing GmbH, Hamburg