Monthly Archives: May 2019

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Nuclear researchers produce the rarest drug on Earth

In September, Canadian Nuclear Laboratories (CNL) and TRIUMF announced they were teaming up on the commercial production of what’s been called “the rarest drug on earth.”

Actinium-225 is an alpha-emitting isotope with a short half-life that can be combined with a protein or antibody that specifically targets cancer cells. It has shown promise in experimental uses on late stage cancer patients to kills cancer cells.

Each year, the entire world only makes an amount equal to the weight of a few grains of sand.

The TRIUMF cyclotron centre in Vancouver had been discarding substantial amounts of Ac-225 for years, unaware of its potential.

Under terms of the partnership, TRIUMF’s high energy proton beam will be used to manufacture the isotope, while CNL’s nuclear-licensed handling and production facilities will be used to process the material.

The partnership could see an increase of hundreds of thousands of treatments globally, according to Triumf.

“We are delighted to partner with CNL on this important initiative, which has the potential to transform the lives of people who suffer from untreatable cancers,” said Kathryn Hayashi, Chief Executive Officer of TRIUMF Innovations, the laboratory’s commercialization arm, in a statement.

“This agreement will allow TRIUMF to leverage one of our core assets, the 520 MeV cyclotron, and our scientists and engineers, to produce this isotope on a scale that would enable more clinical development to make treatment available for patients with a wide spectrum of cancers that we can’t fight effectively using today’s technologies.”

“With over one billion medical treatments conducted using isotopes produced at the Chalk River Laboratories, CNL has served as a global leader in nuclear medicine for decades,” said Mark Lesinski, President and CEO of CNL, in a statement. “We view this agreement with TRIUMF as a natural evolution of this work, which will require industry-tested proficiencies in target manufacturing, radiochemistry, radioisotope analysis, and nuclear and chemical by-product management.

CNL and TRIUMF also recently announced that they will co-host the 11th Targeted-Alpha-Therapy Symposium (TAT11), a global forum for academic and industry leaders to meet and discuss the latest technical, regulatory and clinical developments in targeted radiopharmaceutical therapy. The event will be held in April 2019 in Ottawa.

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Top Five Takeaways from the 2019 Leadership Conference for Women in Energy

By Emily James, Communications Officer, Canadian Nuclear Association

On April 16 and 17, 2019 some of Canada’s most successful female energy leaders met in Toronto to share their industry knowledge and experience with professionals from across Canada’s energy sector.

Currently, 7.6 million women represent 48% of the working population in Canada. In the electricity sector, women make up only 26% of the workforce.

In addition to analyzing key trends in the global energy market, panel sessions and group discussions did not shy away from the issues facing women in a traditionally male-dominated industry.

Skill development workshops on mastering negotiation and activating your own power to change the world of work encouraged attendees to leverage their strengths to improve organizational performance and move up.

Here are five empowering takeaways from the conference that will encourage women (and men) in their professions:

  1. Dive in!

Don’t get caught up in the details when starting a project or presentation. According to Annette Verschuren, Chair and Chief Executive Officer of NRStar Inc., a progressive energy storage development company, and former president of Home Depot Canada and president and co-founder of Michael’s of Canada, 60% is ready enough.

Many women believe things must be lined up 100% before taking action, but that can hold you back from taking a risk that could lead to success. Instead, strive for a mediocre strategy and excellent execution.

  1. Use your networks

Aida Cipolla, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer at Toronto Hydro presented on the importance of building internal and external networks. Cipolla suggests that networking is vital to career and personal growth. It can raise your personal profile, broaden your opportunities, and aid in working through industry challenges by learning from others.

Set a schedule and reminder for regular touch points with your contacts. Check in with those around you and see what you can do to help others reach their goals. Networking is about giving first and receiving later.

  1. Have a “growth mindset”

It’s easy to get discouraged as challenges arise but having a growth mindset versus a fixed mindset can make all the difference when there are obstacles to overcome.

A growth mindset promotes learning from mistakes, challenging oneself, and feeling inspired by the success of others. Individuals with fixed mindsets tend to give up when feeling frustrated, engage in negativity when things don’t work out, and back away from challenges. One way to combat this is by simply doing more and thinking less.

  1. Be aware of unconscious bias

An all-male panel from Hydro One Networks Inc. explained how they became champions for diversity and inclusion after attending a Men Advocating Real Change (MARC) workshop. The program developed by global non-profit Catalyst has been successful in bringing awareness to men and women about the unconscious biases that often exist in the workplace and how to transform them.

Catalyst research revealed that less than half of men in the workplace believe gender stereotyping is a barrier to women’s advancement. By stepping out of their comfort zone and attending a MARC workshop, the panelists gained an understanding for what their colleagues were experiencing and became allies for change.

  1. Don’t give up

Ariana Huffington says that, “Failure is a stepping stone to success.” In this light, challenges become opportunities to help you progress rather than hindrances that hold you back.

Fear of failure can be paralyzing. Speakers suggested building resilience by trying new things and being willing to make mistakes. Detach from the outcome and with each experience, you’ll build the confidence necessary to find the success you seek.

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Nuclear industry steps in after GM layoffs

General Motors plant in Oshawa, Ontario.

Ontario’s nuclear industry has reached out to help General Motors (GM) workers affected by the company’s planned closure of their Oshawa, Ontario, plant.

On November 26, GM announced that it would close its Oshawa assembly plant the end of 2019 as part of global restructuring. The closure would affect more than 2,500 jobs at the Oshawa plant.

The layoffs will have a major impact on the Oshawa economy.  According to Unifor, the union representing GM workers, every job at the Oshawa plant is tied to seven spin-off jobs in the community.

But just four days later, Ontario’s nuclear industry stepped in to let Unifor know that it would do what it can to ease the blow to the community and workers.

Bruce Power and Ontario Power Generation (OPG) sent a joint letter to the leadership of Unifor, expressing support for workers at GM Oshawa.

“Bruce Power and Ontario Power Generation recognize the role the auto industry and the Oshawa GM plant have played in Ontario’s economy for decades and we believe that we can play a part in keeping these highly skilled people in high-paying jobs in the nuclear industry,” the letter stated.

“Skilled tradespeople and skilled workers are one of our province’s biggest assets and there is a deficit being predicted in the Ontario labour market. Bruce Power, OPG and the Ontario nuclear fleet support employment and training opportunities for skilled workers.”

At over $25 billion, the refurbishment of Ontario’s nuclear power plants is the largest clean-technology investment in the country.

The refurbishment projects will put thousands of people to work and ensure economic prosperity for the province of Ontario for years to come.

“OPG’s Darlington Refurbishment Project and Bruce Power’s Major Component Replacement (MCR) Program are the two largest infrastructure projects in Ontario. We understand the value of a trained, skilled workforce for Ontario and we look forward to playing a part in keeping Ontario’s workforce employed,” the letter concluded.