David Foot Makes Demographics Come Alive at CNA2014

As an outspoken and controversial demographics expert, Professor David Foot can bring to life demographic statistics and make the aging of society relevant to any group. He contends that demographics explains two-thirds of everything. With this understanding, a business, an individual or a government has a strong foundation upon which to build a vision for the future.

His presentation at CNA2014 demonstrated how demographic and economic survey data can be combined to assess strategic considerations in Canada’s nuclear industry, such as workforce planning, demand forecasting, and the global market potential for Canada’s products and expertise. With an aging population in the developed world and the enhanced global mobility of modern-day professionals, exceptional attention to demographic trends may provide valuable insights.


Bruce Power CEO Puts People First at CNA2014

Canada’s nuclear industry is over 30,000-strong. Keeping these workers engaged, excited, and committed doesn’t just happen by accident. Bruce Power, home to over 4,000 of these highly-skilled men and women, knows that, and has had its success recognized with accolades such as being named Canada’s 14th Most Attractive Employer in 2013.

During his presentation at CNA2014, Mr. Hawthorne, Bruce Power’s President and CEO, shared with our audience some of these success stories, and highlighted the integral connection between focusing on people and preparing a company and industry for decades of future success.

Nuclear Energy Nuclear Policy Nuclear Safety

CNA and Members Among World Leaders at 2014 Nuclear Industry Summit

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.

Nuclear Safety

Radioactive Packaging Put to the Test, Passes with Flying Colours

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.


Durham MP Erin O’Toole Congratulates CNA and Canadian Nuclear Industry in House of Commons

In the House of Commons Friday, Conservative MP Erin O’Toole (Durham) congratulated the CNA on its recent successful 2014 conference and trade show and spoke about Canada’s nuclear industry.

“Canada has long been in a leader in nuclear science and industry,” he said. “Our technology and expertise has been sought after around the world.”

Stay tuned to this blog for videos of speakers and panel discussions from CNA2014.


What’s Next on Climate Change? Let’s Hope it’s a “Poland Moment”

By John Stewart
Director, Policy and Research
Canadian Nuclear Association

Nothing unites human beings as quickly as a common threat. But even a common threat can take a long time to do the job.

German invasions took down Austria, Czechoslovakia, Poland, Denmark and Norway before “appeasement” was fully discredited.  Britain’s comfortable classes virtually had to see German guns across the water before they heeded Winston Churchill’s repeated calls to arms. In the end, the Allies stopped Adolf Hitler’s march – just barely.

The Second World War was the unifying struggle of the western democracies. But we came late and slow to the fight.

German soldiers remove Polish government insignia, 1939

German soldiers remove Polish government insignia, 1939. Source: German federal archive

Humans are brought together by shared experiences. In the century or two since human society has been an interconnected whole, no single and simultaneous global struggle has cemented our shared humanity. Today, we are united more by shallow popular entertainments, consumer goods, and designer brands than by values.

The last decade’s “global war on terror” came close to being such a common struggle, with its universal moral element. Popular revulsion of terrorist attacks reinforced the human preference for tolerance, social integration, and peace everywhere. But the legitimacy of that struggle got dissipated in places like Iraq and Guantanamo.  Democratic leadership did not rise to that occasion as Winston Churchill, Franklin Roosevelt and Harry Truman had to the totalitarian threat.

What challenges lie on this century’s horizon that might similarly threaten people around the world – threaten us enough to make us articulate, and stand up to defend, common values with the kind of selflessness and integrity they deserve?

Today the clear candidate is the creeping environmental disaster that comes from rising atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases. This is mainly due to our sustained burning of natural gas, oil, and coal.

While the immediacy of this threat can still be debated, we are now as certain as we can be that it will raise sea levels and storm severity. This will inundate coastlines, low islands, and river deltas where our fellow humans live in large numbers. It will also increase drought, desertification, and erosion, while wreaking havoc with ecosystems and crops, and reducing the availability of fresh water. And this will happen in our and our children’s lifetimes.

Global average sea level change

Global average sea level change. Source: IPCC, Climate Change 2013: The Physical Science Basis

With atmospheric carbon concentrations now around 400 parts per million, this has already well begun. If this were fascism’s march across Europe, we would be in about March of 1939. That is, we might be somewhere just after Franco’s triumph in Spain, but just before Hitler’s sweep into Denmark and Norway.

If so, then the next step, metaphorically, would be the fall of Poland: an impossible-to-ignore moment that tumbles us from mere nagging unease into real, constant fear.

Our response today is still the familiar mix of denial, helplessness, and isolationism. “It might not be that bad.” “It’s beyond anything we can do.” “We’ll take care of ourselves somehow.” While a few of us may get rid of our cars, put solar panels on our roofs, and fly less, this is like watching adventurous individuals go off to fight fascism with the International Brigades in Spain in 1937. While theirs are commendable sacrifices, they are not widely enough shared, and thus will not change the outcome. A fall-of-Poland moment would make this all too clear.

British troops retreating from Dunkirk, France, 1940.

British troops retreating from Dunkirk, France, 1940. Source: U.S. War Department

President Obama’s climate plan, on which this writer has already commented, is much better than the defeatism that Churchill despised. But it is much less than a Churchillian call to make the sacrifices needed to fight the war to victory. Even the un-ignorable fall-of-Poland moment (indeed, even a fall-of France moment – a disaster that brings the wolves to our very doors) will draw further denial, helplessness, and isolationism.