Category Archives: Guest Blog

Guest Blog

WiN-Canada Gears Up for 10th Annual Conference

By Cheryl Cottrill
Executive Director
WiN Canada

WiN-Canada’s 10th Annual Conference is being held in Pembroke, Ontario, September 29 to October 1. Our theme, “Seize the Future – Innovation in the Nuclear Industry,” will help delegates align with the current trends in nuclear and related industries and learn how to flourish in a change environment, to better position themselves for future success.

The conference will provide practical knowledge on technical and non-technical topics from a line up of inspirational speakers. Registration, open to men and women, is up and running. The link to the conference webpage is:

Providing an opportunity for our members to speak at the conference, we will be continuing our tradition of the mini-session. The call for papers is available on the conference webpage.

Joan Vogelesang, known as Toon Boom’s globetrotter CEO, will provide our keynote address. Joan will speak about her own success story, which includes winning Academy Awards for Engineering excellence, and how to innovate to stay ahead of the curve.

Networking opportunities include a Golf Fore the Cure 9-hole tournament and two receptions. In addition to the plenary session, delegates will have the opportunity to choose one of five technical tours.

Looking forward to seeing you in Pembroke, September 29-October 1!

Guest Blog Nuclear Education

Everything You Wanted to Know about Nuclear Technology and Were Afraid They’d Ask

By Alex Wolf
Manager, Research and Education
Canadian Nuclear Association

Ever wanted to brush up on your understanding of nuclear technology? Well, if you’re interested in being in the Hamilton area next week, the Canadian Nuclear Society is putting on their Nuclear 101 course. It’s a two-day course being held on May 13-14 at McMaster University.

This is an excellent course for anyone to take – regardless of level of technical background. I’m a radiobiologist by trade, so certain things I obviously already knew, but I learned a lot about the history of nuclear in Canada and the engineering considerations involved in the fuel cycle. And it’s all delivered at a level for the layperson to understand.

I had a great time at this course, and it delivered exceptional value for the money and time spent. If you’re not able to make it to next week’s session, I highly recommend you stay posted on future events. A little knowledge goes a long way.

For more information, visit

Guest Blog Nuclear Medicine

The Medical Isotopes Supply Chain

Today’s post comes from guest contributor at Nordion.

Nuclear medicine is one of the most powerful analytical tools available to physicians and patients today because of its ability to provide dynamic views of organ structure and function. Medical isotopes are used to diagnose potentially life-threatening conditions such as heart disease and to treat serious diseases such as cancer.

About one million nuclear medicine procedures are performed in Canada annually. In the U.S., there are some 18 million nuclear medicine procedures per year among 311 million people, and in Europe about 10 million among 500 million people. Canada has been one of the global leaders in the supply of medical isotopes to the world’s medical community. Tc-99m is used in about 80% of all diagnostic nuclear imaging procedures.

Medical isotopes have a short shelf life and therefore cannot be inventoried. Before they can be used in patient procedures, the materials used in nuclear medicine are developed through a multi-step supply chain process.

This graphic summarizes the process.


Watch this video to understand how medical isotopes make their complex (but necessarily quick) journey, from reactor to patient:


Guest Blog

Toronto Electric Transit: Clean, Affordable, and Nuclear Powered

Today’s post comes from guest contributor Steve Aplin. Steve works at the HDP Group and authors the great blog, Canadian Energy Issues.

Toronto is a beautiful, modern, clean, world-class city which is—sometimes unfairly—nicknamed The Big Smoke. The nickname comes from the smog that sometimes hovers over the city on hot summer days. Smog is caused in part by fossil fuel combustion, and in Toronto that means cars. Therefore the city’s biggest and most effective weapon against smog is its electric-powered subways and streetcars.

Subways and streetcars run on steel rails, and rail transportation is far more efficient, in terms of fuel used per kilometer traveled, than road transportation. And electric-powered rail is far more efficient than fossil-powered. If the electricity comes from mostly zero-carbon sources, as it does in Ontario, then electric rail transit is, on a passenger-by-passenger basis, twenty to eighty times as clean as car transportation.

In 2010, the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) used 4.4 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity to move millions of passengers on electric subways and streetcars. Most of those 4.4 billion kWh came from Ontario’s three nuclear power plants. Because most of that electricity came from nuclear plants, each individual subway or streetcar rider’s carbon footprint was tiny: nuclear emits no smog or greenhouse gas pollution.

And because Toronto’s subways and streetcars are mostly nuclear powered, TTC fares were low—nuclear is among the least expensive types of electricity in Ontario.

Nuclear energy is affordable because it is also among the most efficient and reliable ways we know to make electricity.

So I congratulate all Toronto subway and streetcar riders: every day you prove that modern transportation is affordable, reliable, and clean.

Guest Blog

Getting Girls Energized about Science and Engineering

By Cheryl Cottrill
Executive Director

WiN-Canada (Women in Nuclear) hosted Camp GEMS (Girls in Engineering Math and Science) for two full day March Break camps last week at the Bruce Power Visitors’ Centre.  The sessions are meant to provide a fun, hands-on experience, using science, math and engineering principles, with a female mentor who has been successful in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) careers.  It’s done to awaken a life-long passion for science and ignite scientific curiosity, so campers will ask intelligent questions around issues like climate change and energy options, and possibly go on to study STEM subjects post-secondary.  In Canada, only an estimated 21% of students enrolled in applied science and engineering are women.

Day one’s theme, All in a Bug’s Life, centered on insects and taught the 25 girls attending about different types and characteristics of insects. They learned about the two types of metamorphosis, a process of dramatic change in a body form during a lifespan, which can be complete or incomplete.  Day two’s theme, Enzymes – Step on it! took the girls through two experiments: Jello Meets Pineapple, to see how the pineapple, acting as an enzyme on the jello substrate, changed the ability of the jello to set and an experiment using controlled quantities of raw potatoes immersed in hydrogen peroxide to initiate a chemical reaction.

These events are hosted by Women in Nuclear and have become well known and supported in the community. This energizing and welcomed approach to engaging young women into science, technology, engineering and math is creating a pathway for their future endeavours, and should help to bring more young Canadians into the excellent careers offered by our nuclear industries.

Guest Blog

2012 was Very Good to WiN…

By Cheryll Cottrill
Executive Director

To wrap up the year, I wanted to take a few minutes to reflect on the wonderful accomplishments within the WiN organization in 2012:

  • WiN-Canada membership continues to grow with a 20% increase over last year, largely due to the new chapter inSaskatchewan.
  • We completed the incorporation of WiN, opened a new bank account and took over our own banking responsibilities.
  • We secured continued support for the full time Executive Director position from OPG and Bruce Power.
  • We had diverse attendance from companies in the industry at our annual conference. We enjoyed record sponsorship from the industry, which helped us realize a profit of over $50,000.00, to be used for 2013 programming.
  • We produced a new WiN promotional video showcasing members talking about their personal experiences within WiN.
  • We purchased science curriculum kits at the chapter level to be distributed to kindergarten and daycare classrooms that offer a very hands-on experience connecting science to everyday life.
  • An article about WiN’s position paper, Women in the Skilled Trades and Technology – Myths and Realties was featured in the Media Planet insertion for International Women’s Day in the Toronto Star.
  • We had a large presence at the CNA conference in Ottawa. We staffed a WiN booth and Susan Brissette, WiN-Canada’s Past President spoke on a plenary panel on Innovative Methods of Communicating Science and Colleen Sidford, WiN-Canada’s President, spoke on a panel on Career Development.
  • We welcomed the WiN-Saskatchewan chapter into the WiN-Canada family and signed a co-operation agreement with Saskatchewan Women in Mining (SWIM) to create a joint chapter. A very successful launch with over 100 attendees took place at the CNS conference in June.
  • WiN also had a great presence at the CNS conference inSaskatchewan. Thanks to the board members who put in the nomination, I was awarded the CNA/CNS Education and Communication award for my work with WiN-Canada. WiN also presented at the CNS Annual meeting and at the NAYGN seminar on our activities and staffed a booth at the conference.
  • We participated in 10 Skills Canada dinners acrossCanada, reaching over 1,160 elementary and secondary school female students.
  • We facilitated two successful full week summer GIRLS Science Camps, a 2-day March break camp and 6 club sessions.Other chapters are doing outreach in schools, attending community events i.e., Science Olympics, GIRLS Inc., Go ENG Girl. As result of all our programs we reached over 270 girls grades 4-7.
  • We helped organize two successful Skills Work! Summer Day Camps for boys and girls showcasing different trades and technologies used in the nuclear industry.
  • We provided a monetary award to the female student with the highest overall mark at the Ontario Technological Skills Competition.
  • We sat on the Communication Working Committee, the Social Media Working Committee at the CNA and participated in the CEO Leadership Forum for the nuclear industry.
  • We participated in a very successful Parliament Hill Day with over 36 participants attending meetings with 25 senators, MPs and parliamentary staff.
  • We contributed WiN-Canada stories to all four issues of WiNFO put out by our global organization.       
  • We had a number of great outreach opportunities by the board this year with OSPE; Saugeen District Secondary School; the CNA Board, Communications Committee and Social Media Committee; CEO Leadership Forum; CNS Nuclear 101 and annual meeting; NAYGN; 7th Annual Int’l Youth Nuclear Congress; AECL Open House; Go ENG Girl; and CNI-LP.
  • Our website drew 25,690 visitors from 161 countries. The blog was read over 14,000 times over the past year and the women on WiN feature drew over 30,000 page views.
  • We held a number of local chapter meetings covering excellent topics with great speakers reaching over 790 members.

WiN has been very busy and successful 2012 and 2013 proves to be just as active. All this work is the result of our wonderful members who work tirelessly to support the industry’s success. I hope you all come back refreshed and ready to take an active role in all WiN’s activities in 2013. 

As this is my final blog for 2012, I would like to take this opportunity to wish you all the happiest of holidays. Enjoy your time with family and friends. It has been a great year for Women in Nuclear (WiN) and we look forward to bigger and better things in 2013.   
WiNfluence will be back in January 2013.