Tag Archives: AECL

Guest Blog Nuclear Outreach Nuclear Pride

NA-YGN Chalk River Chapter Hosts International Networking Event

Below is a guest blog from our friends at NA-YGN’s Chalk River Chapter. They recently put on a very successful professional networking event that included delegates from Canadian and American chapters and offered the opportunity to learn more about the activities at Chalk River Labs and network with their peers. Please read on for a fulsome summary.

On November 8th and 9th the North American Young Generation in Nuclear (NA-YGN) Chalk River Chapter and Atomic Energy of Canada Limited (AECL) hosted 50 delegates from Canadian and American Chapters, originating from several different nuclear sites throughout North America for the inaugural professional networking event: Past, Present and Future in Nuclear.  Overall, the event was a great success and provided delegates with a significant opportunity to learn about the varied research projects currently ongoing at Chalk River and network with peers from other nuclear stations throughout the continent.

Attendees at NA-YGN’s professional networking event

The event kicked off Thursday evening with the Past section, where Joan Miller welcomed the delegates on behalf of AECL as NAYGN’s Executive Sponsor.  Morgan Brown, as the keynote speaker, then gave an entertaining and informative seminar on the history of nuclear science and technology in Canada and, specifically, Chalk River’s role in shaping and development of the Canadian nuclear industry.  The talk touched briefly on the role of the CANDU nuclear reactors in Ontario, Quebec and New Brunswick and their respective energy distribution grids, and proceeded to lead into the historical reasons why Canada went with a heavy water reactor design.

Delegates were treated to a tour of Chalk River Laboratories.

A tour of Chalk River Laboratories on Friday November 9th was the main focal point of the event – showcasing the Present State of the Nuclear Industry in Canada.  The delegates experienced several aspects of the Laboratories, showcasing the numerous different areas of current nuclear research and development with several industry and academic partners.  Some of the areas showcased included mechanical systems design, nuclear non-proliferation detection equipment, the effects of radiation on biological systems, and the chemical production of hydrogen.  The driving focus behind these tours was to increase the awareness of the important role AECL and Chalk River serves to the Canadian nuclear industry in our partners throughout the industry.

Friday evening served complete the event, with a panel discussion focused on the Future State of the Nuclear Industry in Canada.  Executives from AECL, the Canadian Nuclear Association, and the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, were in attendance to provide insight into the future role of nuclear technology in supplying baseload electricity, the future of small modular reactors in the Canadian North, as well as the focus of future public outreach activities and what could be done to increase positive public perception of nuclear technology.  The initial series of questions asked to panel members and the ensuing discussions were quite insightful, with an excellent opportunity provided for delegates to ask questions related to future of the industry following.

Executives from AECL, the Canadian Nuclear Association, and the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission participated in a panel on the future role of nuclear.

Overall, the inaugural NAYGN Past, Present and Future of Nuclear event was a great success …

Messages Nuclear Outreach

Past, Present, and Future in Nuclear

You’re invited to a professional development and networking event in Canada!

The Canadian NA-YGN is inviting any NA-YGN chapter member interested to a professional development seminar and tour of the Canadian Nuclear Laboratories at Atomic Energy of Canada Limited (AECL) in Chalk River, Ontario, Canada.

The event will be an excellent opportunity to network with industry peers from AECL and other chapters in Canada and the United States, as well as learn more about some of the exciting activities currently being undertaken at Canada’s premier nuclear science and technology laboratory. The event is free and supported by AECL and the Canadian Nuclear Association (CNA).

Help NA-YGN spread the word about this event and we hope to see you there!

Information

The NA-YGN Chalk River Chapter and AECL welcome you to register for a unique and exciting professional development event and tour of several facilities at the Chalk River Laboratories.

For over 50 years, AECL has been a key global player in the development of peaceful and innovative applications of nuclear technology, through its expertise in physics, metallurgy, chemistry, biology and engineering.

AECL performs a wide variety of activities at Chalk River, ranging from nuclear science research, design and engineering of specialized instrumentation, nuclear fuel fabrication, management of radioactive wastes, metallographic examinations of irradiated reactor components, support for the Canadian CANDU fleet of reactors and others internationally, decommissioning, and the production of medical isotopes used in thousands of diagnostic and therapeutic treatments annually across the globe.

For more information on CRL please visit www.aecl.ca

Agenda

Thursday November 8th

6:30 pm                      Registration and Snacks

7:00 pm                      Welcome and Introduction by Joan Miller (AECL VP & GM of Decommissioning & Waste Management)

Talk about the Past (History of AECL and Nuclear) (Dr. Jeremy Whitlock, Manager Non-proliferation)

 

Friday November 9th

8:30 am                       Bus transport from Deep River to AECL plus security check

9:00 am                       Introduction to Chalk River (Communications Department)

9:00 am-12:00 pm      Tour of Facilities

12:00pm                     Lunch

1:00 – 3:00pm          Tour of Facilities Continued

3:00 pm                      Bus transport to Deep River

5:00 pm                      Appetizers and Professional Networking

5:30 pm                      Plenary Discussion: Panel Discussion on the Future of Nuclear

Speakers:

  • Denise Carpenter (CNA President and CEO)
  • Dr. Bob Walker (AECL President and CEO)
  • Kevin Wallace (Candu Energy President and CEO)

7:00 pm                      Dinner and Social Networking

8:00 pm                      Closing Remarks

 

Registration

The event is FREE!!! If you are interested, please register at: http://www.aecl.ca/Contact/Visit_Registration.htm

For site access you must register on the website prior October 19th. Please choose NA-YGN Tour and put Natalie Sachar as the AECL contact.

You must bring your passport (or for Canadians: government photo ID) for access to the site.

Two nights accommodation is required. For reservations please contact either one of these hotels:

Hotels in Deep River:

Bears Den                              Shemron Suites

Phone: (613) 584-9795           Phone: (613) 584-1100

Should you have any questions or concerns, please contact Natalie at Canada@na-ygn.org

 

Nuclear Education Nuclear Outreach

Taking the Grocery Store Conversation Online

Last Wednesday, I was invited to speak to a group of Women-in-Nuclear (WiN) members from the Eastern-Ontario chapter at AECL in Chalk River. We got together to “talk nuclear,” but more specifically, how to talk nuclear on social media.

With the WiN Eastern Chapter Executives. L to R: Bev Kidd, Laura Allardyce (me), Solly Karivelil, and Anne Giardini

There is a lot of interest in social media among members of the nuclear industry, among people who are enthusiastic about the work they do, the technology they support, and the communities in which they live and do this impassioned work. There is a lot of pride in Canada’s nuclear industry – pride in our home grown, low-carbon CANDU technology, in the development of nuclear medicine technologies for diagnostic and therapeutic cancer treatments, and in how safe our operations are every day and for the last 50+ years. We want to share our stories with the rest of Canada and the world.

Social media is people having conversations online. It’s the same as meeting your neighbor in the grocery store and chatting about your day. The only difference is, it’s a bigger grocery store and you’re bumping into more neighbors. The stories you tell online are the same ones you would tell your neighbors.

We shouldn’t be afraid to show our pride online, to share interesting information on Facebook, to tweet a link to a good news story on Twitter, or to tell our own story on a blog.

As the keeper of the community (I maintain the TalkNUclear channels on Facebook, Twitter, this blog, etc), I have a lot of discussions about using social media strategically. I think this can sometimes get us confused about what the purpose of social media is, which is this: at the end of the day, social media is about relationships, not transactions. We are not talking to Canadians to get them to buy more nuclear, we’re not selling a product. What we are doing is talking to Canadians about the mutually beneficial relationship we’re engaged in. Our industry produces low-carbon energy, medical technologies, food and materials safety advancements – all of these things that benefits Canadians every day. Our social media strategy is just to talk to Canadians about these incredible benefits, just like we all do when we run into our neighbors at the grocery store.

A good place to start is with us. There are so many ways to “Talk Nuclear”

CNA Responds Nuclear Energy Nuclear News

Gentilly-2 Movie Makes Fiction Out of Fact

It was reported last week that the recently elected Parti Quebecois intends to shut down Quebec’s reactor, Gentilly-2. Nothing is official until the new government makes it so, but comments from PQ spokesperson, Éric Gamache, have caught some attention.

This has always been the PQ party’s position on Gentilly-2 (G2), so why the stir now?

Timing is everything. A movie called “Gentilly Or Not To Be,” based on a report by the Quebec government’s Agence de la santé et des services sociaux de la Mauricie et du Centre-du-Québec aired last night on Télé-Québec.

The G2 movie uses this report as the basis for their claim that ‘the rate of childhood cancers in the area around the plant is 27% higher than in the rest of Québec.’

To be clear, this is the film maker’s interpretation of the data.

The director of the public health agency that authored the report, physician Gilles W. Grenier, clearly acknowledges the limitations of the municipal data, the very small numbers involved, random variables, the difficulty in interpreting the statistics to determine significance, the need for more detailed study and so on — so the 27% claim is simply not credible.

In fact, according to the CNSC, the Regional Public Health Directorate confirms cancer rates are normal around Gentilly-2. The fluctuations recorded by the documentary filmmakers for the years 2000–2004 are normal, temporary and related to cases located in a relatively remote area from the plant. In fact, such fluctuations are regularly observed in the population and should not be interpreted blindly and recklessly.

To quote Dr. Grenier, when he spoke with the CBC on September 11,

“We’ve been monitoring cancer rates and birth-defect rates for 20 years in a 20-kilometre radius around the reactor, and in all that period, in the zone from five to 10 kilometres out, we’ve never seen a rise in cancer cases against the Quebec average.”

The film also references a German study that alleges increased leukemia risk for people living near nuclear power stations. This is false. The authors of the study and the German Commission on Radiological Protection have determined that the presence of clusters (or concentrations) of leukemia cases near some German nuclear power plants had nothing to do with the radioactive releases. In fact, some years clusters are observed in different regions of Germany whether they have nuclear power plants or not.

Also worth noting, recent British and French studies used the same methodology as the German childhood leukemia study and did not find any increase in risk in their populations.

To be or not to be

The film’s title is a clever play on the opening lines of Hamlet’s soliloquy and clearly signals the intention of the movie, which is to ask the question: do we need nuclear energy?

…Whether ’tis Nobler in the mind to suffer
The Slings and Arrows of outrageous Fortune,
Or to take Arms against a Sea of troubles…

But who is Hamlet in this scenario, really? What outrageous fortune is it to have a reliable, clean energy source like nuclear? In 2012, nuclear power from G2 helped avoid almost 3.5 million tonnes CO2 emissions in Quebec. The province is fortunate to have immense hydro power but that’s not the case for all provinces or countries.

This is another issue the film failed to address. Nuclear power is a vital part of Canada’s clean energy mix. It accounts for 15% of all electricity generated across the country and almost 60% in Ontario alone. Nuclear is a strong reliable source of base load power that is enabling Ontario to quit coal by 2014 and get renewable sources like wind and solar on the grid. Nuclear power generation can enable Canada to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by reducing dependence on burning fossil fuels, like coal, oil and gas. An energy mix that includes nuclear means a cleaner, greener future.

The film makers feel they are taking arms against a sea of trouble. A sea filled with supposed increased childhood cancer rates and misunderstandings about the safety of this energy source.

People who work at nuclear facilities live near them too. They are knowledgeable about the technology and the science. They understand how safe it is, how responsibly power generation by-products and used-fuel are handled.

They are 800 strong at G2. Ask yourself, would 800 people collectively decide to put their health and their families’ health in harm’s way if there was indeed such a huge risk, as the film makers say?

We don’t think so either.

 

Additional Reading

The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission sent a letter from President Dr. Michael Binder to the editor of Le Nouvelliste, a QC paper that has been covering the issue recently. They completely debunk the claims in the film. If you’re still worried, we recommend you read the letter and sleep better tonight.

More from the CNSC on this issue:  Similar to the letter above but with more myth busting facts!

Radiation and health is a complicated issue for us regular folks. AECL, one of the best sources for accurate information about nuclear, has compiled this information and list of resources.

Nuclear Outreach Nuclear Pride

AECL Hosts Open House, Attacts 2,300 Visitors

On August 11, AECL Chalk River held its first open house in over a decade. Over 2300 people attended to check out a number of displays and demonstrations, a non-technical seminar series, as well as guided and unguided walking tours of the facilities and programs on site. The open house was heralded as a huge success; it will surely not be another decade until the next one.

Of the reason for the Open House and the challenges of opening the unique facility to the public, AECL President and CEO, Dr. Bob Walker, said

“We’ve had a strong and deep history in nuclear technology in this country and this has been the birthplace. It continues. That was the past and we’re building into the future … With the world post Sept. 11 we had to take a different security position. We are comfortable with how to manage that security so it was time we told the story again.”

Read about the AECL Open House in Pembroke’s Daily Observer

http://www.thedailyobserver.ca/2012/08/12/aecl-marks-60-years

At the Open House info fair. Matt Hickman, CNA Regulatory Affairs Officer, with Cheryl Gallant, MP Renfrew-Nipissing-Pembroke.

 

Nuclear News Nuclear Pride Nuclear Safety

FireFit and TopCop are Coming to Chalk River!

This July 7 and 8, FireFit and TopCop are coming to Chalk River! AECL is hosting this competitive event for the first time in the area, at the Laurentian Hills Fire Department – Chalk River Branch. The event is free and open to the public and media.

FireFit and TopCop Competition in Chalk River

What is FireFit and TopCop?

FireFit and TopCop are competitions that simulate the fire fighting and security tasks most often performed in emergency situations. The purpose of the FireFit and TopCop events is to showcase the demands of fire fighting and of being a security/ law enforcement professional. In both competitions, participants are challenged to race through designated courses and perform emergency tasks, all while dressed in the full equipment of a typical fire fighter or police officer at the scene of an emergency.

“By hosting this event in Chalk River, AECL can display the exemplary capabilities of the emergency personnel we have on site. It also allows us a great opportunity to work with our community partners. These competitions give the public some insight into the rigorous training and state of readiness that these employees maintain,” said Brian Mumford, Director of Emergency and Protective Services at AECL.

Activities at Firefit/TopCop Weekend

  • Firefit Race – Free (10:30 a.m. Saturday)
  • TopCop Race – Free (10:30 a.m. Sunday)
  • Petting Zoo – Free
  • BBQ – $
  • Pig Roast Dinner – $10 (6:30 p.m. Saturday)

AECL has worked alongside local organizations and community members to help pull this event together, including the Town of Laurentian Hills, CFB Petawawa and a number of other sponsors.

For more information about Firefit and TopCop please visit www.firefit.com or www.beatopcop.com.  A portion of the proceeds from this event will be donated to the Heart & Stroke Foundation.

2012 is a milestone year for AECL as it also celebrates 60 years as Canada’s premier nuclear science and technology organization. For more information about AECL, please visit www.aecl.ca.