Division of Nuclear and Radiochemistry

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Mission, Objectives and History

The Division of Nuclear and Radiochemistry (DNRC) is a network of societies and their scientists working in nuclear and radiochemistry throughout Europe and aims to have close links to related institutions all over the world. A broad communicative basis is achieved by cooperation with relevant supranational bodies such as IUPAC and IAEA as well as with journals and newsletters. It endeavours to establish and maintain the highest quality standards in science and research. DNRC accepts a role to coordinate education and training in all aspects of nuclear and radiochemistry and to offer a means of communication and collaboration between scientists working in the fields.

Objectives of the DNRC are:

  • To contribute to the advancement of nuclear and radiochemistry in Europe;
  • To identify important areas in science, technology and other human activities relevant to nuclear and radiochemistry, and to stimulate actions in such fields;
  • To address aspects of importance in or to nuclear and radiochemistry which need regulation, harmonisation, standardisation or codification, and to make recommendations as appropriate;
  • To encourage cooperation between nuclear and radiochemists whether working in academia, industry or governance, in particular within the countries of the member societies of EuChemS;
  • To foster close contacts and cooperation of DNRC with the European Commission and other relevant institutions;
  • To safeguard the interests of the nuclear and radiochemistry community, especially concerning recognition and legitimisation in matters of regulation and legislation as well as decision making in economic and in social areas;
  • To assist and strengthen quality in teaching and training of nuclear and radiochemistry in education and in daily practice;
  • To support the transfer and exchange of knowledge, equipment and personnel in the areas of DNRC expertise both within Europe and in non-European countries;
  • To hold a European Conference at least every other year;
  • To assume a general promotion and coordination function for other conferences and courses in Europe related to DNRC activities;
  • To disseminate information to the wider scientific community and general public about nuclear and radiochemistry and its achievements.

History of the Division of Nuclear and Radiochemistry of EuChemS

It all began at the First International Conference on Nuclear and Radiochemistry (NRC) at Lindau, Germany in 1984. Twenty countries informally nominated a Liaison Person (LP) through their parent Chemical Society to meet and discuss the way forward. It was informally called European Radiochemists Association (ERA).
The objective of the association was to extend and improve communications between radiochemists in Europe through a newsletter. This would be achieved through aims, which included:

  1. Establishing a liaison person within each country (or group).
  2. Exchanging with each of the other liaison persons details of the activities of their own group during the current and subsequent years.
  3. Setting up a diary of relevant International Events to avoid duplication of dates and hence improve attendance.
  4. Exchanging details of specialist equipment, facilities and methodology.

The LPs discussed how these could best be advanced. Consideration was given to membership with a subscription, but this was deemed to be difficult to implement and restrictive in practice. A newsletter freely available seemed more productive in achieving the aims. At Lindau the Radiochemical Methods Group of the Royal Society of Chemistry (RCMG is now just the RCG) agreed to arrange a second conference to be held at Brighton in 1988. This was organised by the RCMG with most of the LPs involved through communication. At the time Dr K. Buchtella from Austria offered to arrange the third conference in Vienna. This was organised with no contact with the LPs. At the time of NRC3, the LPs agreed via emails that the series should continue and accepted an offer to hold the fourth conference in St Malo, France in 1996. A formal meeting was held at St Malo to again discuss the future. A link or association with an existing organisation was regarded as the best way forward. Two years later, the panel discussion at the 13th Radiochemistry Conference at Mariánské Lázně and Jáchymov in the Czech Republic had supported the view that there should be a regular conference on nuclear and radiochemistry in Europe. The ERA therefore resisted attempts to hold the NRC series of conferences outside Europe.

The European Radiochemists Association had now made some progress as the Royal Society of Chemistry UK had agreed to give secretarial support to the venture as they were the secretariat to the Federation of European Chemical Societies (the forerunner of EuChemS) at the time. Finance from the RCG was available for a printed newsletter. The first Radiochemistry in Europe newsletter was compiled by Dr Anthony R Ware of RCG and issued in hard copy in August 1995 to all LPs for circulation. Following many discussions a constitution was prepared and presented to FECS with a request to become an affiliated member. We had not lost the concept of a European Radiochemists Association, but realised that it would be difficult to establish an independent association. FECS seemed to have the same general aims as originally stated by ERA, and at its General Assembly in September 1999 the Federation of European Chemical Societies agreed to the formation of a Working Party on Nuclear and Radiochemistry. The constitution of the WP accepted by FECS had been drawn up and agreed with the LPs. It permitted the 48 Chemical Societies Associated with FECS to appoint 1 member to the WP. Many of the LPs were duly formally appointed. In addition, the WP was able to have nonvoting members from other organisations. Formal Committee Meetings were then held in each year as required by the constitution. The first formal meeting of the new WP was during the NRC5 in Pontresina, Switzerland in 2000 and Dr Tony Ware was elected the Chair and Secretary.

The very first issue of the Radiochemistry in Europe newsletter

FECS renamed itself as the European Association for Chemical and Molecular Sciences (EuCheMS as it was then). Dr Tony Ware continued to sit on EuCheMS Council and duly submitted a constitution to transform the WP into a Division of Nuclear and Radiochemistry. In addition to the successful NRC series, the Division has incorporated the Radiochemical Conferences series held in the Czech Republic every four years, thus establishing a conference covering all aspects of nuclear and radiochemistry every two years as required by its aims.

Dr Ware continued to hold the posts of Secretary and Chair of the Division until 2007 when the Secretariat was taken over by Dr. Simon Jerome (UK). After 24 years of service to the DNRC, Dr Ware was succeeded as Chair by Prof. Dr. Heinz Gäggeler from the Paul Scherrer Institut, Switzerland, since 2008. He was then followed by Dr. Nick Evans (UK, since 2014). After a short period of ad interim chairmanship of the immediate past chairman, H. Gäggeler, on the turn of 2015 and 2016, the current chair Prof. Jon Petter Omtvedt (Norway) took over in 2016. Dr. Jerome was succeeded as the Secretary since 2008 by Prof. Jan John from CTU Prague, who continues to hold this post until the present day.

In view of his extraordinary service to the DNRC, Dr Tony Ware became the first recipient of DNRC Honorary Membership award accompanied by the “Pro Meritis” DNRC medal, designed to honour a person of outstanding merits and long-lasting valuable services for DNRC.