Author Archives: TalkNuclear Admin

Here’s to Heather

Heather Kleb
Heather Kleb

CNA Vice-President Heather Kleb left the CNA on September 12 to join Bruce Power.
Kleb will be taking up a position as senior program manager in the regulatory program with Bruce starting in Ottawa in late September.
”Working at the CNA has allowed me to meet so many of the great people who make up the nuclear industry,” said Kleb. “I hope to continue to run into all of you in my new role. And I plan to cheer the CNA on from the sidelines as they advocate for our industry.”
Kleb joined the CNA in 2010 as director of regulatory affairs and served as acting CNA president from October 2012 to October 2013.
“Heather will always be a most welcome friend of CNA; we very much hope to benefit from her advice on regulatory and environmental affairs,” said CNA President John Barrett. “Her expertise in these matters is most valuable, not only to the CNA but also to the nuclear industry at large.”
Heather has a background in environmental science with a Master of Science in Ecology and over 20 years of experience working on multi-million dollar projects supporting a variety of industries. She has held a number of positions at Atomic Energy of Canada Limited, including Manager, Regulatory Affairs, for the cleanup and long-term management of historic low-level radioactive waste in Port Hope and Clarington, Ontario.
She is also currently enrolled in the EMBA program at Queen’s University.
Good luck, Heather!

Meeting Governor Haley and Opportunities in the Carolinas’ Nuclear Cluster

By Dr. John Barrett
President
Canadian Nuclear Association

South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley and CNA President John Barrett.
South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley and CNA President John Barrett.

On April 1, I was invited by the Canadian Chamber of Commerce to attend a dinner to meet the Governor of South Carolina, Nikki Haley.  It proved to be a very interesting evening on a number of fronts.

First, Governor Haley: first elected in November 2010, she has since then, according to the promotional material, “worked tirelessly to create jobs and to improve the overall business environment in South Carolina. Under her tenure as Governor more than 44,500 jobs have been created and over $11 billion has been invested in South Carolina.”

I can believe every bit of that.  She gave a strong, spirited and convincing presentation about her efforts to bring South Carolina out of the doldrums, languishing with an 11 per cent unemployment rate, to a state bursting with drive, pride and accomplishment.  A state on the upswing economically, full of energy.

And I use the word “energy” with special meaning.  Many of our CNA members will already know of the “Carolinas’ Nuclear Cluster,” a hub of nuclear expertise, supplying more than 11 per cent of the United States’ nuclear power generation.  This nuclear cluster has been described as a consortium of industry, higher education and non-profit organizations working together to support energy and economic development.

More to the point, North Carolina has five nuclear reactors in operation, providing 32 per cent of the state’s electricity generation.  South Carolina has seven operating reactors, with 52 per cent of the state’s total electric generation — and two new units under construction.

If there’s a region that would be a natural partner to Southern Ontario’s own nuclear cluster, it would be the Carolinas, with South Carolina showing its optimism in the future of nuclear with two new builds.

Speaking with Governor Haley afterwards, she expressed considerable interest in the Canadian nuclear industry and its priorities and prospects.  She insisted that I come and visit her soon to continue the conversation and see what opportunities for collaboration there might be in the Carolinas’ Nuclear Cluster for our CNA members.

This southern hospitality was further extended by the former U.S. Ambassador to Canada, David Wilkins, who sat next to me at dinner.  He said he’d be happy to introduce me to the folks in the South Carolina nuclear industry, since he knew them all personally.

I checked in the next day with OCI President Ron Oberth to see whether he’d been to the Carolinas to visit their nuclear industry.  Indeed he had, but he thought it’d be very useful for the CNA to visit, especially since the invitations were coming from the highest level in the state.

So this is now on my list of places to visit and relationships to build on behalf of CNA members.  If any of you reading this have advice or insights on what opportunities and business connections we can forge with the U.S. nuclear industry in the American southeast, please let me know.

CNA President John Barrett and U.S. Ambassador to Canada Bruce Heyman
CNA President John Barrett and U.S. Ambassador to Canada Bruce Heyman

I should add that the dinner provided an opportunity for me to meet the U.S. Ambassador-designate to Canada, Bruce Heyman, and his wife, Vicky.  He presents his letters of accreditation to the Governor General at Rideau Hall on April 8, after which he will officially take up his ambassadorial duties.  He is arriving brimming with enthusiasm and eagerness to get to know Canada and Canadians.  We wish him and his family all the very best in their new assignment, and I am looking forward to meeting with him once he is officially accredited.

Some quick points on South Carolina:

-South Carolina’s four existing nuclear power plants supplied 57 per cent of the state’s net electricity generation in 2013; two new reactors are under construction at the V.C. Summer Nuclear Station site in Fairfield County. (Source: US EIA. http://www.eia.gov/state/?sid=SC)

-In the Carolinas (North and South), the nuclear energy industry directly provides 29,000 jobs, has more than $2.2 billion in direct payroll , and more than $950 million paid in state and local taxes, according to a 2013 analysis by Clemson University. (Source: NEI.http://neinuclearnotes.blogspot.ca/2014/03/why-should-you-consider-career-in.html)

The NRC decision to approve new build, back in 2012, was the first construction licence issued since 1978. (Source: Media. http://thehill.com/blogs/e2-wire/e2-wire/219277-regulators-approve-construction-of-second-new-nuclear-reactors-in-decades)

Here’s a quick profile of the Virgil C. Summer Nuclear Generating Station: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Virgil_C._Summer_Nuclear_Generating_Station

Reflections on the Nuclear Industry Summit and the Nuclear Security Summit

By John Barrett
President
Canadian Nuclear Association

From March 23 to 25, I and a number of Canadian nuclear-sector executives participated at the Nuclear Industry Summit (NIS) in Amsterdam. The NIS and the Nuclear Security Summit (NSS) in The Hague were designed by the Netherlands, as host and organizer, to overlap.

The 2014 NSS was the third in a series of Leaders’ Summits established in 2010 by U.S. President Barack Obama to address the security of nuclear materials and radiological sources and to prevent their illicit acquisition by criminal or terrorist entities.

nis-picture

Nuclear Security Background

The idea of an accompanying nuclear industry summit has gained ground. States participating in the NSS have recognized the important role of nuclear industry in implementing effective security arrangements in the handling of sensitive nuclear materials and radiological sources.

To those involved in Canada’s nuclear industry, this recognition of industry’s role in nuclear security likely comes as no surprise, given the regulations and procedures that they already stringently abide by.

This may be so here in Canada. But there is also an awareness that no comparable international regime exists for nuclear security as it does for nuclear safety.

Governments still struggle more with security because of the interplay between sensitive information – whether concerning physical protection or the whereabouts of nuclear and radiological material – and the transparency necessary to give assurance, both to domestic populations as well as to other states, that such materials remain secure. Getting the balance between the two is the challenge.

That is one of the reasons that forms of verification and confidence-building used increasingly in nuclear safety (note in particular the IAEA’s Action Plan on Nuclear Safety, following the Fukushima accident) such as “peer review” are sometimes more resisted by states when it comes to nuclear security. Perhaps they fear the potential embarrassment or additional costs associated with being held under the international spotlight of a peer review. Their deficiencies could become exposed. This is why achieving progress in transparency and assurances is often slower than one hopes.

Nevertheless, the three nuclear security summits give room for optimism. Building an international nuclear security framework cannot be achieved in one fell swoop. But we can learn from the experiences in other areas of verification and confidence-building in the civil nuclear sphere. In two other areas – nuclear non-proliferation and nuclear safety – the IAEA acts as a mechanism for verification. For states that are parties to the Non-Proliferation Treaty, they are legally bound to allow the IAEA to impose safeguards on their civil nuclear activities. For states parties to the Convention on Nuclear Safety (which includes all countries that operate nuclear power plants, except Iran), they are obliged to undergo peer reviews based on IAEA safety standards.

For nuclear security, however, no such role exists for the IAEA. Some countries insist that security is not part of the agency’s mandate, only safeguards and safety. Yet there is overlap between these two areas and nuclear security. How, for example, can one can talk about the safety of radiological sources without also including their protection and secure handling? Or protecting nuclear material from being diverted or traded illegally, taking into account the role of safeguards in ensuring only legitimate uses of such material?

Bit by bit, the pieces of a coherent nuclear security regime are being assembled. The IAEA offers International Physical Protection Advisory Services, along with Nuclear Security Guidelines. The agency is also the compiler of the Incidents and Trafficking Database. The Amendment to the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material is signed, though not yet in force.

In short, it’s still a patchwork of agreements and initiatives with no unifying international legal framework. Many actions and commitments are voluntary for states, not binding. This non-binding dimension is not ideal when it comes to giving strong and transparent assurances to others that one’s own nuclear security house is fully and circumspectly in order.

So, given this background, what were some of the achievements of the 2014 Nuclear Security Summit?

NSS Achievements

One thing heard often at both NSS and NIS discussions was that a harmful event involving nuclear materials anywhere can be considered to be a harmful event everywhere. The direct interrelationship between the security of nuclear materials in one country and its impact on other countries is clearly recognized by political and industry leaders alike.

The NSS allowed individual countries to show what they have done domestically and internationally to improve nuclear security. It also produced numerous pledges to do more by the time of the next summit in 2016. Canada showed itself very well in both instances.

The summit also made ground in “strengthening the international nuclear security architecture,” possibly by developing by 2016 the outlines of a unifying framework or instrument. In addition, a block of countries stepped forward to accept peer reviews as a means of demonstrating their intent to improve both transparency as well as the level and effectiveness of their national nuclear security measures. And the IAEA is now clearly the lead international institution to support and promote nuclear security.

The NSS encouraged: the minimization of stocks of Highly Enriched Uranium and separated plutonium; the minimization of HEU use through conversion of reactor fuel from HEU to LEU; efforts to use non-HEU technologies for the production of radio-isotopes; protection of high-activity radiological sources; the investigation of alternative technologies for such production; and security plans for spent fuel and radioactive waste.

Implications for Industry

The NSS made it clear that nuclear industry had “a crucial role to play in maintaining and strengthening nuclear security.”

Operators should put strong emphasis on effective safety and security culture, physical protection, and material accountancy. They should undergo regular and routine tests and evaluations, in line with the “principle of continuous improvement.” The summit leaders also emphasized the importance of information and cyber security, underlining that further exchanges between government, industry and academia were desirable.

However, it was in the Nuclear Industry Summit (NIS) that more specific measures for industry were identified. The NIS issued a Joint Declaration, as well as the reports of three working groups. Working Group 1 (under the chairmanship of Bruce Power CEO Duncan Hawthorne) dealt with corporate governance. Working Group 2 (chaired by Luc Oustel of Areva) examined enhancing of Information and cyber security.  Working Group 3 (chaired by Adi Paterson of ANSTO) looked at further reducing HEU and strengthening controls over highly active radiological sources.

The NIS Joint Declaration committed industry participants to:

  • Promoting a strong security culture
  • Ensuring that all personnel with accountabilities for security must be demonstrably competent
  • Clearly designating accountability for security
  • Conducting routine evaluations of the sufficiency of security provisions
  • Extending the spirit of cooperation and sharing of good practices
  • Reinforcing industry collaboration on cyber security topics
  • Fostering development of high-density fuel (LEU production of radio-isotopes)

Canadian Role

From a Canadian perspective, Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced at the Nuclear Security Summit several initiatives and commitments that may have a bearing on industry. Canada is committed to:

  • Eliminating the use of HEU in the production of medical isotopes by 2016
  • Continuing the process of repatriation of its U.S.-origin HEU fuel by 2018
  • Minimizing HEU by providing technical support for a reactor conversion and cleanout project in Jamaica

In addition, Canada will undertake further nuclear and radiological security programming through the Global Partnership Program to: enhance physical security of nuclear and radiological materials in Southeast Asia; prevent loss, theft, and malicious use of radioactive sources, particularly those of Canadian origin, in Latin America and Africa; and combat illicit trafficking by enhancing detection capabilities in the Americas.

The prime minister also announced government co-funding of a Bruce Power and the World Institute for Nuclear Security (WINS) project to develop senior-level training courses and instruction methodologies relating to nuclear security. The new WINS Academy was unveiled at the 2014 NSS and NIS Summits. The Academy is launching a Security Certification Programme, “The Route to Demonstrable Competence,” which is targeted at professionals who have management responsibilities for nuclear and radiological materials.

Furthermore, under The Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism (GICNT), Canada will undertake a nuclear forensics initiative in partnership with a number of international partners, including Israel, the Netherlands and the US.

In the National Progress Report prepared by the Canadian government for the 2014 NSS, there is mention that Canada is undertaking a comprehensive national project designed to promote the development of a national nuclear forensics capability. To this end, Canada is participating as a programme committee member for the forthcoming International Conference on Advances in Nuclear Forensics. As regards cyber security, Canada is working towards the development and issuance of a national standard for cyber protection.

Furthermore, Canada is examining the potential to develop a Centre of Excellence to connect expertise from government, industry, regulators and academic institutions. The document also notes that both government and industry representatives are actively involved in the development of international recommendations, guidance and best practice guides for enhancing nuclear security, through the IAEA and WINS.

Quick Takeaways

What I drew in particular from the combination of the 2 summit meetings (NSS and NIS) was an emphasis on the following nuclear security areas:

  • Education, training and awareness-raising are key in developing a corporate and institutional “nuclear security culture”
  • Peer review and compliance, while still voluntary in many parts of the international nuclear security architecture, are essential and will be pursued and strengthened
  • Collaboration with industry is important, especially in promoting a nuclear security culture, raising the actual levels of physical protection, and dealing with increasingly salient cyber-security issues
  • There is growing recognition of the interface between safety and security and of how the latter can learn from the former
  • The IAEA is increasingly accepted as the focal point in future for improvements in the practice of nuclear security and in building an international nuclear security architecture
  • Focus is being put on improved detection methods and forensic technologies

CNA and Members Among World Leaders at 2014 Nuclear Industry Summit

By Erin Polka
Communications Officer
Canadian Nuclear Association

Canadian Nuclear Association members will be among the world nuclear industry leaders participating at the third Nuclear Industry Summit in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, from March 23 to 25.

The summit is organized in conjunction with the Nuclear Security Summit in The Hague. Leaders from 58 countries will attend the security summit, including Prime Minister Stephen Harper and U.S. President Barack Obama.

The industry summit is a high-level event for global nuclear CEOs focused on the security aspects needed to ensure that the nuclear industry is seen by society as valuable, now and in the future.

Canada will be well represented at the industry summit with Bruce Power CEO Duncan Hawthorne chairing one of the summit’s working groups on security governance and Cameco president Tim Gitzel is a featured speaker.

Ken Ellis, a long-time Bruce Power executive and current World Association of Nuclear Operators managing director, will also address the summit.

CNA president Dr. John Barrett will be in attendance as an observer, along with AECL CEO Dr. Robert Walker, Candu Energy senior VP of engineering Dezi Yang and and Canadian Nuclear Partners president Pierre Tremblay.

The industry summit will focus on promoting a strong security culture throughout the global industry, cooperation in dealing with cyber security threats and continuing to reduce the use of highly-enriched uranium in research reactors and radiological isotope production.

The conference will have three working groups – Strengthening Security Governance, Dealing with Cyber Threats, and Managing Materials of Concern. The chairs of these groups, including Hawthorne, will report later to the Nuclear Security Summit with recommendations on how the industry can help further enhance nuclear security.

Industry participation in global nuclear security is important. Industry operates facilities such as nuclear power plants and is responsible for safety and security of nuclear or radiological sources at such facilities.

Canada is not only a major player in all aspects of the use of nuclear technology for peaceful purposes, but it is also a world leader in nuclear safety.

This year, the Washington-based Nuclear Threat Initiative ranked Canada second behind only Australia in securing its nuclear materials for peaceful purposes.

Radioactive Packaging Put to the Test, Passes with Flying Colours

By Romeo St-Martin
Digital Media Officer
Canadian Nuclear Association

The recent incident at the port of Halifax is a real-life example of the high level of safety involved in the packaging and transport of nuclear substances in Canada and around the world.

On Thursday, four steel cylinders encased in concrete containing uranium hexafluoride fell about six metres from inside a container at the Fairview Container Terminal at the port, landing in a contained area of a ship.

URENCO has said the cylinders came from its enrichment facility in the United Kingdom. The shipment was bound for the U.S.

Fire and port officials evacuated the terminal and it remained closed until radiation experts confirmed there was no leak of radiation the following day.

Halifax Fire and Emergency Executive Fire Officer Phil McNulty was quoted in a Canadian Press story as saying the containers are extremely durable.

“The safety redundancies built in for the transportation of nuclear materials are unbelievable,” he said.

“If this wasn’t done properly, we wouldn’t be singing the song we’re singing now.”

Every day, Canadians working in nuclear ship thousands of packages of radioactive material, many of them across the world. In five decades, there has been no transportation incident with significant radiological damage to people or the environment.

According to the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, packages requiring certification have to undergo stringent testing. Testing must simulate both normal and accident conditions of transport. The tests can include free-drop testing, puncture testing, thermal testing, and aircraft accident simulations.

The following video illustrates drop testing in Germany.

Testing methods in Canada are very similar, if not identical, to methods used by other international regulatory bodies.

Ministers Jason Kenney and Bob Chiarelli Confirmed for CNA2014

By Romeo St-Martin
Digital Media Officer
Canadian Nuclear Association

Great news – not only have we confirmed that Minister Jason Kenney will be our closing speaker, but we’ve also added Ontario Energy Minister Bob Chiarelli to the program too!

These additions mean that instead of ending at 12:00PM on Friday, February 28, our program will now end at 12:30PM instead, with Minister Kenney as the closing speaker. Please modify your travel arrangements if necessary to ensure you can see both of these terrific additions!

For the complete program or to register for CNA2014, please visit us online.

Be sure to follow CNA2014 updates on Twitter with the #CNA2014 hashtag. We hope to see you there!