Monthly Archives: June 2011

Nuclear Education Nuclear Energy

Atomic Toys – Vintage Nuclear Education?

The Gilbert U-238 Atomic Energy Lab is a toy lab set produced by Alfred Carlton Gilbert (the inventor of the Erector Set) and sold between 1950 and 1951.

The set originally sold for $49.50 (or $458.99 in today’s US dollars) and contained the following:

Gilbert Atomic Energy Lab - circa 1950s

See the full Wikipedia entry for the Atomic Energy Lab

There are many more atomic toys where this came from. Are any of them familiar to you?

Nuclear Education Nuclear Outreach

2011 International Nuclear Energy Olympiad

How to get the public on board with nuclear technology for energy production. This is the task set forth to students from all around the globe. The 2011 International Nuclear Energy Olympiad (INEO) is a communications competition which will see ten teams of students, from ten countries, present a plan to improve public acceptance of nuclear energy in their country.

Team papers and presentations will be judged by an international jury who will rank teams for the 1st, 2nd and 3rd place prizes.

The 2011 INEO is organized by the World Nuclear University and hosted by Korea Nuclear Energy Promotion Agency (KONEPA).

The Olympiad will be held on 26-30 September 2011 in Seoul in South Korea, with the cost of participation, including travel expenses to and from Korea, food and lodging covered by KONEPA. Invitation letters for Korean visas will also be prepared.

Entry forms are available at the competition site and are due to the WNU Coordinating centre or KONEPA by 3 July 2011.

Get all the details you need here.

Messages Nuclear News Nuclear Pride

Port Hope Area Initiative (PHAI) Important Part of Managing our Legacy (Waste)

This letter appeared in the Toronto Star on June 14. It’s from a resident of Port Hope who understands that low-level radioactive waste doesn’t pose a health threat and that background radiation is as natural as breathing. That doesn’t mean that the Port Hope Area Initiative (PHAI) is a “scam,” as he says. The government has a responsibility to clean up its legacy nuclear waste, most of which dates back to the Cold War and is unrelated to current operations in Port Hope.

The PHAI website FAQ describes low-level waste as:

In Port Hope (Ward One), low-level radioactive waste consists of soil mixed with small amounts of historic refinery waste, left over from uranium and radium refining operations in the town during the 1930s to 1970s. This contaminated soil contains slightly elevated levels of natural radioactive materials. The Welcome and Port Granby Waste Management Facilities contain residues generated at the refinery from the 1940s to 1988. Low-level radioactive waste in the Port Hope area does not come from nuclear power reactors.

The PHAI clean-up is a process started in the late 1970s, when the issue came to light. It took until 2001 to agree on an acceptable solution. There have been hundreds of consultations with residents, government and Aboriginal groups, plus extensive  environmental and public safety assessments. In fact,

each phase of the project has been, and will continue to be, subject to regulatory review and oversight by the CNSC as well as by Environment Canada, Health Canada, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Transport Canada and several provincial ministries.

There’s also some confusion about the Property Value Protection (PVP) Program. The Program isn’t about compensating people for having historic low-level waste on their property. The PVP Program is designed to protect the property seller if they realize a loss on the sale of their property as a direct result of the clean-up project. This is part of the 2001 agreement between the federal government and Port Hope (and Clarington).

(FYI – the PVP Program is working well with 29 of 40 claims approved since 2001.)

The bottom line: the clean-up is perfectly legitimate and will have a lasting postive impact on the community. Residents of Port Hope have expressed concern about the low-level waste, the government has responded. As an industry we support the Port Hope Area Initiative because of our commitment to public safety and environmental stewardship which includes the safe, secure and responsible management of nuclear waste — from low-level waste  to used nuclear fuel from power plants. Learn about the different types of waste and how it’s managed here.

You can sign up for email updates about PHAI on their website.

Messages Nuclear Energy Nuclear Medicine Nuclear R&D

Nuclear Industry Update: Denise Carpenter Speaks at Nordion Reception

On June 12, Denise Carpenter, President and CEO of the Canadian Nuclear Association addressed the Nordion VIP Reception in advance of the 16th International Meeting on Radiation Processing. Here’s what she had to say:

President & CEO of the CNA – Denise Carpenter

Thank-you very much for inviting me here today to speak with you at Nordion’s VIP reception.

I truly enjoy taking the opportunity to talk about Canada’s nuclear industry, but am particularly honoured to be here today at the kick-off event for the International Meeting on Radiation Processing here in Montreal.

I had the pleasure this morning of touring The Canadian Irradiation Centre, which is part of Nordion’s commitment to gamma processing. The Centre offers a range of irradiation services including training, testing and development and is truly a testament to the sophistication of the industry and the advancements that have been made.

I often refer to Canada’s nuclear community as a village – we all make one another stronger and together build the infrastructure for a more vibrant and stable future.

Nordion and its global partners are village leaders in this respect. I am a firm believer that health is the most important resource we have and the most essential component of a community.

Quite simply, the Cobalt-60 and related technologies and services your organizations provide or use on a daily basis, prevent disease and infections worldwide.

Without the cohesive global network of highly skilled organizations that are here with us today including the US, Europe, China and South America, this simply would not be possible.

If I can take it one step further, your industries are truly where science and business connect.

Denise at Nordion VIP Reception June 12
Denise Carpenter speaking at Nordion’s IMRP VIP Reception

But before I get into specifics, I would like to tell you a bit more about the Canadian Nuclear Association and what it is we do.

The CNA represent over 95 members from the entire spectrum of the nuclear industry – electricity producers, manufacturers, uranium mining and fuel processing, engineering and universities and labour unions.

As an association, our work includes being active with governments and encouraging all levels to recognize the value our industry brings to Canada: a clean energy source, the creation of highly skilled jobs across several sectors, and revolutions in nuclear medicine. The list goes on.

And I am proud to say that we have a strong Canadian legacy of innovation and leadership in the nuclear industry.
From our early days at Chalk River to today, our industry is responsible for developing innovative new products and services that have improved the quality of life of Canadians and people around the globe.

  • We invented CANDU technology.
  • We have created a world-leading uranium industry.
  • We have achieved a record of safe, reliable and affordable nuclear power generation.
  • In fact, nuclear energy is responsible for 15% of Canada’s electricity production and for over 55% of Ontario’s alone.

Despite many inroads, our industry has also faced many challenges in the past year.

Recently, the nuclear industry was challenged by the tragic incident at the Fukushima nuclear power plant in Japan.

Our industry, which supports more than 71,000 Canadian jobs, has been working tirelessly to help our Japanese counterparts and derive any lessons learned to improve upon our own safety here in Canada, as we always do.

Safety has always been – and continues to be – the number one priority for our industry. The nuclear safety culture goes beyond geographical boundaries. It is truly global.

While this was a major shock to our industry, it is not a setback. We continue to improve as our industry forges forward.

Since the tragedy in Japan, the Ontario Government has reaffirmed its commitment to the refurbishment of reactors as well as new builds.

These exciting projects will bring new revitalization to the Ontario and Canadian economies as well as our nuclear industry.

To give you some concrete numbers, an independent report released by the Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters stated that refurbishing nuclear facilities at Bruce and Darlington will support 25,000 jobs and inject $5 billion into the Ontario economy annually for a decade – with more than 15,000 jobs continuing thereafter.

In Western Canada, the Government of Saskatchewan recently announced a Centre for Research in Nuclear Medicine and Materials Science at the University of Saskatchewan.

The province is investing $30 million over seven years in the new centre, which will make Saskatchewan the focal point for nuclear research and development in Western Canada.

Our effort of continual improvement also includes enhanced communications with stakeholders, and all Canadians for that matter.

Last year, we conducted extensive research and learned that Canadians want to know how nuclear affects them, beyond simply keeping the lights on. We heard that they want to learn more about how nuclear plays a role in healthcare, and most importantly, how it’s keeping their families healthy.

We thought long and hard about how to communicate this message, and decided to take a multi-prong approach.

Later this month, we are launching an interactive microsite that virtually takes users through different scenarios to learn how nuclear is making Canada better.

A large focus of this site is how nuclear is improving health care in Canada and abroad, from sterilizing medical supplies and devices  to diagnosing and treating illnesses like cancer.

The site poses attention-grabbing questions to visitors, like

‘Did you know nuclear ensures critical medical devices are sterile?’

When the site launches later this month, I encourage you all to take a look and pass it along to your colleagues.

It of course will be an iterative process, and we welcome any recommendations or input you each may have.

We are also using social media as a platform to promote dialogue about our industry and its contribution to health, including our new TalkNuclear Facebook page, Twitter page and our TalkNuclear blog.

While we continue to move forward and leverage these communication platforms, uncertainties do remain such as the Government of Canada’s plans to privatize the commercial interests of Atomic Energy of Canada Limited (AECL).

With a majority government now in place, we suspect this process will move along more quickly.

The path forward for the Chalk River Laboratories, Canada’s primary nuclear industry research and development infrastructure, will also be analyzed.

The CNA has developed a position paper on the need for re-investment in nuclear research and development infrastructure as essential to Canada’s future domestic and international competitiveness.

We are advocating for a small expert panel to review the status, potential, and governance of nuclear R&D in Canada.

We believe the Government should give thoughtful consideration to the future of the R&D side of the nuclear industry, regardless of the status of the AECL restructuring

As you all know, continued investment in nuclear, particularly R&D, is the strongest catalyst for our industry’s growth and successful future.

Nordion CEO Steve West. — Thanks for inviting us to speak at the reception, Steve


I want to thank you again for inviting me to be here this evening.

Our nuclear village is truly global and would not be possible without the strong networks I’ve seen tonight. Your global cooperation will continue to make our nuclear industry stronger and better.

On a day-to-day basis, it might be easy to forget what your work means to people worldwide. Your efforts go beyond the numbers and figures of business. You are in the business of improving lives and preventing disease, each and every day.

For that, we thank you.

Messages Nuclear Pride

Canadian Nuclear Association Bringing Board Meeting to Port Hope

The Canadian Nuclear Association (CNA) will hold its quarterly Board meeting in Port Hope, Ontario this Fall to show support for the pivotal role the municipality plays in Canada’s nuclear industry.

“Port Hope is home to the longest-running nuclear processing facility in Canada. We want to showcase the innovative role our industry has played to build on this proud legacy of achievement, and our continued efforts to create a prosperous future for the people in the community,” said Ms. Denise Carpenter, CNA President and CEO.

“We are very pleased the CNA has chosen Port Hope as the location for their Fall meeting. The Municipality is proud to be a member of the nuclear industry community and pleased to welcome the CNA Board members. We look forward to the opportunity to showcase Port Hope as a great place to live, work and play,” said Port Hope Mayor Linda Thompson. While the agenda and details of the meeting are not yet confirmed, a familiarization tour of Port Hope will be planned for Board members that will focus on the licensed nuclear facilities, as well as the areas designated for clean up as part of the Port Hope Area Initiative.

The CNA represents 95 companies who work in the Canadian nuclear industry. Our opportunity is to build a better world by applying nuclear science to a broad range of uses. We are more than 70,000 Canadians, supporting nuclear medicine, exploring and mining uranium, generating power, and advancing Canada’s nuclear advantage worldwide. Please visit us online and follow us on our Blog, Twitter, and Facebook pages to participate in our “TalkNuclear” conversation.

Nuclear Medicine Nuclear R&D

16th International Meeting on Radiation Processing

Industry leaders and scientific experts from around the world will gather at IMRP Montreal 2011, the 16th global forum of the international radiation processing community,  to discuss, debate and discover the latest in industrial electron beam, x-ray and gamma ray technology.

Having this international meeting in Montreal is a perfect fit. The city is recognized for its outstanding university research base and advancements in food irradiation, healthcare and life sciences. What’s more is nuclear R&D in Canada supports materials testing and product improvements, medical products and services, training and development of scientists and engineers, and other activities of high value to an advanced economy. Investment in nuclear R&D is an essential investment in the health and safety of every Canadian.

Downloadable Meeting Information
IMRP Content programme (PDF)
IMRP Programme at a Glance (PDF)

Nordion is the Regional Sponsor and Gala Host of this year’s International Meeting on Radiation Processing,  which is very fitting since Nordion is an industry leader in gamma sterilization technologies (see our previous post about their custom-built food-only irradiator). They have created a microsite for the event where you can find out information about their participation at IMRP 2011, including  the following:
• A two-hour tour of the Nordion CIC on June 13
• See what’s new at Nordion by visiting Booth #10-11
• Hear from Nordion research and development experts
• Schedule a meeting with Nordion