Monthly Archives: March 2013

Guest Blog Nuclear Medicine

The Medical Isotopes Supply Chain

Today’s post comes from guest contributor at Nordion.

Nuclear medicine is one of the most powerful analytical tools available to physicians and patients today because of its ability to provide dynamic views of organ structure and function. Medical isotopes are used to diagnose potentially life-threatening conditions such as heart disease and to treat serious diseases such as cancer.

About one million nuclear medicine procedures are performed in Canada annually. In the U.S., there are some 18 million nuclear medicine procedures per year among 311 million people, and in Europe about 10 million among 500 million people. Canada has been one of the global leaders in the supply of medical isotopes to the world’s medical community. Tc-99m is used in about 80% of all diagnostic nuclear imaging procedures.

Medical isotopes have a short shelf life and therefore cannot be inventoried. Before they can be used in patient procedures, the materials used in nuclear medicine are developed through a multi-step supply chain process.

This graphic summarizes the process.

supply-chain-nordion_graphic-600

Watch this video to understand how medical isotopes make their complex (but necessarily quick) journey, from reactor to patient:

 

CNA2013

CNA2013 Video: Evolution of Nuclear Safety Practices

Mr. Tom Mitchell, President and Chief Executive Officer of Ontario Power Generation, provides an update on the safety measures OPG has implemented at its nuclear plants following the Fukushima nuclear event of two years ago. He also offers observations on the nuclear industry’s evolving approach to nuclear safety, including the insights gained from studying the Fukushima experience.

You can watch more CNA2013 conference videos on the playlist we created. Other videos including videos from previous conference years can be found on our YouTube channel.

Guest Blog

Toronto Electric Transit: Clean, Affordable, and Nuclear Powered

Today’s post comes from guest contributor Steve Aplin. Steve works at the HDP Group and authors the great blog, Canadian Energy Issues.

Toronto is a beautiful, modern, clean, world-class city which is—sometimes unfairly—nicknamed The Big Smoke. The nickname comes from the smog that sometimes hovers over the city on hot summer days. Smog is caused in part by fossil fuel combustion, and in Toronto that means cars. Therefore the city’s biggest and most effective weapon against smog is its electric-powered subways and streetcars.

Subways and streetcars run on steel rails, and rail transportation is far more efficient, in terms of fuel used per kilometer traveled, than road transportation. And electric-powered rail is far more efficient than fossil-powered. If the electricity comes from mostly zero-carbon sources, as it does in Ontario, then electric rail transit is, on a passenger-by-passenger basis, twenty to eighty times as clean as car transportation.

In 2010, the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) used 4.4 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity to move millions of passengers on electric subways and streetcars. Most of those 4.4 billion kWh came from Ontario’s three nuclear power plants. Because most of that electricity came from nuclear plants, each individual subway or streetcar rider’s carbon footprint was tiny: nuclear emits no smog or greenhouse gas pollution.

And because Toronto’s subways and streetcars are mostly nuclear powered, TTC fares were low—nuclear is among the least expensive types of electricity in Ontario.

Nuclear energy is affordable because it is also among the most efficient and reliable ways we know to make electricity.

So I congratulate all Toronto subway and streetcar riders: every day you prove that modern transportation is affordable, reliable, and clean.

Guest Blog

Getting Girls Energized about Science and Engineering

By Cheryl Cottrill
Executive Director
WiN-Canada

WiN-Canada (Women in Nuclear) hosted Camp GEMS (Girls in Engineering Math and Science) for two full day March Break camps last week at the Bruce Power Visitors’ Centre.  The sessions are meant to provide a fun, hands-on experience, using science, math and engineering principles, with a female mentor who has been successful in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) careers.  It’s done to awaken a life-long passion for science and ignite scientific curiosity, so campers will ask intelligent questions around issues like climate change and energy options, and possibly go on to study STEM subjects post-secondary.  In Canada, only an estimated 21% of students enrolled in applied science and engineering are women.

Day one’s theme, All in a Bug’s Life, centered on insects and taught the 25 girls attending about different types and characteristics of insects. They learned about the two types of metamorphosis, a process of dramatic change in a body form during a lifespan, which can be complete or incomplete.  Day two’s theme, Enzymes – Step on it! took the girls through two experiments: Jello Meets Pineapple, to see how the pineapple, acting as an enzyme on the jello substrate, changed the ability of the jello to set and an experiment using controlled quantities of raw potatoes immersed in hydrogen peroxide to initiate a chemical reaction.

These events are hosted by Women in Nuclear and have become well known and supported in the community. This energizing and welcomed approach to engaging young women into science, technology, engineering and math is creating a pathway for their future endeavours, and should help to bring more young Canadians into the excellent careers offered by our nuclear industries.

CNA2013

CNA2013 Video: The Power of Linking Energy and Industrial Policies

Dr. Tim Stone is the Expert Chair with the UK Department of Energy and Climate Change. He has considerable expertise in reviewing UK nuclear installations and providing advice on waste management and decommissioning. In his talk, Dr. Stone shares the importance of political aspects of nuclear projects in supporting a strong national economy.

You can watch more CNA2013 conference videos on the playlist we created. Other videos including videos from previous conference years can be found on our YouTube channel.

CNA2013

CNA2013 Video: Nuclear Refurbishment Projects

The next in our CNA2013 Conference video series features a panel discussion on nuclear refurbishment projects.

Nuclear refurbishments are often referred to as the most complex engineering challenges in the history of infrastructure. With some Canadian projects recently completed, and others in initial planning phases, this session featured Canadian nuclear leaders sharing how lessons learned will inform future initiatives.

Mark Sutcliffe moderated the panel of:

You can watch more CNA2013 conference videos on the playlist we created. Other videos including videos from previous conference years can be found on our YouTube channel.