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On 18–23rd April 2010, the 16th Radiochemical conference—RadChem 2010—was organized again in the usual place, in Mariánské Lázně, Czech Republic. The eight traditional Conference sessions, in particular “Radionuclides in the Environment, Radioecology”, “Nuclear Analytical Methods”, “Chemistry of Actinide and Transactinide Elements”, “Radiation Chemistry”, “Production and Application of Radionuclides”, “Separation Methods, Speciation”, “Chemistry of Nuclear Fuel Cycle, Radiochemical Problems in Nuclear Waste Management” and “Nuclear Methods in Medicine, Radiopharmaceuticals, and Radiodiagnostics, Labelled Compounds” were complemented by a new session on the “Education” in recognition of the increasing demand for new young specialists in all the nuclear fields triggered both by the renaissance of the nuclear energy and by the ever growing radionuclides application in radiopharmacy and nuclear medicine.
Under the auspices of the Czech Technical University in Prague (CTU) the conference was traditionally organized by a committee composed of members of the Nuclear Chemistry Section of the Czech Chemical Society, and of the Ioannes Marcus Marci Spectroscopic Society. For the first time, the conference was organised on behalf of the Division of Nuclear- and Radiochemistry (DNRC) of the European Association for Chemical and Molecular Sciences (EuCheMS) as an integral part—together with the Nuclear and Radiochemistry (NRC) conference series—of the biennial series of European general nuclear- and radiochemical conferences guaranteed by the DNRC. Similarly to our previous meetings, RadChem 2010 was organised in cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency and it was sponsored by the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry. As usually, the municipality authorities of Mariánské Lázně and the health resort—Marienbad Kur & Spa Hotels—took a warm interest in our conference and are acknowledged with pleasure for their support and arrangements.
The organisation of RadChem 2010 was seriously obstructed by the unfortunate coincidence of the conference with the infamous Eyjafjallajökull eruption that took place on the 14th April, only 4 days before the start of the conference. Due to the non-existing air traffic over Europe before and during the first half of the conference week, some 20% of the pre-registered participants, especially those from the overseas and more distant parts of Europe, were unable to come. These unhappy circumstances complicated significantly both the conference scientific programme and the technical arrangements. However, on the other hand, these problems firmly united the participants with the organiser into one compact team with the only aim—to have the conference running and make as much of it as possible. Thus, the participants were not only smoothly adapting to the programme changes following the programme updates issued by the organisers twice a day but they also made full use of the new instruments created on-the-go by the organisers—namely the newly created Poster Appetisers Sessions were a clear success as well as the upload of “no-show posters” on the Indico conference management system followed by their printing and display by the organisers.
All the pre-registered paying participants who were unable to come to Mariánské Lázně were air-mailed their conference materials (including these Conference Proceedings) and they were invited to upload their papers to the on-line registration system Indico and have them processed for inclusion into the Conference Proceedings. A special extended deadline was provided for submission of such papers. Being aware of the exceptional situation, the organisers made every effort to be able to refund at least the part of the registration fees exceeding the “fixed costs” associated with the room and equipment rentals, associated services and staff, prints and P&P, etc. that were booked and advances (or even the full prices) paid before the start of the conference.
From the position of the organisers, it was really heart-warming to learn what efforts some of the participants were prepared to undertake in their streaming to reach Mariánské Lázně and join their favourite conference. In addition to the many from less remote locations who switched from air to cars or trains, we would like to mention here the group from Loughborough University lead by prof. Nick Evans who hired a minibus and drove 1,400 km, the Oslo–Gothenburg group coming by a car from a similar distance, or a colleague hop-on/hop-off-ing from busses to trains and vice versa and having to take some seven changes to get from Uppsala to Mariánské Lázně. However, probably the most spectacular journey was that undertaken by dr. Maria Ângela de B. C. Menezes who started her journey in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, on Friday, the 16th April, spent 2 days in Rio de Janeiro, flew via Buenos Aires to Madrid where she spent another day, took a bus to Paris on Tuesday since no train tickets were available to any reasonable destination, and arrived safely from Paris to Mariánské Lázně by a taxi on Wednesday…. On the same day, a group of Russians arrived after a long combined train travel and also Dr. Juan F. Facetti-Masulli made it from Paraguay contrary to some other South American colleagues who stayed stuck midway in various airports. Obviously the longest journey was that of the Koreans Drs. Jiyon Lee and Byoung-Jik Kim who arrived to the venue on Friday, shortly after the departure of conference busses…. Such stories not only made the efforts invested into the conference organisation rewarding but also injected the organisers new power to continue fighting the bad luck. More detailed travel stories received from the participants can be found at the conference web page at http://www.radchem.cz.
Despite these problems, that prohibited the majority of the registered overseas participants in coming, the conference was attended by 197 participants from 28 countries from all parts of the world. In addition to them, 55 additional participants were registered but were unable to reach the conference venue. The majority of them actively participated by submitting posters and/or papers for the proceedings. In total, 95 lectures and 169 posters were presented. The full final programme of the conference is available at the RadChem 2010 page on the Indico conference management system at http://indico.fjfi.cvut.cz/, RadChem 2010, Timetable. As usually, not all Conference participants decided to publish their contributions in the Conference proceedings. In total, less than 50% of the papers presented at the Conference were submitted for publication, those recommended by the reviewers are included in these Proceedings. The Organising Committee would like to express its gratitude to all Session Chairs and reviewers who helped to maintain the high standard of these proceedings. Special thanks are due to the Editorial Board of the Journal of Radioanalytical and Nuclear Chemistry for their willingness to host the proceedings and for the excellent collaboration and support. The papers not published in this volume are available, in abstract form only, in the Booklet of Abstracts that has been published as a special issue of the Czech scientific journal Chemické Listy (Volume 104, Issue 14, pp. s91–s262). This booklet was a part of the Conference materials, it is still available from the organisers as a hard copy, and it can be freely accessed at the journal home page at http://www.chemicke-listy.cz/common/content-issue_14-volume_104-year_2010.html.
A relatively new tradition in the RadChem series is the “the best students’ poster” competition. It was only for the second time that such competition, aimed at further motivating the students in their further scientific careers, was organized. The Award Committee, chaired by the DNRC chairman prof. Heinz Gäggeler (Switzerland) awarded the first prize, associated with a monetary grant, to Petr Distler (Czech Republic).
It is with pleasure that we can state here that the Technical Exhibition, that is a constituent part of the RadChem series since its revival in 1998, is gaining an increased popularity among the suppliers of instrumentation and services. This year, the following exhibitors (in alphabetic succession) participated and thus contributed to the success of the conference: Canberra-Packard, Envinet, Frenzel Consulting and Instruments, Izotop, PerkinElmer, Raytest, and Triskem. The ever increasing popularity of the conference among the exhibitors may serve as a sign of the increasing awareness about the RadChem series within the professional community.
Under normal circumstances, here the Organising Committee would acknowledge the assistance of a group of CTU and ICT Prague MSc and PhD students, and the professionals of the CTU FME Congress Group. However, this time, the group that should be acknowledged first are all the conference participants who collaborated actively with the organiser in the streaming to overcome the impact of the havoc—Eyjafjallajökull eruption—and it is namely their credit that the conference was a success. In these stressing conditions, each of the organisers and the supporting team members did his or her best to ensure that participants enjoyed both the scientific and social programmes of the Conference as much as possible under the actual conditions. Special thanks are due to Mrs. Terézia Němcová, the head of the CTU FME Congress Group team, without whose assistance the Conference would hardly have happened. The selection of photographs that can be viewed at the conference homepage at http://www.radchem.cz/ will help you to appreciate the atmosphere of all aspects of the Conference—technical programme as well as the extensive “socials” that were notably supported by local sponsors (Canberra Packard s.r.o. and Envinet a.s.).
It is with a deep sorrow that we have to announce here that the long-standing vice-charwoman of the RadChem Organising Committee and an eminent radiochemist of global reputation, Prof. Věra Jedináková-Křízová, passed away shortly after the end of the conference. She will be deeply missed in the future events. An Obituary can be found at the end of these Proceedings. Thus these Proceedings should also remind to all participants the long-standing merits of Věra Jedináková-Křížová for the revival and success of Radiochemical conferences.
To conclude, it was only the infamous Eyjafjallajökull eruption that prohibited the conference in the expected marked exceeding of the maximum previous number of participants. However, according to the first favourable responses, the RadChem 2010 succeeded both professionally and socially despite these unfavourable circumstances. Hence, we may hope that such further increased number of participants will gather on the next, already the 17th Radiochemical Conference.
See you again in Mariánské Lázně in 2014, most probably as usually on the second Sunday after the Easter Monday, i.e. on the 4th May!
Jan John, Jan Kučera
On behalf of the Organising Committee of the 16th Radiochemical Conference