Tag Archives: Chalk River

CNA2015

Nuclear Fun Fact: Bert Brockhouse

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Uncategorized

NRU is the Key to Canadian Nuclear Science and Innovation

The NRU reactor
The National Research Universal (NRU) reactor at Chalk River.

An advanced engineering and manufacturing economy – particularly one that values national autonomy and security – derives good value from having a nuclear research capability. The core of such a capability is a research reactor.

Canada has this capacity in the National Research Universal reactor (NRU), located in Chalk River, Ontario and operated by Canadian Nuclear Laboratories, formerly AECL. But it will lose this capacity when the reactor shuts down as planned by March 31, 2018.

The NRU, a high-capability research reactor, is the core in a Canada-wide nuclear research and development infrastructure. It underpins CANDU reactor technology used in nuclear power plants, and supports many life-enhancing applications in as medicine, crop science, and food safety.

The NRU is a strategic training infrastructure. It develops the human capital Canada needs to maintain its international credibility on nuclear energy, non-proliferation, safety and security policies. This expertise includes having the means to regulate nuclear activities and provide for the safety and security of our citizens.

Innovation involving the NRU is already occurring in a number of key areas, such as advanced reactor fuels – a key selling point for CANDU reactors in countries such as the UK and China; and improved safety margins – which is a national security imperative for Canada both at home and abroad.

Innovation is greatly stimulated where there are crucibles or clusters of research and development, even if small, in a specific geographical area. In the nuclear field there are key R&D clusters around Chalk River Laboratories, the Sylvia Fedoruk Centre for Nuclear Innovation in Saskatoon, and southern Ontario.

Together these, plus research facilities at more than a dozen universities, and major scientific facilities such as British Columbia’s TRIUMF and Saskatchewan’s Canadian Light Source (CLS), make up Canada’s “nuclear eco-system”. In southern Ontario, the cluster includes engineering, manufacturing and construction companies that build and maintain the infrastructure for nuclear power generation as well as nuclear R&D.

But the NRU also has a role, practically as well as symbolically, for the success of Canada’s foreign policy, national security, and global markets action plan.

Canada owns the CANDU reactor technology used by seven countries. We have recognized expertise in all areas of the nuclear fuel cycle, from the mining and milling of uranium to the fabrication of advanced fuels to decommissioning and waste management. We bring high safety and security norms to the world. We have a proliferation-resistant reactor design based on natural uranium, not enriched fuel.

The NRU supports operating power reactors in Canada, particularly in life extension. It provides the special conditions that allow testing, experimentation and problem-solving, essential in dealing with aging reactor components. High radioactive environments are necessary to replicate reactor conditions. The NRU provides these, but not just for Canadian-based CANDU reactors.

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CNA Visits the Canada Science and Technology Museum

By Erin Polka
Communications Officer
Canadian Nuclear Association

On January 28, 2015, CNA staff had the opportunity to view the nuclear material currently in storage at the Canada Science and Technology Museum.

Like any museum, only a small percentage of their collection is on display at any given time. So we were very pleased when they invited us to take in the entire collection.

Below are some of the museum’s nuclear-related artifacts, which few people have ever seen.

Original electronic tower from the ZEEP nuclear reactor at Chalk River, c. 1945.
Original electronic tower from the ZEEP nuclear reactor at Chalk River, c. 1945.
The triple axis spectrometer (c. 1956) designed and used by Nobel Prize Winner, Betrum Brockhouse.
Triple axis spectrometer (c. 1956) designed and used by Nobel Prize winner, Bertram Brockhouse.
1920s Dental X-ray machine.
1920s dental x-ray machine.
1950s X-ray shoe fitter.
1950s x-ray shoe fitter.
(Front)  ZEEP fuel rod prototype designed by George Klein c. 1945 (Back) The 100,00th CANDU Fuel Bundle presented to Prime Minister Trudeau in 1975.
(Front) ZEEP fuel rod prototype designed by George Klein c. 1945. (Back) The 100,000th CANDU fuel bundle presented to Prime Minister Trudeau in 1975.
The "Advanced CANDU Reactor (ACR) Model" on loan to CSTMC from A‎ECL at Chalk River.
The “Advanced CANDU Reactor (ACR) model” on loan from CNL at Chalk River.
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 …

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”

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.