Monthly Archives: March 2012

CNA Responds

Canadian Nuclear Association Encourages Government to Give Full Consideration to CEAA Report Recommendations

March 14, 2012 – Ottawa, ON – Canada’s nuclear industry is encouraging the Government of Canada to give full consideration to the recommendations on the federal Environmental Assessment (EA) process made in the House of Commons Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development (“the Committee”) Report on the Statutory Review of the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act (CEAA): Protecting the Environment, Managing our Resources.

“Our members are committed to environmental stewardship and are supportive of the EA process, which provides a valuable planning tool, aimed at protecting the land, air and water in the areas where we live and work,” said Denise Carpenter, President and CEO of the Canadian Nuclear Association. “We agree with the Committee’s reported findings that there are long-standing challenges with the implementation of the CEAA and the EA process.”

The Canadian Nuclear Association (CNA) is supportive of the Environment Committee’s efforts to re-focus the EA process on “what matters to the environment.” The Report makes recommendations to remove process steps that add little or no value to the environment, and have the potential to draw attention away from what really matters.

The CNA agrees ­with the following Report recommendations for improving the EA process:

  • removing steps that do not actually affect the environmental outcome;
  • applying information from past EAs of fundamentally similar projects;
  • delegating powers to a single regulatory authority so that there is one EA by the best-placed regulator; and
  • eliminate the need to repeat the EA process due to administrative decisions and minor approvals related to existing licenses.

“Environmental Assessments are an integral part of how Canada’s nuclear industry conducts its business and we have gained considerable insights from carrying them out,” continued Carpenter. “The federal EA process should be more efficient and should lead to improved environmental outcomes. The recommendations have the potential to achieve these goals.”

The full report on the Statutory Review of the CEAA is available on the Committee’s website.

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For more information:
Kathleen Olson
Director of Communications
Canadian Nuclear Association
olsonk@cna.ca

Nuclear Education Nuclear Safety

Experts Say Health Effects of Fukushima Accident Should Be Very Minor

This article from the NEI in the U.S., shares some excellent information from three radiation health experts about the health effects of radiation from the Fukushima accident. It is important to note that there have been no deaths associated with exposure to radiation from the Fukushima accident; and in fact public exposure levels were very low.

Originally posted here.

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Experts Say Health Effects of Fukushima Accident Should Be Very Minor

The following story originally appeared in NEI’s Nuclear Energy Overview.

Radiation health experts said at a Washington press briefing that based on the radiological data collected, the health effects of the Fukushima accident should be very minimal for both the public and workers.

“From a radiological perspective, we expect the impact to be really, really minor,” said Kathyrn Higley, professor of radiation health physics in the department of nuclear engineering at Oregon State University. “And the reason for that is we understand how radionuclides move through the environment, how they disperse and how people can be exposed. Because we understand that we are able to make decisions to block exposure.”

At the event hosted by the Health Physics Society, Higley said that prompt evacuations and food monitoring by the Japanese authorities had helped reduce the public’s exposure.

“Because of those actions, the Japanese government was able to effectively block a large component of exposure in this population,” Higley said.

Dr. Robert Gale, visiting professor at Imperial College London, pointed out that although approximately 20,000 people died from the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and subsequent tsunami, none of those deaths are attributable to radiation from the Fukushima accident.

However, Gale said, “The fact that everyone is here today, shows that the public’s focus is really on Fukushima. You hear very few things about the earthquake and tsunami.”

Gale presented preliminary data on the 10,000 inhabitants near the Fukushima plant thought to have received the highest doses of radiation showing that:

  • 5,800 received doses less than 1 millisievert (mSv).
  • 4,100 received doses between 1 and 10 mSv.
  • 71 received doses between 10 mSv and 20 mSv.
  • 2 received doses between 20 mSv and 23 mSv.

By comparison, each year a resident of the United States receives an average total dose from background radiation of about 3.1 mSv.

Gale said it was important to translate these doses into something the general public could easily understand. These radiation doses indicate an “incredibly small” increase in risk of death from cancer of only 0.001 percent for a member of the Japanese public, he said.  The increased risk of cancer incidence would be only 0.002 percent for a member of the Japanese public.

Such a small increase in the cancer rate would make it very hard to scientifically verify an increase in cancers that could be directly linked to the Fukushima accident.

“The exposures to the population are very, very low,” said John Boice, professor of medicine at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine and President Nominee of the National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements. “As such, there is no opportunity to conduct epidemiological studies that have any chance of detecting excess [cancer] risk. The doses are just too low.”

Despite this, the Japanese government is conducting various large-scale studies of the public’s exposure to radiation to “reduce anxiety and provide assurance to the population,” Boice said.

These studies include:

  • A health study of all 2 million residents in the Fukushima prefecture, with a 30-year follow-up study planned. This includes a 10-page questionnaire sent to residents.
  • A study of 360,000 children under the age of 18 who are having their thyroid glands scanned.
  • A health exam of people in the proximal area, including blood exams.
  • A special survey of 20,000 pregnant and nursing mothers.

The health effects for workers at the Fukushima nuclear power plant would also be minimal, Boice said. The average radiation dosage for a worker at the plant was 9 mSv. (See above for comparative dosages for the public.) He added that out of 17,000 workers involved in “reactor containment and reactor cleanup”—including both TEPCO employees and contractors—only 37 workers had received external doses greater than 100 mSv. He said that up to 100 workers had received more than 100 mSv combining internal and external doses.

Boice added that these internal doses would have a “minimal” health effect because of the way the adult human body reacts to Iodine-131, one of the major byproducts of a reactor accident.

“In terms of health effects, these would be minimal because most of the internal, the ingested radiation, was radioactive iodine to adult thyroid glands,” he said. “Adult glands are relatively insensitive to cancer-producing effects of radiation, in particular, to Iodine-131. We have lots of studies of adults exposed to Iodine-131 where there is no effect.”

Boice said that among the small number of workers that had received over 100 mSv of radiation doses, the increased cancer risk in their lifetime would be one or two percent. He added that these workers would be studied throughout their lives.

Asked what role the Fukushima accident should play in licensing nuclear power plants in the United States, panelists said lessons learned should be applied.

“This event is being dissected for ramifications for old designs, [and] what we can learn in terms of seismic safety for new designs,” Higley said. “You really do need to look at the knowledge that is coming out of this event and decide what is relevant to reactors here in the United States.”

Boice praised the actions of the Japanese government, but hinted at improvements.

“It was a very appropriate response. What the Japanese authorities failed to do was communicate effectively,” Boice said. “And that still remains a problem—xplaining what was being done in terms of radiation exposure.”

The Health Physics Society is a scientific organization of professionals who specialize in radiation safety. Its mission is to support its members in the practice of their profession and to promote excellence in the science and practice of radiation safety.

The HPS shortly will release a white paper on the radiological effects of the Fukushima accident.

Messages Nuclear Safety

Fukushima: One Year Later – Statement by Denise Carpenter

Statement by Denise Carpenter, President and CEO of the Canadian Nuclear Association on the first anniversary of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan

March 8, 2012– Ottawa, Ontario

“One year ago, approximately 20,000 lives were lost and many forever changed following a devastating earthquake and tsunami off the north coast of Japan.

The natural disaster was also felt in the nuclear industry when the emergency back-up generators at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear station were disabled by the unprecedented 24-foot tsunami.

Since the tragedy, the nuclear industry – at home and around the world – has been working to share valuable lessons learned to continue to ensure safety standards and policies reflect current findings. In Canada, our industry moved quickly to provide Canadians with as many facts as possible about the event – and assure them of the safety of our nuclear facilities.

Soon after the disaster struck, Canada’s nuclear companies launched a thorough assessment of our own systems and operations to confirm their safety, including looking at back-up power systems and the ability of nuclear facilities to withstand natural disasters that might occur here.

Last October, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) released the Fukushima Task Force Report.  It concludes that all Canadian nuclear power plants are safe with facilities designed to withstand conditions similar to those that triggered at Fukushima.

Globally, it’s important for the nuclear industry to share valuable lessons learned from the tragedy in Japan. As an industry, we acted swiftly to increase safety through a diverse and robust emergency response capability that can deal with unexpected events.

In particular, we examined natural disasters such as tornadoes, flooding, earthquakes, and the emergencies these events create. Canada’s nuclear facilities are planning and implementing dozens of Fukushima-related projects between now and the end of 2016.

Nuclear is a clean, reliable source of baseload power and an important part of Canada’s energy portfolio. Opportunities ahead in the Canadian industry span the country and the globe, including, the Government of Saskatchewan’s  investment in a $30 million Canadian Centre for Nuclear Innovation; refurbishment plans underway in Ontario; and the broadening of the Canada-China Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on Energy Cooperation which will see hundreds of new jobs and billions in new investments for Canada.

As an industry, we are committed to working together as we continue to analyze and implement lessons learned from Fukushima. But today, on behalf of the 71,000 workers in Canada’s nuclear industry, we pause to remember those affected by the Japanese earthquake and tsunami one year ago.”

Visit our Fukushima: One year later page for more updates and FAQ

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Happy International Women’s Day – March 8

According to the official website marking the day, International Women’s Day (IWD) “has been observed since in the early 1900’s, a time of great expansion and turbulence in the industrialized world that saw booming population growth and the rise of radical ideologies.” Today, IWD is recognized and celebrated in many different ways all around the world.

Read about IWD and how it’s evolved in the last 100+ years.

Did you know, women make up only a quarter of Canada’s electricity sector workforce? We learned this in November when Women-in-Nuclear Canada  and Skills Canada-Ontario launched their new position paper, “Women Working in the Skilled Trades and Technologies – Myths and Realities.”

Today’s statistics on women in the electricity sector demonstrate that we have an opportunity to maintain nuclear’s competitive advantage by becoming more proactive in attracting the best and brightest from the entire talent pool. Our industry needs skilled women working in trade and technology careers.

Read more about women working in skilled trades and the WiN/Skills Canada position paper on the TalkNUclear blog. CLICK HERE.

Women-in-Nuclear Canada is an organization made up of women (and men) from Canada’s nuclear industry and is celebrating IWD with some local events.

Celebrating Women, Inspiring Futures
WiN-Bruce and the Bruce Power Equity & Diversity Committee will be hosting a celebration, Celebrating Women, Inspiring Futures, for International Women’s Day on March 8, 2012 at 10:00 a.m. in the B10 Auditorium
[Read More…]

Int’l Women’s Day Speaker – Pembroke
International Women’s Day is a time to honour women who have touched us in our daily lives- our mothers, our sisters, our colleagues, our friends. It is celebrated on March 8th every year.
[Read More…]

Are you celebrating IWD? Please tell us how.

Happy International Women’s Day!

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Nuclear Industry Execs See Opportunity in Canada

Below is a guest blog from our friends at AREVA who were among the 70+ sponsors and exhibitors at the 2012 CNA Conference and Trade Show in Ottawa. AREVA, like many of our member companies, is a great champion for Canada’s nuclear industry. The post below sums up our industry’s optimism with a few key highlights from this year’s presentations. Thanks for sharing, AREVA!

Tom Mitchell - Chair, WANO Fukushima Response Commission

Executives from the nuclear energy industry expressed optimism regarding business opportunities in Canada this week at the Canadian Nuclear Association’s (CNA) annual conference in Ottawa. Despite the concerns raised following the events at Fukushima, industry leaders see strong prospects for business in Canada.

“While other jurisdictions may be scaling back their nuclear energy commitment because of Fukushima, we are not,” said Tom Mitchell, president and CEO of Ontario Power Generation (OPG), according to an article in the Ottawa Citizen. Mitchell pointed out the events of last year have presented the industry with “a great opportunity.”

“It’s once again made people aware of nuclear energy. It may have put some aspects of the industry on the spot. But it’s also put us in the spotlight,” Mitchell said.

Patrick Lamarre, Executive Vice President, SNC-Lavalin

Patrick Lamarre, executive vice president at SNC-Lavalin group, told a packed conference that “our nuclear business is something we believe in.” Lamarre added that this business could contribute to a significant portion of our bottom line,” according to a Reuters report.

Lamarre urged the Ontario government to move forward with plans to build new reactors in the province, projects he said that would be important for the Province’s economy.

AREVA remains very committed in building new nuclear plants in Canada and has proposed its technology in Ontario as well as in New Brunswick.

“As the leading supplier to the nuclear sector worldwide, AREVA has very broad experience building new reactors and providing services to the existing fleet. In addition, AREVA is one of Canada’s top uranium producers. We remain very bullish regarding opportunities in Canada across all of our business lines,” said Jean-Francois Beland, executive vice president of AREVA Canada.

 

(This post originally appeared here)

CNA2012

2012 CNA Conference and Trade Show – Photos!

Anyone who was in attendance will agree: the 2012 Canadian Nuclear Association and Trade Show was top notch! The variety of speakers covered everything from the global industry’s response to the events at Fukushima to nuclear medicine to science and technology etc.,. We’re still busy recovering and wrapping up  – which includes going through hundreds of photos of presenters, participants, exhibitors and all the fun, learning and networking that was had.

Take a look at some of the highlights over on our Google+ page. Feel free to tag, share and download full-sized versions of the photos too.

Click to visit our #cnagm2012 G+ Photo Album