Tag Archives: Climate Change

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Here’s to your Health, Canada!

Today is Canada Health Day as well as the first anniversary of the TalkNUclear.ca blog!

We launched one year ago today because we felt it fitting to mark the important contributions nuclear technology has made to health in Canada and around the world.

Our nuclear medicine ad in the Canadian Cancer Society’s feature in the Toronto Star, March 29.

It isn’t hard to understand the impact of medical isotopes. Nowhere is nuclear technology more widely accepted than in the medical field.  Canada supplies a significant amount of the world’s medical isotopes for nuclear medicine, which are used every day in thousands of procedures here at home and around the world.

Last month, in honour of Daffodil Month, the CNA teamed up with the Canadian Cancer Society to promote the excellent work they do to support Canadians living with cancer. Today, we’re happy to share the good news released in the Cancer Society report on cancer statistics in Canada.  The report found that the cancer death rate in Canada is going down. Nearly 100,000 lives have been saved over the last 20 years. This is attributed in part to education on preventative lifestyle measures like not smoking, exercising, maintaining a healthy diet, and avoiding over-exposure to the sun. Improvements in cancer screening and treatments have made a difference as well, thanks to radiation treatments which have evolved and improved over the years:

“In the 1970s, computers were introduced into treatment planning. Radiology developed CAT, MRI and PET scans so that tumors could be targeted with precision. This was followed by intensity modulated and image guided radiation therapy (IMRT and IGRT) machinery which could use these new diagnostic advances to now deliver the dose with pin-point accuracy while avoiding normal tissues.”

-          Roger F. Robison, M.D., Vice-chair, American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) History Committee, Bloomington, Ind. Source

Radiologists can now deliver radiation treatment more precisely, targeting only cancer cells. More effective radiotherapy, means more Canadians surviving cancer.

Nuclear medicine is just one example of how nuclear technology has benefited the health and wellbeing of Canadians.  Beyond medical isotopes, there’s gamma processing to improve, for example, food safety, sterilizing cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, and medical devices, and there’s the health benefit of clean nuclear energy for the air we breathe.

Nuclear energy in Canada diverts a potential 90 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions per year that would result from the same amount of electricity generated by fossil-based sources. Greenhouse gasses contribute to climate change and smog – smog and air pollution have a huge impact on the health of Canadians and the global community.

According to Pollution Probe’s Smog Primer:

“Globally, it is estimated that by 2020 a total of 700,000 premature deaths from particulate* exposure could be prevented each year if emission reduction policies were implemented. The majority, as many as 563,000 prevented deaths, would be in developing countries, while the other 138,000 would be in developed nations, such as Canada.”

*’Particulate’ is a general name given to a tiny solid or liquid particle or piece of matter. It usually refers to particles in the air (airborne particulates).

So whether it’s beating cancer, keeping our food and products safe, and our air clean, on this Canada Health Day, we’re saying thank you to the Canadian nuclear community for the historical and ongoing contributions it’s made to our quality of life today.

Learn more about the daily benefits of nuclear technology at NUnuclear.ca and join the TalkNUclear conversation on Facebook and Twitter.

And in celebration of the one-year anniversary of the TalkNUclear.ca blog, here are the top posts of the year!

 

Happy Canada Health Day from your Canadian Nuclear Association!

 

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Happy Earth Day!

According to Earth Day Canada, Earth Day was first launched as an environmental awareness event in the U.S. in 1970. That’s still the purpose today as millions of Canadians join 1 billion people from countries all over the globe in holding events and supporting projects that raise awareness of local and global environmental issues.

One of the greatest environmental challenges the world is facing today is climate change. As Canada and the global community work to address the challenges of climate change, nuclear energy is an important part of Canada’s clean energy portfolio. Nuclear power generation doesn’t contribute to climate change or smog because there are virtually no greenhouse gas emissions from our nuclear power facilities. And because nuclear power facilities produce large amounts of continuous power (base load), they enable the use of complementary renewable energy sources, like wind and solar. Currently nuclear energy provides 15% of Canada’s electricity. If this 15% was replaced by fossil fuels, it would increase Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions by 12%, or about 90 million tonnes.

It’s an interesting time for nuclear as countries are starting up and expanding their nuclear energy programs (China, India, Vietnam), and others are shying away for the time being (Germany, Japan). We believe nuclear is a key part of a clean energy future, for Canada and the world. So this Earth Day, why not learn more about the contributions of nuclear technology – not only in power generation but also in medicine, food safety, new technologies, innovation, etc. Visiting NUnuclear.ca is a good place to start.

Happy Earth Day!

Check out what one of our members is doing to celebrate Earth Day – or rather, Earth Week, in their case!
Bruce Power supports Earth Week by assisting environmental programs along the shoreline

“Although we do an excellent job of protecting the environment through our day-to-day operations, we understand the importance of educating the greater community and youth of Bruce and Grey counties on the importance of being good environmental stewards. By supporting these important community initiatives, we are helping to foster an appreciation and understanding of the environment at a very young age.” — Duncan Hawthorne, Bruce Power President and CEO

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Canada’s Top Ten Weather Stories for 2011

Environment Canada has put together a year-end review of the top weather stories of 2011.

From floods to fire, melting Arctic seas, heat waves, blizzards, hurricanes and tornados – 2011 was a weather year to remember. Canadians from coast to coast to coast were affected by this year’s weather extremes and their insurance companies reported the second most expensive year for weather losses.

The 7th top weather story is this summer’s heat wave that struck the middle of Canada, from Saskatchewan to Quebec. We’re in Ontario where over half of our electricity comes from nuclear and were all glad to have that reliable baseload power to keep us cool.

More than the daily benefits of nuclear power generation, because there are virtually no greenhouse gas emissions from our nuclear power plants, our keeping cool with nuclear does not contribute to smog or climate change (climate change which many believe is the cause of the extreme weather we are experiencing in recent years).

Did you know:
Currently, nuclear energy provides 15% of the electricity produced in Canada, serving the needs of millions of people across Canada. Electricity currently generated by nuclear power plants in Canada saves the potential emission of about 90 million tonnes of greenhouse gases per year that would result from the same amount of electricity generated by fossil-based sources. This makes up about 12% of Canada’s total greenhouse gas emissions.

Read all of Environment Canada’s Top Weather Stories of 2011.

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The Nuclear Debate – Monbiot and Others Discuss the Pros and Cons

Yesterday, the Royal Society of Chemistry hosted a debate on nuclear. The issue at hand was whether it was possible for the UK to reach its 2030 emission reduction targets without the use of nuclear power. Arguing in favour of nuclear power was freelance journalist George Monbiot, and Malcolm Grimston, Research Fellow at Imperial College London. Arguing against was Greenpeace’s Doug Parr, and Roger Levett, an energy consultant.

We at the CNA encourage healthy debate on energy issues, one that weighs both the risks and benefits of all types of energy generation. We believe that nuclear power’s pros outweigh the cons. It is an integral part of Canada’s clean energy portfolio and must be a part of a national energy strategy.

Click to watch The Nuclear Debate on TheReaction.net

Each speaker made seven-minute opening statements. Here are some highlight points on each:

George Monbiot (pro):

  • On onshore wind: turbine construction is enough of a challenge as it is, but the lines required to connect them are worse and have not been commented on by Greenpeace
  • Solar: unbelievably expensive, poorly matched to time of electricity demand
  • If the UK maximizes its penetration for green energy, we can hit 45% by 2030 which is fantastic, but what do we do about the rest?
  • Given the public backlash against every energy option, maybe we should suggest rolling blackouts instead as a less controversial option

Roger Levett (con):

  • To defeat this motion, we can simply stop producing and start importing energy, or if we travelled abroad more rather than locally (because then carbon is attributed to the receiving country)
  • The problem is in overindulgence – we’d be better off with cars that don’t do 0-60 quickly without the safety features required for those speeds and the entertainment features to keep your kids entertained during those trips.
  • Local economies means less energy is required for transportation, so we can eliminate huge portions of our current energy use
  • Use a behavior-based approach rather than new energy supply (people should use less energy)

Malcolm Grimston (pro):

  • Believes it’s impossible to meet our target with or without nuclear, but nuclear is going to get us close.
  • There’s a fallacy that puts nuclear and renewable against each other
  • If I could reinvent the world I would leave out the 2nd law of thermodynamics
  • If we end up in a position of playing a game with millions of participants acting for their own situation, we’re in trouble. See John Nash.

Doug Parr (con):

  • Opening comment: disappointing to be on the opposite side of George Monbiot
  • Nuclear waste: we still don’t know what to do with it
  • Proliferation: if nuclear is the answer in the UK, it needs to be the answer everywhere. If you’re comfortable with nuclear power, you need to be comfortable with nuclear power in Africa & the middle east and other politically unstable territories
  • Nuclear unduly competes with renewables for share of investment capital

Each speaker then had the opportunity to reply to the others’ opening statements.  (See Monbiot and Grimston rebuttals!) Finally there was a Q&A with the audience.

A winner was called at the end with a house vote. The result of the vote was 63-9. Watch the debate to find out which side won.