Tag Archives: Canadian Nuclear Society

Nuclear Education Nuclear Outreach Nuclear Pride

Cottrill Wins Education and Communication Award (Part 2)

Welcome to Part 2 of our chat with CNS/CNA Education and Communication Award WiNner, Women-in-Nuclear Canada (WiN) Executive Director, Cheryl Cottrill. Cheryl is a passionate advocate for Canada’s nuclear industry and all of the many benefits our community brings to Canada and the world – such as low-carbon stable baseload electricity generation, important R&D for health and safety in many sectors like the auto, food, and health industries, and life-saving nuclear medical technologies.

Read part one about Cheryl’s Award and advocacy here.

[TalkNUclear:] What is next for you as Executive Director of WiN?

[Cheryl:] Our annual conference October 24-26 is my main focus at the moment. WiN-Bruce is hosting this year. The conference will focus on professional development, something women don’t generally take the time to work on as much as they probably should. By the time delegates leave the conference they will have the foundation of a career plan to further develop with the knowledge they have garnered throughout the conference. You can find more information about the conference at www.wincanada.org.

We have our second GIRLS (Girls in Real Life Science) Science Camp next week and we are partnering with the PWU (Power Workers Union) and NAYGN (North American Young Generation Nuclear) in two Skills Work! Summer Camps for Grades 7 & 8 in August.

Cheryl Cottrill (C) of Women in Nuclear (WiN) Bruce, helps Sarita Ahmed (L), 11, of Port Elgin, and Amanda Stuart, 10, of Kincardine in designing the perfect hot chocolate cup at the Girls Engineering Math Science (GEMS) Camp. Photo credit: The Saugeen Times

[TalkNUclear:] What can the industry do better to promote an appreciation of the benefits of nuclear technology?

[Cheryl:] We need to do a better job bragging about our accomplishments. We provide clean, reliable, baseload power to Canada, which powers our hospitals, schools, nursing homes, businesses and our homes. Our industry is also responsible for the production of isotopes and Cobalt 60, which are used in medical applications throughout the world to save many lives each day. This is all a very good news story that we need to shout from the rooftops. We have some of the brightest minds in Canada working in our industry and we need to do a better job of recognizing these people and celebrate successes throughout the industry.

[TalkNUclear:] On the topic of “advancing female interest in careers in the fields of science and technology,” do you have an opinion about the recent campaign by the European Commission called “Science, it’s a girl thing”?

[Cheryl:] First off, I’m sure their hearts were in the right place trying to do a video campaign that would appeal to 13-17 year old girls, but I believe that challenging stereotypes by using stereotypes, is misguided and not at all effective.

If I were a woman working in a science career I believe I’d be completely offended by the fluff and cuteness of this video. I doubt any female scientist goes to work in a mini-skirt and 3” heels.

Science is indeed a girl thing, but we need to promote this by providing girls with role models of women who have chosen STEM careers and are making positive contributions to society. That is what girls really want from careers today. They want a career where they can make the world a better place and where better to do that than through science. Providing girls with female role models, showing them how science connects to their world in a fun hands-on approach will help foster a life-long love of science.

Thanks, Cheryl. We couldn’t agree more. Congratulations again!

If you have a good story to share with the TalkNUclear.ca readers, please email TalkNUclear@cna.ca. We love featuring the excellent work and passion of our nuclear family.

Nuclear Education Nuclear Outreach Nuclear Pride

Cottrill Wins Education and Communication Award

Cheryl Cottrill, the national Executive Director of Women in Nuclear (WiN), was recently presented the CNS/CNA Education and Communication Award for her role in educating women and the public in general about the benefits of nuclear energy, while advancing female interest in careers in the fields of science and technology.

Cheryl is also active in the GIRLS Science Club and Camps, held at the Bruce Power Visitors Centre during school breaks. On top of that, she is also a key player in the partnership between Skills-Canada Ontario and WiN that promotes the advancement of women in skilled trades and technology careers.

We caught up with Cheryl recently to congratulate her on her recent accolades for her outreach and education efforts, and find out what is next for this nuclear energy and technology advocate.

Cheryl Cottrill, Executive Director of Women in Nuclear (WiN), with her CNS/CNA Award. Photo courtesy of Bruce Power.

[TalkNUclear:] Congratulations, Cheryl. It’s great to see you recognized by the industry for your outreach work. Was the award a surprise?

[Cheryl:] It certainly was. Unbeknownst to me, my board nominated me for the award. When I received the email announcing that I was receiving the award I had to read it four times before it sunk in.

[TalkNUclear:] Do you feel this recognition is important in highlighting the impact of women in skills and technology trades, such as those in the nuclear industry?

[Cheryl:] Women make up almost 50% of today’s workforce, are earning more than 50% of university degrees, but only make up approximately 20% of the nuclear industry. Most of those careers are in administrative and clerical functions. When you start talking about skilled trades, technologies and leadership positions the numbers quickly fall to single digits.  Women are making tremendous contributions to the industry, but it can be difficult to be recognized and heard in a very male-dominated industry. This recognition helps bring attention to the valuable contribution women are making to the industry and why the work that WiNners are doing to encourage more girls into these STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) and skilled trade careers is so important to the industry’s future.

[TalkNUclear:] Who would you like to see win the award next year?

[Cheryl:] I’d love to see a new innovative education or communication program that would utilize new media and really drive the message of the positive benefits of our industry. I believe our industry should do a much better job talking about the positive contribution we make to society. It would be great to see someone who accomplishes that goal win the award next year.

Come back tomorrow for Part 2 of our chat with Cheryl. She’ll let us know what is coming up at WiN and share her thoughts on the European Commission’s recent efforts to attract girls to STEM careers.

Guest Blog Nuclear Outreach

Setting Up our Industry for Future Generations

Below is a guest blog from Kale Stallert, an alumnus from the CNA’s student participation program – a program that sponsors 100 nuclear engineering and science students from across the country to come to Ottawa for the Annual Canadian Nuclear Association Conference and Tradeshow. Last month, Kale participated in the 36th CNS/CNA Student Conference, part of the CNS Conference in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, and shares his thoughts and observations from the student perspective on knowledge transfer and industry renewal.

The Transfer of Knowledge

This year, we celebrate the 50th year of nuclear generated electricity in Canada.  It’s a well-known fact that the nuclear power industry is aging worldwide. Facilities across the globe are reaching their originally scheduled end of life and many are beginning refurbishment projects to continue to generate electricity into the future.

It is not only the technology and infrastructure that is aging, but a large percentage of the nuclear industry workforce as well. As Baby Boomers begin to retire at a rapid rate, the industry must replace their knowledge and experience. The industry has recognized that the failure to transfer knowledge to the next generation is an issue that must be addressed.

The International Atomic Energy Agency’s TECDOC 1399 is devoted entirely to addressing the difficulties of an aging workforce and the transfer of knowledge to the next generation. Yet, such an emphasis is placed on imparting knowledge to the next generation that sometimes the innovative new knowledge that the next generation brings to the table is overlooked. People tend to forget the benefit of bringing fresh eyes to old problems.

The 36th Annual CNS-CNA Student Conference provided a refreshing role reversal. University students and recent graduates from across the country were able to showcase their work to Canada’s nuclear industry in a nurturing and supportive atmosphere. Student poster topics ranged from the development of heat transfer correlations for fourth generation supercritical water reactors, to an investigation of radioactive balloons.

It was a reciprocal knowledge transfer, as attendees had the opportunity to learn something new and relevant from each student presenter and students were able to network and receive valuable input on their projects. Every person in attendance left knowing something they did not know when they arrived.

The transfer of knowledge should not be seen as a one-way street but instead as a multi-lane highway where experience and knowledge can flow freely in both directions. The 36th Annual CNS-CNA Student Conference was an excellent way to begin widening the road.

 

Kale Stallaert recently graduated with highest distinction from Canada’s only undergraduate Nuclear Engineering Program at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology. He interned with the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission and completed his undergraduate thesis alongside Ontario Power Generation – Nuclear. Kale served a term as the Branch Chair of the Canadian Nuclear Society’s UOIT Branch and remains an active member.

Nuclear Education Nuclear Energy Nuclear Outreach

Nuclear 101

Today and tomorrow, TalkNUclear is attending the Canadian Nuclear Society’s (CNS) brand new Nuclear 101 course. It’s described as “a background outreach course for non-technical people working in the industry” but it’s also good for anyone interested in obtaining an understanding of nuclear science, issues, opportunities, challenges, risks, and benefits.

The two-day course includes three modules: the nuclear fuel cycle, a historical review, and understanding the effects of radiation and the associated risks.

Nuclear Fuel Cycle

Basic introduction to nuclear theory and how nuclear power stations work.  An overview of the nuclear fuel cycle (exploration, mining, processing enrichment and nuclear power generation), nuclear waste storage and reprocessing.

Historical Review

History of nuclear power and a review of the different generations of nuclear reactors, including current developments.  Review of nuclear accidents.  The energy challenge and nuclear power’s role in supplying power worldwide.

Radiation and Risk

Ionizing radiation and its effect on the environment and the human body.  Overview of safety, particularly in the context of nuclear accidents.  Risk and the public perception of nuclear power.

Sounds like a good course, doesn’t it? What do you think? Would you be interested in attending Nuclear 101 to learn the fundamentals about how our industry and the technology works, and about its many contributions to society, and how about its exciting history? Let us know in the comments.