Top scoring student entries for CNA2019

Every year, the Canadian Nuclear Association (CNA) sponsors 100 college and university students to attend its annual conference and trade show. Part of the application process involves answering a question about the future of nuclear technology in 100 words or less. The CNA reads and scores all of the entries, and the students who score the highest secure an all-expenses-paid spot.

Below are the top scoring entries.

Describe a ‘new nuclear’ project you think will change the future and outline the changes it will bring?

By Peria Yaghi, McMaster University

With the rise in nuclear power since the 1950’s, it has become a steadily increasing power source around the world. A new nuclear project that I think would change the future would be the floating nuclear power station which was first created in Russia in 2007. A floating nuclear power plant is a group of nuclear reactors at sea that provide electricity to remote areas (E.g. Northern regions). These floating nuclear power plants can be mass produced and put in different parts of cities and towns in need of power. The capacity of these floating plants is enough to serve cities and their needs. The benefit to using these is that they eliminate the need for burning coal and fossil fuels, which helps climate change issues. Another interesting point about these reactors is that it could be used as desalination plants, which produces fresh water. These are all important and valuable pros in the energy system sector because climate change and lack of water are two issues we will face in the future. This project should be looked at more closely to see how this could further benefit the future of our planet.

By Mr. Liam Dow, McMaster University

I am excited by the latest developments in small module reactors (SMRs). Specifically, the integrated molten salt reactor (IMSR) developed by Terrestrial Energy. I believe that molten salt reactors will find great success in the coming years due to a few reasons. First, I believe that the safety features MSRs offer could not only decrease the risk of accidents, but also improve public perception of how safe nuclear is as an energy source. One of the safeguards that is easily understood without any background in nuclear technology is the “Freeze plug” that simply melts in the event of overheating allowing for automatic cooling and containment without room for human or mechanical error. I also think that the ability to create SMRs will open nuclear energy to new applications as well as lower the economic barrier to entry. IMSR could be used on site in industries requiring high heat as well as electricity as the outlet temperature is much higher (600°C) than traditional reactors. Finally, with the ability to be converted to run off of spent fuel or thorium, the IMSR appears to have a bright future!

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