Author Archives: Erin Polka

NAYGN Lobbying for Nuclear at CNA Queen’s Park Day

By Matthew Mairinger, Senior Advisor Stakeholder Relations, Ontario Power Generation
Originally published at naygn.org, January 14, 2019

Similar to when North American Young Generation in Nuclear (NAYGN) participated in the Canadian Nuclear Association’s (CNA) Parliament Hill Day, NAYGN participated in the CNA Queen’s Park Day on Nov. 26.

With 50,000 Ontarians employed across the province’s nuclear industry and nuclear supplying 60 per cent of Ontario’s needs, the politicians at Queen’s Park seemed quite receptive to nuclear.

The day kicked off with a briefing and overview of government priorities and then participants from NAYGN, Women in Nuclear (WiN), labour unions and the CNA broke off into 11 teams. The teams travelled to Queen’s Park to meet with Members of Provincial Parliament (MPPs), policy advisors and deputy ministers to advocate for nuclear. During the day, participants also attended Question Period which turned out to be a heated discussion since General Motors had just announced the closure of the Oshawa GM plant.

From left, Jay Patel (NAYGN Bruce), Bonita Chan (NAYGN Chalk River), Hon. Greg Rickford (Minister of Energy, Northern Development and Mines and Minister of Indigenous Affairs), Matthew Mairinger (NAYGN Canadian Affairs Chair), Fabricia Pineiro (NAYGN Mississauga) and Yousef Yacoob (NAYGN Kinetrics).

“The Queens Park Day organized by CNA was a great opportunity to promote the importance of having a sustainable nuclear workforce,” said Fabricia Pinero of NAYGN Mississauga. “The engagement of young professionals is vital to help shape policies that support our generation’s priorities and encourage future ones to join.”

From left: Julie Bartlev (WiN-Canada), Yousef Yacoob (NAYGN Kinetrics), Hon. Bill Walker (Minister of Government and Consumer Services) andAndrew Thiele (Bruce Power).

“I’m very glad that I had the opportunity to meet with MPPs Nina Tangri, Vincent Ke, Norm Miller, the Hon. Bill Walker, and other members of our Legislative Assembly at the Canadian Nuclear Association’s Queens Park Day,” said Yousef Yacoob, of NAYGN Kinetrics.

“It was a pleasure to share some of the current innovations driven by Ontario’s nuclear industry; including the far-reaching impacts in medicine, clean energy, technology, and our local economy; and the role of the young generation.”

From left: Bruce Harris (IBEW Representative), Jay Patel (NAYGN Bruce), Amarjot Sandhu (MPP – Brampton West), Laurie Fraser (WIN representative) and Elan Thomas (Kinectrics).

“Participating in the Queen’s Park day organized by CNA was a very rewarding experience,” said Jay Patel from NAYGN Bruce. “It was a great opportunity for all representatives to advocate for nuclear energy and speak of its societal benefits to MPPs.

“It was admirable to see other CNA, WIN and Labour Union representative’s passion about nuclear energy and jobs in the industry, while advocating in front of all MPPs. The day also provided an opportunity for me to meet successful leaders within the nuclear industry and learn from their years of experience, which I can then take back to share with my co-workers.”

From left: Sandra Sylxhoorn (OPG), Bonita Chan (NAYGN Chalk River), Natalie Des Rosiers (MPP for Ottawa-Vanier) and Terry Armstrong (ES Fox).

“It was very rewarding to be reassured by MPPs that what we’re doing with NAYGN makes a difference in the industry,” explained Bonita Chan of NAYGN Chalk River. “Things like volunteering in the community we live in, advocating for the industry, providing career development opportunities for young nuclear professionals are just some of the things that they were happy to learn NAYGNers are partaking in.”

From left: John Stewart (CNA), Matthew Mairinger (NAYGN Canada), Paul Calandra (MPP for Markham-Stoufville, PA to the Minister of Energy), Michael Courtney (SNC Lavalin) and Ralph Chatoor (Society of United Professionals).

Nuclear technology increases rice crop yields

Rice terraces in Indonesia

There has been a wealth of studies examining the impact climate change can play in reducing the yield of rice crops.

Whether it be less rain or a shortened growing season, many are concerned about the future of rice production. And this could have a negative impact on the health and economies of the developing world.

But nuclear technology could offer a solution.

In Indonesia, scientists at the country’s National Nuclear Energy Agency (BATAN) have developed 22 rice varieties using irradiation to generate new and useful traits in crops. The process is known as mutation breeding.

As the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) explains, “Mutation breeding uses a plant’s own genetic make-up, mimicking the natural process of spontaneous mutation. The mutation process generates random genetic variations, resulting in plants with new and useful traits.”

Ripe rice crops

In Indonesia, scientists use gamma irradiation to induce mutations in seeds and to speed up the natural mutation process. The new plants are then tested and those displaying useful traits are selected for further breeding and subsequent distribution to farmers.

After two years, the new rice has been a success. Two hundred farmers in the region of East Java have used the rice variety called Inpari Sidenuk, which is Indonesian for “Nuclear Dedication.” According to the IAEA, the farmers have doubled their yields to nine tons per hectare.

CNA2019 panel: Role of the Regulators

Top to bottom: Adrienne Kelbie, The Honourable Kristine Svinicki, Rumina Velshi

On Thursday, February 28, at 10:15 am, Adrienne Kelbie, The Honourable Kristine Svinicki and Rumina Velshi will gather onstage at CNA2019 to discuss new nuclear and the role of regulators.

The regulators are the touchstone of the nuclear industry’s credibility as a safe, secure and safeguarded industry. What role will the regulating bodies play with respect to New Nuclear? With advanced designs, technologies, fuels coming closer every day to demonstration and commercialization, how do the regulators fulfill their mandates so that benefits of nuclear for climate, economy and health can be safely and confidently enjoyed?

Adrienne Kelbie is the Chief Executive of the UK’s Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) The ONR Board appointed her as Chief Executive in January 2016. She came to ONR from the Disclosure and Barring Service which safeguards vulnerable people and has undergone significant change since its formation in 2012. Her role reflects its significant public profile, sensitivity of data and need for finely balanced decisions.

Kristine Svinicki is the Chairman of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission. She has a distinguished career as a nuclear engineer and policy advisor, working at the state and federal levels of government, and in both the legislative and executive branches. Before joining the NRC, Svinicki spent over a decade as a staff member in the United States Senate advancing a wide range of policies and initiatives related to national security, science and technology, and energy and the environment.

Rumina Velshi is the President and CEO of the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission. Her five-year term began August 22, 2018. Before that she was appointed as a permanent, part-time Commission member in 2011 and re-appointed for a second five-year term in March 2018. Throughout her career, she has worked in various capacities at Ontario Hydro and Ontario Power Generation where, in her last role, she was Director, Planning and Control for the Darlington New Nuclear Project. Ms. Velshi is very active in the promotion of careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), especially for young women. She was one of the founding members of Canada’s Women in Science and Engineering.

For more information about CNA2019 visit https://cna.ca/cna2019/.

Views of the next generation panel at CNA2019

Top to bottom: Bethel Afework, Matthew Mairinger, Taylor McKenna

Join Bethel Afework, Matthew Mairinger, and Taylor McKenna at CNA2019 as they discuss the next generation in nuclear on Thursday, February 28, at 9:00 a.m.

What better way to start CNA2019’s “New Nuclear” theme, then to hear from the next generation – for whom the excitement and challenge of being in a nuclear-related career is contagious. The promise of nuclear technology in finding solutions to society’s needs will require greater understanding and acceptance of others in their generation. How do they see the future?

Bethel Afework is a technical write at the University of Calgary. She is interested in sustainable resources and carbon low solutions. She believes that solar and nuclear are powerful resources and wants to communicate these ideas better to the public to move towards a more sustainable future.

Matthew Mairinger is the North American Young Generation in Nuclear (NAYGN) Canadian Affairs Chair, NAYGN Canadian regional lead, and president of the NAYGN Durham chapter. He is a Professional Engineer and received his Bachelor of Engineering in Nuclear Engineering degree from University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT). He has over five years of experience working at Ontario Power Generation and is the senior advisor in stakeholder relations at the Pickering nuclear plant.

Taylor McKenna is the Project Manager for Ontario’s Nuclear Advantage, which works to build relationships between the government and the nuclear industry. Previously she worked as a government relations advisor for Bruce Power and as a legislative assistant at Queen’s Park.

For more information about CNA2019 visit https://cna.ca/cna2019/.

Bruce Power to produce Lutetium-177 for cancer therapy

In late June, Bruce Power joined forces with Isotopen Technologien München (ITM) to examine the production of the radioisotope Lutetium-177 at the Bruce Power site.

Lu-177 is used in targeted radionuclide therapy to treat cancers like neuroendocrine tumours and prostate cancer.

The medical-grade radioisotope is used to destroy cancer cells while leaving healthy cells unaffected.

According to the company, the Bruce Power site has the ability to meet global supply needs through 2064, which is the lifespan of the station after refurbishment.

Bruce Power nuclear generating station

“By developing innovative ways to generate these radioisotopes, we help ensure that the medical community has access to a reliable source of medical radioisotopes for Targeted Radionuclide Therapy,” Bruce Power CEO Mike Rencheck said via a press release.

Bruce’s CANDU reactors already produce Cobalt-60, which is used for the sterilization of medical equipment and in a specialized form of cancer treatment called the Gamma Knife.

Bruce Power is part of the Canadian Nuclear Isotope Council (CNIC), which aims to develop collective solutions to maintain Canada’s leadership position in global isotope production. The CNA is also a member of the Council.

IT’S NOT TOO LATE TO REGISTER FOR A WORKSHOP AT CNA2019!

In addition to a full conference and trade show, the CNA is holding two separate workshops on Wednesday, February 27, from 1-4 pm.

Workshop #1: Public Affairs

Government relations and communications go hand-in-hand and when combined can have much more effective outcomes. As such, it is valuable to know at least a little bit about both. In this workshop, you’ll learn about the new Ontario government and take a close look at who makes up “Ford Nation.” You’ll also learn what to expect from the federal government heading into an election year. Armed with this new knowledge, you’ll zero in on millennials, who will soon be largest voting demographic, to determine their priorities and the best way to reach them. Finally, you’ll take a crash course in social media marketing, analyze different platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram, and determine the best way to leverage them to meet your business goals.

Workshop #2: Regulatory Affairs

In 2018, the federal government introduced Bill C-69: The Impact Assessment Act and Bill C-68: Amendments to the Fisheries Act. Both these pieces of legislation are expected to be passed in late 2018/ early 2019 with a targeted implementation date in spring 2019. The CNA2019 Regulatory Affairs Workshop will provide an opportunity for attendees to hear firsthand about the changes and the plans for implementation. We will also hear from the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission regulatory affairs team.

Attendance at the pre-conference workshops is limited to employees of CNA member companies and government officials only, who are fully registered for CNA2019. Hence, registrations for the workshops will not appear for other registration categories.

To register, you add it to your registration during the process/link from the website.

If you haven’t already registered for CNA2019, this is your opportunity to kill two birds with one stone! Visit https://cna.ca/cna2019/registration/ for pricing information and the registration form. Hurry, though, because late fees apply as of February 2!