Monthly Archives: October 2014

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U.N. does not Expect Cancer Increase due to Fukushima Radiation

By Romeo St-Martin
Communications Officer
Canadian Nuclear Association

Thyroid scan

With little media coverage and even less fanfare, the United Nations released a report in April that dispelled one of the most popular myths regarding the 2011 Fukushima nuclear meltdown.

The United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation (UNSCEAR) said in a report it did not expect “significant changes” in future cancer rates that could be attributed to radiation exposure from the reactor meltdowns.

“The doses to the general public, both those incurred during the first year and estimated for their lifetimes, are generally low or very low. No discernible increased incidence of radiation-related health effects are expected among exposed members of the public or their descendants,” the report concluded.

While the report clears radiation from negative health impacts, it noted that those in the areas affected by the meltdown were not immune to other health impacts.

“The most important health effect is on mental and social well-being, related to the enormous impact of the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear accident, and the fear and stigma related to the perceived risk of exposure to ionizing radiation,” it said.

“Effects such as depression and post-traumatic stress symptoms have already been reported.”

So fear about the exposure to radiation was more of a health problem than radiation exposure itself.

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Nuclear Helping in the Fight Against Ebola

By Erin Polka
Communications Officer
Canadian Nuclear Association

A nuclear-derived technology which allows for early detection of the Ebola virus has been developed by the IAEA and the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations.

The technology, known as Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR), can detect Ebola within a few hours, compared to other technologies which take several days.

RT-PCR will be made available to Sierra Leone, following a UN Security Council appeal, and support is expected to extend to Liberia and Guinea as well.

Early diagnosis of Ebola can significantly increase victims’ chances of survival, while limiting the spread of the disease by isolating victims and treating them earlier.

The full story is available on the IAEA website.

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By the Numbers: 3,000!

Twitter

by Romeo St. Martin
Communications Officer
Canadian Nuclear Association

In baseball, having 3,000 career hits is almost a guarantee to entry into the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown.

On Twitter, having 3,000 followers won’t get you into any Hall of Fame, but it is a milestone worth celebrating.

Having just reached 3,000, we would like to thank our followers and all those who retweet our tweets, spreading the good word about nuclear energy.

Part of the reason for a recent rise in new followers is our commitment to tweet what the people want.

By using social media tools, we have identified the themes that are popular with our followers and the best time of day to reach them.

At the moment, stories about nuclear power’s contribution to reducing GHGs, the growing number of environmentalists embracing nuclear and the fallout from Germany’s decision to close nuclear plants are very popular with our followers and are shared the most.

The CNA will continue to use Twitter to leverage more of its original brand journalism content and blogs on these themes and others. Expect more infographics in the future too.

Until we tweet again.

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Fukushima Fish Safe to Eat

By Romeo St-Martin
Communications Officer
Canadian Nuclear Association

Albacore Tuna
Albacore tuna.

You may have heard media reports about concerns regarding fish contaminated by the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant meltdown migrating to the North American west coast.

The truth is, scientists in British Columbia have found no noticeable radiation in fish on Canada’s west coast as a result of Fukushima and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency has found no cause for concern but continues to monitor the situation.

“The radiation levels we can attribute to Fukushima are essentially not visible,” Simon Fraser University nuclear scientist Kris Starosta recently told Global News.

“What I do see is effects from the weapons tests and natural radiation. That has been there before Fukushima.”

Even North American studies that have found some contamination related to Fukushima has found those levels to be negligible.

A study this year by Oregon State University made a comparison that put some perspective on the fish fear factor.

The researchers found that while Albacore tuna caught off the coast of Oregon had elevated levels of radiation as a result of Fukushima, the increase was so minute that you would have to 700,000 pounds of the fish with the highest radiation levels just to get the same dosage as you would going about your day-to-day life over a year.

“A year of eating albacore with these cesium traces is about the same dose of radiation as you get from spending 23 seconds in a stuffy basement from radon gas, or sleeping next to your spouse for 40 nights from the natural potassium-40 in their body,” Delvan Neville, a graduate research assistant in the Department of Nuclear Engineering and Radiation Health Physics at Oregon State University and lead author on the study, said in a press release.

“It’s just not much at all.”

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CNA Members Lead the Way in Aboriginal Relations

CCAB logo

By Romeo St-Martin
Communications Officer
Canadian Nuclear Association

Four CNA members were among 40 companies recently recognized by the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business (CCAB) for Progressive Aboriginal Relations (PAR) for 2014.

The PAR program is the only corporate assurance program in the world with an emphasis on Aboriginal relations.

Bruce Power achieved the highest possible certification with Gold Standing, becoming one of only 12 companies in Canada to receive the designation. The gold designation indicates that certified companies are good business partners; great places to work, and are committed to prosperity in Aboriginal communities.

Of the new companies, SaskPower received certification with Silver standing (one of just three companies in Canada to receive that ranking), while Gowling Lafleur Henderson LLP and Hatch joined at the Committed Level.

The PAR program supports improvement and best practices in Aboriginal relations. The designation is made by a jury of Aboriginal business people who examine employment, community investment, business development, and community engagement based on company reports, on-site visits and interviews with Aboriginal stakeholders.

The names of the companies were announced at the CCAB’s 12th Annual Vancouver Gala on September 25, 2014 at the Pan Pacific Hotel in Vancouver.