Christophe Poinssot wins chair “Roger Van Geen” 2017


On Wednesday 15 November, the award ceremony of the chair “Roger Van Geen” took place at the University Foundation in Brussels. With the support of SCK•CEN, the Fonds Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek – Vlaanderen (FWO) granted the chair “Roger Van Geen” in collaboration with the Fonds de la Recherche Scientifique (F.R.S.-FNRS). Next to the chair, the amount of €12,500 was also allocated.

Promoting research on nuclear energy applications is one of the priorities of SCK•CEN, the Belgian Nuclear Research Centre. The chair “Roger Van Geen” is presented to top-level scientists in the research field of nuclear energy and/or nuclear radiation. It is the reward of an amazing academic research. Candidates must be associated with an approved research institute and a recognized university at a postgraduate level or higher.

This year, the independent jury elected Dr. Christophe Poinssot due to his impressive list of outstanding publications on recycling the nuclear fuel cycles. The guiding principle in his research is the following: the ecological footprint and societal acceptance to develop sustainable nuclear energy through methodological tools.

In 1994, Christophe Poinssot obtained 2 Master’s Degrees in Earth Sciences and Material Sciences. In 1997, he earned a PhD in Material Sciences. He is currently Head of the Research Department on Mining and Fuel Recycling Processes at CEA, Commissariat à l’énergie atomique et aux énergies alternatives. Besides, he is also professor in nuclear chemistry and President of PROMETIA (Mineral Processing and Extractive Metallurgy and Recycling Innovation Association).

“There is no denying that the fight against climate change is one of the greatest challenges our society will have to face in the coming century. We must involve everyone to ensure the transition from fossil fuels to carbon-free, renewable and nuclear energy”, explains Christophe Poinssot. “To me, it is important to stay objective and shed light on the potential contribution of the current and mostly future nuclear industry to the development of a sustainable and environment-friendly society. This approach allowed me to prove that recycling nuclear fuels is the cornerstone of a sustainable nuclear industry taking care of the environment and natural resources.”

By giving out this chair, SCK•CEN wants to boost cooperation between Belgian universities and research institutions. Christophe Poinssot will give several lectures, namely to students of the Belgian Nuclear higher Engineering Network (BNEN) and other students, academics and researchers from SCK•CEN and other institutions.

“The life cycle of nuclear fuel is essential for producing energy but also for the remaining final product”, claims Eric van Walle, Director-General of SCK•CEN. “The work of Dr. Poinssot contributes to the completion of the fuel cycle which offers significant benefits in terms of nuclear waste’s radiotoxicity. SCK•CEN also wishes to perform research in this field through the future MYRRHA project.”

Prof. Roger Van Geen (1935-1995)

Prof Roger Van Geen obtained a degree of Licentiate in Physics and Doctor of Sciences at ULB. Later he was professor and dean at the Sciences and Applied Sciences faculty of VUB, where he was appointed rector in 1974. During his rectorate, the VUB University Hospital was opened and the construction of an oncological centre and a children’s hospital was started.

In 1975, Prof Van Geen joined the Board of Directors of SCK•CEN. In 1989, he was appointed Managing Director, and as of 1991 he was chairman. Prof Van Geen left a decisive mark on SCK•CEN's scientific ambitions and made a major contribution to the development of a big network of international relations. He also built bridges to politics and human sciences.


From left to right

Dr. Christophe Poinssot, CEA
Bart Van Beek, Strategy and Policy Cell FWO
Eric van Walle, Director-General SCK•CEN
Thomas Pardoen, Professor UCL