Tag Archives: CNA

CNA2019

Olympian Waneek Horn-Miller to deliver Friday breakfast keynote at CNA2019

On Friday, March 1, at 7:30 a.m. CNA2019 will present its breakfast keynote speaker Waneek Horn-Miller.

Horn Miller is an Olympian, activist, and speaker on Indigenous health and reconciliation.

In 2000, she became the first Mohawk woman from Canada to ever compete in the Olympic games, co-captaining Team Canada’s women’s water polo team at the Sydney games.

After her retirement as an athlete, she has gone on to help others achieve in sports and lead healthy, balanced lifestyles.

She was Assistant Chef de Mission for Team Canada at the 2015 Pan Am Games. She is also the host of Working It Out Together—a 13-part documentary and healthy-eating initiative with the Aboriginal Peoples’ Television Network, which aims to build “an Indigenous movement of positive change” and “features dynamic leaders in health advocacy and courageous men and women who are figuring out what it takes to be well and to thrive.”

She will speak about indigenous reconciliation and finding common ground through dialogue.

In this keynote, Horn-Miller unpacks the hard but necessary work ahead of us if we want to escape our history of conflict and move to a place of shared understanding. If we embrace the true spirit of reconciliation, we need to make it a way of life—a cornerstone of how we proceed as a multicultural society—and not just a destination.

To Horn-Miller, this takes listening, and dialogue; it means extending empathy to those with different outlooks, and not shying away from debate; it means solutions-based thinking rooted in our shared aspirations. But if we can do this, we can do something unique in this country. And we can embrace what reconciliation is all about—a way of addressing wrongs, living in harmony, and healing for those who need it most.

For more information about CNA2019 visit https://cna.ca/cna2019/.

CNA2019

New nuclear politics and policies panel at CNA2019

Top to bottom: Dale Eisler, Edward Greenspon, Ingrid Thompson

On Thursday, February 28, at 4:15 p.m., Dale Eisler, Edward Greenspon, and Ingrid Thompson take the stage at CNA2019 to discuss new nuclear politics and policies.

Awareness is growing of the many power and non-power benefits of nuclear technology. Taken together, these cover a wide range of national interests. How should we be looking at New Nuclear from a strategic perspective? What does the evolving technology imply for state-to-state relations, national security, technology leadership, and commercial success?

Dale Eisler is the Senior Advisor, Government Relations at the  University of Regina. He has an extensive background in the federal public service and Canadian journalism. After a 25-year career in journalism with Saskatchewan and national publications, Dale spent 15 years in various senior roles with the Government of Canada, most recently as Assistant Deputy Minister for the Energy Security Task Force at Natural Resources Canada.

Edward Greenspon is President and CEO of the Public Policy Forum. He has worked at the intersection of journalism and public policy for more than 30 years. Before joining the Public Policy Forum, Ed was a journalist with The Globe and Mail, Bloomberg News and newspapers in Western Canada. He is also the author of two books on Canadian politics, policy and public opinion.

Ingrid Thompson, is the former President and CEO of Pollution Probe. Ingrid joined the Pollution Probe team in October 2016. Prior to this, Ingrid spent a decade consulting in Europe for a number of organizations, helping them to plan and navigate change and transformation programs. In her early career, Ingrid served as senior advisor for various officials in the Ontario government, taking lead roles on key files such as the launch of Drive Clean, an overhaul of Ontario air quality standards, the Walkerton e-Coli water contamination tragedy, and the initial development of the Northern Ontario medical school.

For more information about CNA2019 visit https://cna.ca/cna2019/.

CNA2019

Top scoring student entries for CNA2019

Every year, the Canadian Nuclear Association (CNA) sponsors 100 college and university students to attend its annual conference and trade show. Part of the application process involves answering a question about the future of nuclear technology in 100 words or less. The CNA reads and scores all of the entries, and the students who score the highest secure an all-expenses-paid spot.

Below are the top scoring entries.

Describe a ‘new nuclear’ project you think will change the future and outline the changes it will bring?

By Peria Yaghi, McMaster University

With the rise in nuclear power since the 1950’s, it has become a steadily increasing power source around the world. A new nuclear project that I think would change the future would be the floating nuclear power station which was first created in Russia in 2007. A floating nuclear power plant is a group of nuclear reactors at sea that provide electricity to remote areas (E.g. Northern regions). These floating nuclear power plants can be mass produced and put in different parts of cities and towns in need of power. The capacity of these floating plants is enough to serve cities and their needs. The benefit to using these is that they eliminate the need for burning coal and fossil fuels, which helps climate change issues. Another interesting point about these reactors is that it could be used as desalination plants, which produces fresh water. These are all important and valuable pros in the energy system sector because climate change and lack of water are two issues we will face in the future. This project should be looked at more closely to see how this could further benefit the future of our planet.

By Mr. Liam Dow, McMaster University

I am excited by the latest developments in small module reactors (SMRs). Specifically, the integrated molten salt reactor (IMSR) developed by Terrestrial Energy. I believe that molten salt reactors will find great success in the coming years due to a few reasons. First, I believe that the safety features MSRs offer could not only decrease the risk of accidents, but also improve public perception of how safe nuclear is as an energy source. One of the safeguards that is easily understood without any background in nuclear technology is the “Freeze plug” that simply melts in the event of overheating allowing for automatic cooling and containment without room for human or mechanical error. I also think that the ability to create SMRs will open nuclear energy to new applications as well as lower the economic barrier to entry. IMSR could be used on site in industries requiring high heat as well as electricity as the outlet temperature is much higher (600°C) than traditional reactors. Finally, with the ability to be converted to run off of spent fuel or thorium, the IMSR appears to have a bright future!

CNA2019

New nuclear from a strategic perspective panel at CNA2019

Top to bottom: Rita Baranwal, Bill Fox, Kenneth N. Luongo

On Thursday, February 28, at 11:15 a.m., Dr. Rita Baranwal, Bill Fox, and Kenneth N. Luongo take the stage at CNA2019 to discuss new nuclear from a strategic perspective.

Awareness is growing of the many power and non-power benefits of nuclear technology. Taken together, these cover a wide range of national interests. How should we be looking at New Nuclear from a strategic perspective? What does the evolving technology imply for state-to-state relations, national security, technology leadership, and commercial success?

Dr. Rita Baranwal is the  Director at the Gateway for Accelerated Innovation in Nuclear (GAIN)  at the Idaho National Laboratory (INL). Created by the U.S. Department of Energy in 2015, GAIN supports nuclear startups and helps universities, industries and other private groups get nuclear technology to the market more quickly. U.S. President Donald Trump has nominated Dr. Baranwal to serve as the Department of Energy’s assistant secretary for nuclear energy.

William (Bill) Fox is the Executive Vice-President, Nuclear at SNC-Lavalin. He oversees all operations carried out by the Canadian Nuclear business unit, including the design and delivery of CANDU reactors, life extension projects, plant life management programs and tools and operation and maintenance services  for existing CANDU nuclear power stations across Canada and in key international markets.

Kenneth N. Luongo is the founder and president of the Partnership for Global Security (PGS) and the creator of the Global Nexus Initiative. He served as the Senior Advisor to the Secretary of Energy for Nonproliferation Policy and simultaneously at the Department of Energy as the Director of the Office of Arms Control and Nonproliferation, Director of the Russia and Newly Independent States Nuclear Material Security Task Force and Director of the North Korea Task Force.

For more information about CNA2019 visit https://cna.ca/cna2019/.

Uncategorized

Nuclear industry eyes more federal support of ‘small modular reactors,’ as advocates push for Ottawa to hit pause

By Jolson Lim
Originally published in The Hill Times, December 3, 2018

The Canadian nuclear industry is looking for more federal government involvement in supporting the development of a new generation of reactors, after Natural Resources Canada put out a “roadmap” report earlier this month, spelling out steps different players in the sector could take.

The small modular reactor (SMR) roadmap was published on Nov. 7, and was co-developed between different public and private sector stakeholders. It recommends that federal, provincial, and territorial governments, along with utilities, industry, and the federally-funded national laboratory support demonstration of the use of SMR technology.

It also proposed: financial risk-sharing between the different players to support early deployment; the modernization of legislative and regulatory requirements to make development economically viable and timely; the development of a “robust knowledge base” for SMR technology; and for commitment to proactively engage with Indigenous communities.

SMRs are typically defined as nuclear reactors generating less than 300 megawatts of energy, and proponents see it as a promising source as the world struggles to fight climate change.

In Canada, backers see SMRs as a way to phase out diesel power for remote and Northern communities. However, to make it economically feasible within a small window of time for it to become a tool in reducing emissions, it would require demonstration soon, and eventually would require a fleet of reactors so manufacturers could benefit from more efficient and financially stable production.

But there is strong opposition to new nuclear energy development based on both environmental and safety concerns.

Nevertheless, any future development would likely have to involve government funding to support demonstration, on top of a regulatory review and placing a stronger emphasis on such technology in climate change plans.

“What would be so important now is for the government to show its policy support,” said John Barrett, president and CEO of the Canadian Nuclear Association (CNA). “But that kind of holistic policy statement is not available yet.”

Mr. Barrett’s association submitted a letter addressed to Finance Minister Bill Morneau (Toronto Centre, Ont.) following the release of his fall economic update in November.

The letter calls for the extension of clean technology and clean infrastructure funding and support programs, such as the ability to expense of 100 per cent of capital investments and loan guarantees, to nuclear technology in the next budget.

It also asks the federal government to recognize nuclear as part of Canada’s suite of clean energy technologies and to create a funding mechanism for applied research and development of the next generation of reactors.

“Such measures would go a long way in creating the supportive business innovation climate needed in Canada today to encourage clean technology developers and start-ups in the nuclear sector,” it reads. “Only with a significant scale-up of such sources can Canada meet its Paris climate targets.”

Canadian Nuclear Laboratories (CNL) is currently partnering with small-reactor proponents to get a prototype built at one of its sites by 2026 for future demonstration. The company wants to prove the commercial viability of such reactors, and position Canada as a global hub for testing and development.

The company is aiming for it to occur at its Chalk River research facility, which sits about 200 kilometres northwest of Ottawa. CNL manages and operates the two research laboratories in Canada for Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd., the crown corporation that owns such facilities.

Interest in SMRs is particularly strong in New Brunswick, where the local utility, NB Power, has partnered with an American firm to develop a small reactor in the province.

Mr. Barrett said Canada is in a commanding place with the development of SMRs, given its good regulatory and research environment and interest from different players. Globally, it makes the country an attractive place for development.

However, he said more federal focus is needed on nuclear energy.

“Nuclear is one of the tools that is sitting in the box and government hasn’t really pulled it out and taken a good look at what it can do,” said Mr. Barrett, adding it has a lot of export potential as well.

Concerns with SMRs

There are concerns that nuclear’s advantage as a low-carbon energy source is offset by serious safety and other environmental concerns.

Ole Hendrickson, a researcher for the advocacy group Concerned Citizens of Renfrew County and Area—where the Chalk River facility is located—said proponents of nuclear energy ignore other emissions, including various noble gases, iodine, and radioactive waste that has to be expensively and carefully managed. Such waste remains dangerous long after its use, and disposal remains a major concern and question.

“We don’t see small modular reactors as any different,” he said.

Earlier this month, the group appeared on Parliament Hill alongside Green Party leader Elizabeth May (Saanich-Gulf Islands, B.C.) to voice their concern over SMRs ahead of the release of the roadmap report.

Lynn Jones, a member of the citizens’ group, also questioned whether federal government funding is worth it, given there are concerns about its economic viability that has recently seen nuclear power struggle to grow globally.

“They can’t possibly succeed without significant government subsidies, the private sector has backed away from them all over the world,” she said. “They’ve come to Canada to try and get the government to subsidize them.”

Her group recently submitted two petitions to the Auditor General of Canada, with the first voicing concerns that any investment in future nuclear power would tie-up funds that would otherwise go to other proven renewables that could more quickly and effectively reduce carbon emissions. The second petition asks federal ministers to provide a justification for considering nuclear power to be a form of clean energy.

“It would take way too long to develop SMRs, apart from the fact there’s lots of other concerns about them,” she said.

The road ahead

John Stewart, director of policy and research at the CNA—speaking as the project manager of the SMR roadmap—said the report makes recommendations to a wide range of players, including governments, waste management organizations, industry, researchers, and the regulator, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission.

He said the “logical next step” is for one facilitating player to survey all those players to see what commitments they’re willing to make to further SMRs development.

“You need someone to do all that and elicit offers from the different players, get them to make specific commitments and eventually translate that into sort of national action plan,” he said.

He said he was pleased to see Natural Resources Minister Amarjeet Sohi (Edmonton Mill Woods, Alta.) attend the roadmap launch last month, despite not seeing a “lot in the way of signals” for nuclear power from the federal Liberal government.

Mr. Stewart said if the federal government offers a strong signal that SMRs can be a serious energy source, other players will follow up with tangible commitments.

“That would be a positive signal for other players to step up,” he said.

Nuclear energy accounts for almost 15 per cent of all electricity generated in Canada, particularly from two massive power plants in Ontario providing power to the Toronto region.

Mr. Stewart said nuclear power’s outlook has improved, but attitudes toward the severity of climate change haven’t matured fast enough that would see countries move quickly on SMRs.

“It looks better than it has in the past. Good would be going too far,” he said.

Uncategorized

Canada thinks big about small

By John Stewart, Director of Policy and Research, Canadian Nuclear Association
Originally published in Nuclear Engineering International, December 2018

Canadians are thinking about how to dramatically reduce greenhouse emissions from a modern economy like Canada’s, without destroying economic activity and living standards.

According to those who have seriously studied this problem, like the Trottier Energy Futures Project (TEFP), there are two steps. First, you convert many energy applications – lawn mowers, boat motors, building heat, and other fossil fuel burners – to electricity. Then, you generate electricity for that while minimizing greenhouse gas emissions.

In this article, we’ll see that generating electricity in a reliable and economical way, without setbacks in incomes and living standards (and therefore lifespans), requires much more nuclear energy. TEFP scenarios, for example, see nuclear power generation growing by more than 200% in Canada.

Where in Canada do we need to build all this electrical generating capacity?

The answer is, pretty well everywhere. Particularly as long as power transmission lines remain as unpopular and as hard to build as they are today, generation will have to be physically close to the demand, and power demand will grow just about everywhere.

That being said, growth in demand for low-emissions power looks to be concentrated in certain types of locations:

  • where fossil-fuel-burning power plants reach the end of their lives (notably coal plants in Alberta, Saskatchewan, New Brunswick, and perhaps Nova Scotia) and need replacing with something cleaner;
  • at energy-intensive industrial sites, particularly oil sands operations (which often burn natural gas in large quantities) and remote mining sites (which generally use diesel fuel for heating, vehicles, and power generation); and
  • in communities that currently use diesel-fuel-burning generators – of which there are hundreds across Canada’s provinces and territories.

No, wind and solar won’t do it here.

So what clean energy source can help meet this demand?

Biofuels aren’t the option they’re made out to be, partly because they can’t be scaled up to the extent that would be required (we need land to grow food and other crops), and partly because, on a full life-cycle basis, they’re really not very low-carbon.

Hydro power is wonderful, where dams can be built. It’s clean (at least once the dam is constructed), and stations can be run on a schedule that fits demand. But only so many places have undeveloped hydro sites, and the public and Indigenous acceptance challenges are usually large.

Other renewables have severe limitations. In remote communities, for example, accumulating experience is suggesting that, even when generously subsidized, wind and solar only dent the use of diesel by 20% or so, and then only at the expense of building triple infrastructure (diesel, renewables, and storage) in one place to carry the same small load.

Similar conclusions apply to larger power grids, due to the variability of wind and solar over time. When their contribution gets above something like 20-25% of the power supply, grid stability becomes a serious problem – one that’s hard to mitigate, even with large-scale storage.

So, even with contributions from each of these options, there’s a large need for another low-carbon energy source that can be sited close to demand. That includes urban areas, where a small land footprint will be essential, and also very remote locations, where the unit should be modular, transportable when new, and re-locatable later.

And in many cases, particularly in Canada, the source should supply heat (such as piped steam) in addition to electricity, so it can help heat a building complex, smelt metal from ore, cook wood pulp, or melt bitumen out of oil sands.

Nuclear reactors – on a much smaller scale in size but covering a wider area than today – could deliver low-carbon power to homes, offices, and businesses. They could also deliver process heat to industry and heat to buildings, and support clean fuels through battery charging or hydrogen generation for vehicles.

The industry making the nuclear reactors could:

  • streamlinethe servicing and refuelling;
  • achieve economies of scale in design, construction, and operation (the reactors may be smaller, but could be more standardized);
  • simplify designs and add many inherent safety systems;
  • ideally, move the reactor location if customer needs require it;
  • locate reactors underground, increasing security; and
  • supply fleets of many identical modules, with units that need refuelling or servicing being swapped out and returned to the factory.

Most nuclear power reactors are built to a certain scale (600-1400 megawatts of electricity, or MWe) mainly to achieve economies of scale in power production. But nuclear reactors can be orders of magnitude smaller than this.

Reactors that currently drive marine vessels (submarines, aircraft carriers, and icebreakers) are much smaller than most power plant reactors.

These propulsion reactors have a 60-year record of operating in hundreds of moving vessels that spend long periods in remote places.

Canadians have designed small or very small reactors for research, electricity generation, and district heating.

Demonstration units (Canada’s early NPD and Douglas Point reactors) and research units (currently operating at six Canadian universities and at research institutes around the world) are also small, extremely low-power, very safe, easy to regulate and operate, and easily secured.

There’s plenty of precedent for small modular reactors (SMRs) in Canada.

How close is the vision of widespread, commercial SMR deployment in Canada, and what does the path forward look like?

A pan-Canadian team recently roadmapped the path through a 10-month multi-stakeholder process. More than 180 individuals representing 55 organizations across 10 sectors and sub-sectors were engaged in workshops and Indigenous engagement sessions. Five expert groups looked at issues related to technology, economics and finance, Indigenous and public engagement, waste management, and regulatory readiness.

Canada’s SMR Roadmap, released in early November 2018, charts a path forward across four thematic areas:

  • Demonstration and deployment – The Government of Canada and provincial governments interested in SMRs would help pay for demonstration projects with industry.These governments would share the risk with private investors as incentive for the first commercial deployment of SMRs in Canada, with the potential of exporting SMR technologies and related innovations developed in Canada to international markets.
  • Indigenous engagement – Building on the helpful dialogues launched under the Roadmap, the federal, provincial, and territorial governments, together with utilities interested in SMRs, would have meaningful, two-way engagement with Indigenous communities about SMRs, well in advance of specific project proposals.
  • Legislation, regulation, and policy – The Roadmap includes recommendations on federal impact assessment, nuclear liability, regulatory efficiency, and waste management. For example, the Government of Canada is asked to make sure that changes to its federal impact assessment process don’t get in the way of initiatives to develop and deploy infrastructure like SMRs that can help deep de- Another recommendation is asking key players to make sure future waste streams from SMRs are part of waste plans.
  • International partnerships and markets – The federal government, with support from industry, laboratories, and academia, would continue strong and effective international engagement on SMRs, in particular to influence international

What’s the SMR Roadmap’s vision?

SMRs are a source of safe, clean, affordable energy – opening opportunities for a resilient, low-carbon future and capturing benefits for Canada and Canadians.

What’s the CNA’s take on all this?

The CNA, as just one of the organizations involved in the Roadmap, has this view:

  • SMRs are real and they are happening now. Utilities in Canada have begun to consider SMRs as a low-emissions replacement for fossil-fuelled electricity generation.
  • Decisions made in 2018-19 could lead to SMRs supplying power to Canadian electricity grids by around 2030, particularly where coal plants need to be replaced.
  • Mines and oil sands operations could be using SMRs for heat and power around the same time (2030) or soon thereafter, if technology decisions were made soon. These reactors would be different in scale and technology from those deployed on public electricity grids.
  • Application of SMRs in small, remote communities has great potential to improve energy supply, local air quality, and emissions by replacing the burning of diesel fuel – potential that has attracted attention from Canadian governments and others. While we too are excited by this opportunity, strong stakeholder engagement processes (including capacity-building in many cases) are needed to build understanding. Also, many of these communities are small, so the commercial business case is very constrained. These factors could put these applications on longer time-lines, depending on the extent of policy-level support.
  • Canada is one of only a few countries that have built up their investments in the full spectrum of civilian nuclear capabilities, from uranium mining, to fuel design, to manufacturing, to power generation, to life sciences and nuclear medicine, and to world-class excellence in regulation and governance. These strategic assets matter.There is an opportunity for Canada to lead the world on SMRs.

In summary, small modular reactors aren’t another over-hyped or far-away technology – some are based on reactors that have been operating for decades. SMRs are under construction now in at least three countries. In Canada and worldwide, these reactors have the potential to meet real, growing needs. What’s more, SMRs draw on skills that Canadians excel in. Because strategic partnerships are key, Canada’s SMR Roadmap has a plan of action that will engage many players. The CNA will continue reaching out to share information and help the players work together.

More on the SMR Roadmap can be found through www.cna.ca or www.smrroadmap.ca.