Monthly Archives: February 2012

CNA2012 Nuclear Education Nuclear Outreach

Send Your Questions for CNA2012 Panel – Innovative Methods of Communicating Science

Ever wonder about all the misinformation circulating about nuclear technology – especially in the last year or so? It’s one thing to know the science behind nuclear technology but knowing how to communicate that knowledge to the general public is another thing entirely. So, how do you get it right?

At this year’s CNA Conference and Trade Show, we have three experts ready and waiting for your questions on what it takes to deliver a “science-y” message in an accurate and intelligible way.

What’s the biggest hurdle you’ve faced in trying to explain the complex nature of all things nuclear related or science-based? Interested in trips and tricks from our experts? Have a burning question to ask?

We’ll ask your question of our panelists at the 2012 CNA Conference and Trade Show on February 23rd during the panel on Innovative Methods of Communicating Science.

Three ways to send in your questions:

  1. Leave a comment on this post
  2. Post your question on our TalkNUclear Facebook page
  3. Tweet at @TalkNUclear using the #CNASciComm hashtag.

Can’t attend but curious? Follow the panel #hashtag on Twitter – #CNASciComm

Learn more about our moderator and panelists:

Moderator – Jay Ingram


Jay Ingram is a popular science broadcaster and the co‐host of Discovery Channel’s science show, Daily Planet. He has written nine books, three of which have won Canadian Science Writers’ Awards.


Panelist: Susan Brissette

Susan Brissette who has held a variety of senior communication, change leadership and nuclear oversight positions throughout her 20 year career. She is currently responsible for the Bruce Power Management System including Change Management, Quality Assurance, Corporate Assessment and Benchmarking processes. A Canadian, Ms. Brissette began her career in the nuclear industry in the UK in 1992, and returned to Canada in the late 1990s as part of the team that created Bruce Power where she was accountable for reputation management.

Ms. Brissette is an Executive Board member of Women in Nuclear Global and Chair of their Communications Committee. She chaired the Organizing Committee for the highly successful 14th Annual WiN-Global Conference hosted by Canada in late May 2006, which saw some 350 delegates from almost 40 countries come together to showcase the nuclear industry in a unique way – by highlighting the women who are making a unique contribution to the leadership and advancement of nuclear and radiation technologies around the world.

Panelist – Ted Hartwell

Ted Hartwell is the Program Manager for Desert Research Institute’s Community Environmental Monitoring Program, a program that directly involves members of the public in the operation of a network of radiation and weather monitoring stations located in communities surrounding and downwind of the Nevada National Security Site. He is presently serving as Deputy Director of the Division of Earth and Ecosystem Sciences.

Mr. Hartwell’s archaeological research has focused on three geographic regions: the southern Great Basin, the southern Great Plains, and the pampas of Argentina. Specific interests include hunter-gatherer lithic technology, caching behavior, quarrying behavior, and soil formation processes.

Mr.Hartwell has recently studied how popular culture can affect the public perception of science, most recently speaking as an invited participant at a workshop on “Comet and Asteroid Impacts and Human Society”. He also has produced a publication for the general public that discusses archaeological research at Yucca Mountain on the Nevada National Security Site.

Panelist – Toby Heaps


Toby Heaps is the co-founder and president of Corporate Knights Inc. the magazine for clean capitalism.  Their mission is to humanize the marketplace, making it easier for people to know the environmental and social impacts of their marketplace decisions and to showcase leaders and innovators.  Before founding Corporate Knights, Toby was the managing editor of the Mutual Fund Review magazine and Planning for Profits magazine.   He worked for Conflict Resolution Catalysts in Bosnia, and for several international publications and social organizations in the former Yugoslavia including B-92 in Belgrade.  He has written for the Financial Times, Toronto Star, Globe and Mail and Investors Digest.

Mr. Heaps has experience working on political campaigns, including in 2006 as campaign manager for City of Toronto Councillor Adrian Heaps.  On a side note, in 1998, Mr. Heaps played centre field for Yugoslavia’s National Baseball Team.

Nuclear Energy Nuclear Outreach

Nuclear in the Oil Sands: Building On Canada’s Strengths

Canada has high-quality uranium deposits and a highly developed base of nuclear technologies, including power generation, medicine, food safety, mining and processing, and materials science – in all of which Canadians have done well, as innovators and as businesses.

That Canadian power reactor designs have been sold in six other countries — against substantial US, Japanese and European competition — is a remarkable technological and commercial success story, especially considering that they were developed and marketed independently by a small country, and only for civilian uses.  Management of this business has passed to Candu Energy Inc., and Canadians will soon see what private industry can do with this opportunity given the current nuclear revival, which is being led by emerging economies.

There are diverse examples of nuclear energy being used for process heat applications such as smelting minerals and desalinating seawater.   And today there are various new nuclear reactor technologies available or on the horizon (Generation III and IV reactors, small modular reactors and others) that promise to make nuclear power options even safer than they currently are, as well as easier to finance.

The development of the oil sands has repeatedly faced difficult technical and economic challenges.  While private industry was the main driver and investor, public sector actors played a significant role.  Backed by industry consensus and assisted by economic policy through such measures as royalty and tax adjustments, these public sector champions enabled the development of the oil industry that Canada has today:  our largest export earner and a huge wealth generator for the private and public sectors.

Capturing more of the value of this resource within the Canadian economy is of interest to many in policy circles.  So would be extracting the bitumen in ways that mitigate greenhouse gas emissions and conserve cleaner fossil fuels.  Among the options would be to apply nuclear power in place of natural gas to generate the heat needed for bitumen extraction.   While innovators in the oil sands industry are aware of the long-term possibilities of nuclear, for the most part they are currently occupied with closer-to-deployment technical advances.

Currently deployed reactor designs would not be easy to apply to bitumen extraction in the oil sands.  They require large, permanent installations with large support staffs.  Even with these challenges, however, nuclear appeared in a 2003 study by the Canadian Energy Research Institute  to be approximately competitive with natural gas in in-situ applications.

Newer reactor designs such as the Enhanced CANDU 6, the Advanced CANDU Reactor (ACR-1000), and other so-called Generation 3 and 4 reactors, some of which are close to deployment but have not yet established multi-year track records in operation, will further advance the safety of nuclear energy and could substantially improve its economics.  Also, several small modular reactor (SMR) designs are being promoted – in varying degrees of proximity to deployment – with promises of further reductions in the financing, building and maintenance costs of nuclear energy, improving its applicability to non-power uses.  These promised advances are mainly based on SMRs’ portability, modularity, steam characteristics, and maintenance needs.

Conversations with a number of industry experts in Alberta in mid-2011 elicited views like these:

“When they advance the technology, we might be interested.  It’s too far from deployment right now.”

“Coal and gas are abundant and cheap here, at least for now. Why should the province help nuclear, an outside industry, rather than coal or gas?”

“Nuclear will be the likely option because it’s the alternative with no greenhouse gases.  But it takes time to develop that option.”

“The oil industry is actually quite risk-averse.  They need to see a new technology demonstrated before they’ll invest in it.”

Those are anecdotal and attitudinal comments, but they reflect an industry state of mind:  there is an economic opportunity in nuclear that is not being seized.

The likely steps to realizing this opportunity could be:

  • First, some academic and/or think-thank studies to build awareness of the scope of the opportunity.
  • Second, a technical survey of the bitumen operations’ energy requirements, and of the available nuclear technologies, to shorten the list of technical options.
  • Third, a multi-stakeholder technology development process, aimed at narrowing the technology gaps to a point where cost ranges and time frames would be sufficiently defined that business models could be contemplated.

The opportunity in bringing nuclear to the oil sands should stand on its own merits, and we have a responsibility to future generations to evaluate it based on the facts.

But having a vision of what we want, and the imagination to get there, is indispensable to winning as a country.  The successes we have today in Canada’s nuclear and oil sands industries, the pioneers who foresaw them, and the roads we travelled to achieve them, tell us that.


CNA2012 Update: Leading Life-Saving Innovations

Did you know nuclear medicine got its start in Canada?
Harold E. Johns (University of Saskatchewan) and Roy Errington (Eldorado Mining and Refining Ltd.) led teams to build the world’s first radiation treatment machine using Cobalt-60. Errington’s design was used in 1951 for the world’s first radiation treatment.

Learn more about the contributions of nuclear medicine at the
2012 Canadian Nuclear Association Conference and Trade Show
Leadership Through Innovation






Friday, February 24
9:15 – 9:45 AM
Dr. Terry Ruddy will discuss how a joint collaboration between the Hearth Institute
and Nordion is leading to alternate isotopes for use in patient imaging and research
into therapies for heart disease. Also how the Institute, in partnership with AECL,
is learning more about the effects of low-dose radiation for nuclear workers and in
medical applications. These are just two examples of innovation currently leading
nuclear medicine to the next level.

Download the complete 2012 Conference Agenda HERE.

Click here to learn more about the daily benefits of nuclear technology.








Thank you to our SPONSORS.
See you in February!