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CNA2015 Speaker Highlights

From renowned climate scientists to utility CEOs, distinguished professors to Canadian politicians, CNA2015 included speaking presentations from some of the nuclear industry’s most prominent figures.

If you weren’t able to attend CNA2015, now is your chance to see the presentations you missed. If you made it, now you can re-watch your favorites in the comfort of your home or office.

Dr. John Barrett

Dr. Barrett provided an update on the state of the the nuclear industry both domestically and internationally, its various challenges, and the opportunities that will shape future strategies.

Dr. James Hansen

Dr. James Hansen is one of the world’s leading climatologists and former head of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies. Dr. Hansen spoke to the CNA2015 crowd about the impact of emerging technologies and discoveries on our ability to maintain a sustainable climate.

Dr. Leslie Dewan

Dr. Dewan is a key figure in the future of nuclear power generation. In 2011, she co-founded Transatomic Power, which is making steadfast progress towards commercializing an innovative molten salt reactor fueled by nuclear waste. She has been named to Forbes “30 under 30″ in energy, and was listed among TIME Magazine’s “30 People Under 30 Changing the World”.

Dr. Matt Nisbet

Matthew C. Nisbet, Ph.D. is Associate Professor of Communication Studies and Affiliate Associate Professor of Public Policy and Urban Affairs at Northeastern University. He is a Senior Editor at Oxford University Press’ Research Encyclopedia Climate Science and “The Age of Us” columnist at The Conversation.

Hon. Bob Chiarelli

The Honourable Bob Chiarelli addressed the CNA2015 audience, providing important energy insights from the province of Ontario.

Hon. Greg Rickford

The Honourable Greg Rickford, Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources delivered a keynote address on Canada’s nuclear sector.

Julie Gelfand

Ms. Julie Gelfand, Canada’s Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development, shared the findings of her Fall 2014 Report.

Preston Swafford

Mr. Swafford shared the impact CANDU technology has had and will continue to have on clean power production worldwide.

Tom Mitchell

Mr. Mitchell shared with the CNA2015 crowd an update from Ontario Power Generation, as well as strategic directions which Canada’s nuclear leaders are collaboratively working towards.

Dr. Michael Binder

Dr. Michael Binder, President and CEO of the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, discussed the current state of nuclear safety regulation.

Panel: Canada’s Energy Options

This panel featured three Canadian environmental experts discussing the energy options available to us in 2015 and each one’s long-term potential to combat climate change in a meaningful way.

Panel: Emerging Technology

This panel featured global leaders speaking to the future demand for electricity that will emerge from growing technologies such as electric cars, ocean desalination, and advanced manufacturing.

All of these videos are also available on our website and on our YouTube channel.

CNA2015

Noted Academic Matthew C. Nisbet to Share Research at CNA2015

Nisbet

By Romeo St-Martin
Communications Officer
Canadian Nuclear Association

Matthew C. Nisbet, Ph.D. is Associate Professor of Communication Studies and Affiliate Associate Professor of Public Policy and Urban Affairs at Northeastern University.

He is a Senior Editor at Oxford University Press’ Research Encyclopedia Climate Science and “The Age of Us” columnist at The Conversation.

Nisbet studies the role of communication, media, and public opinion in debates over science, the environment, and technology. The author of more than 70 peer-reviewed studies, scholarly book chapters, and reports, at Northeastern University he teaches courses in Environmental and Risk Communication and Health Communication. Nisbet holds a Ph.D. and M.S. in Communication from Cornell University and a BA in Government from Dartmouth College.

Nisbet has recently focused on shattering some of the myths about the challenges facing climate change advocates.

“One of the things that remain one of the common explanations of why we have inaction on climate change is that the mainstream media continues to engage in false balance about the fundamentals of climate science,” he explains. “In part I think this explanation is no longer true.

“What we know from research over time is that false balance remained a problem in the early 2000s and the late 1990s.” He says false balance disappeared in the mainstream media by 2007.

But false balance remains in outlets in U.S. political talk radio, Fox News and the conservative blogosphere, but people who use those sources of media are already have doubts about climate change and this serves as just a reinforcing factor.

He also questions the myth that environmental groups are being outspent by big business. Nisbet’s research found that in 2009 environmental groups brought in $1.7 billion in revenues with $390 million spent on climate and energy advocacy, while conservative think tanks and groups brought in $900 million in revenues and spent $240 million on climate and energy advocacy.

“To say that environmental groups are massively underfunded or they face a spending disadvantage against their long standing opponents in conservative think tanks, industry associations and advocacy groups is a false argument.”

Dr. Nisbet is among the featured speakers at CNA2015.

CNA2015

CNA2015 Presents Transatomic Power Co-Founder Dr. Leslie Dewan

Leslie Dewan

By Romeo St-Martin
Communications Officer
Canadian Nuclear Association

Dr. Leslie Dewan is a key figure in the future of nuclear power generation.

In 2011, she co-founded Transatomic Power, which is making steadfast progress towards commercializing an innovative molten salt reactor fueled by nuclear waste.

“We’re developing a new type of reactor that can run entirely on used nuclear fuel,” she says. “It consumes the fuel and it reduces its radioactive lifetime while at the same time generating an enormous amount of electricity.”

Dewan said the company is aiming to break ground on a demonstration facility within five years and have it operational a few years after that. “For the nuclear industry, it’s very fast-paced,” she says.

Since last July, Transatomic has raised $4.5 million in startup funds.

The new funding will be used for lab testing of key components involved with the reactor design, and for refinement of the design for a prototype reactor. The company will be testing materials under a three-year research agreement with the Department of Nuclear Science and Engineering at MIT.

Dr. Dewan graduated from MIT with a Ph.D. in nuclear engineering, with a research focus on computational nuclear materials. She also holds S.B. degrees from MIT in mechanical engineering and nuclear engineering.

“At MIT everyone around there was so excited about building crazy things and were just totally free and unrestrained in all the cool engineering projects they were putting together,” she recalls.

Before starting her Ph.D., she worked for a robotics company in Cambridge, MA, where she designed search-and-rescue robots and equipment for in-field identification of biological, chemical, and nuclear weapons.

Leslie has been awarded a Department of Energy Computational Science Graduate Fellowship and an MIT Presidential Fellowship. She was named a TIME Magazine “30 People Under 30 Changing the World” in December 2013, an MIT Technology Review “Innovator Under 35” in September 2013, and a Forbes “30 Under 30” in Energy in December 2012.

CNA2015

Colorado Biologist Michael H. Fox on Nuclear

By John Stewart
Director, Policy and Research
Canadian Nuclear Association

More and more highly credible environmentalists are arguing the case for nuclear energy. The case was already strong, and  the flood of new high-profile advocates doesn’t in itself make it any stronger.

Where the flood of advocates does help us is in giving us more and more great writers and speakers to choose from. One of these, the renowned climate scientist James Hansen, will speak at the CNA Conference on February 26.

fox book coverAmid the crush of conference preparation, I made time to skim the work of another of these very strong new advocates. He is Colorado State University’s Michael H. Fox, whose book Why We Need Nuclear Power: The Environmental Case was recently published by Oxford University Press. If you want to strengthen your own knowledge with a compact, solid primer on a raft of timely topics – including atmospheric science, the climate controversy, fossil fuels, alternative energy sources, nuclear technology, radiation and energy safety – it’s for you.

Fox is genuine, honest, direct and comprehensive, and a very good writer, so I’ll excerpt a few of his own words to get you started.

The largest factor in global warming is CO2 emissions from burning fossil fuels (75%)…A substantial part of the fossil fuel emissions comes from burning coal to produce electricity…Natural gas is not really the solution…it is clearly better than coal…but it will still be a major contributor…

Wind and solar have a place…but they do not solve the energy problem…They can contribute the most power in places where relatively few people live, requiring a huge and expensive new network of transmission lines…They are expensive…They have very large footprints, which restrict them in many places. They are not very long lived…And they do not reduce the need for fossil fuels…because of their intermittent nature…Wind and solar are not able to wean us from our addiction to coal and natural gas…

Michael H. Fox
Michael H. Fox

A nuclear reactor will outlast several alternative energy projects but will cost far more upfront…The market alone is unlikely to be able to support either renewable energy projects or nuclear power projects because they are very expensive. But nuclear power alone has the potential to substantially reduce the CO2 emissions, which neither solar nor wind can do…[In the USA from 1950-2010] nuclear power and renewable energy (mostly wind and solar) each accounted for 9% of the total [federal government] incentives…Most of the incentives for nuclear power were for R&D…while for renewable energy about one-third were for R&D…

[U.S.] States with regulated rates set by public utility commissions are far more likely to build more nuclear…the energy crisis in California in 2000-2001…was an object lesson in how not to deregulate markets. Regulated states [provide] a climate in which the long-term costs of nuclear power plants can be amortized, resulting in low, stable rates. Since new nuclear power plants are designed for a 60-year lifetime, they will provide cheap electricity in future years, just as current reactors that were built 20 or more years ago provide cheap electricity now. Investments in nuclear power are truly long-term infrastructure investments that will pay off over a long time.

I and other pro-nuclear environmentalists find ourselves in an interesting conundrum. Many of my fellow liberal environmental activists are opposed to nuclear power, while many conservatives who are staunch deniers of global warming are supportive…Suppose we liberal environmentalists are wrong about global warming being caused by human influences. Would it really be such a bad thing if we actually reduced emissions of carbon dioxide?…And to environmentalists, is nuclear power really as bad as coal? Choices must be made, and every choice entails some risk. If you continue to oppose nuclear power, coal will still be providing most of the world’s electricity 50 years from now. The choice is up to us.

Maybe we’ll see Fox at a future CNA Conference. In the meantime, buy his book; like nuclear technology, it’s a long term asset that’s worth every penny. And we’ll be very excited to hear from James Hansen on Thursday.

CNA2015

CNA2015 Welcomes Canadian Olympian and Amazing Race Canada Host Jon Montgomery

JonM

By Romeo St-Martin
Communications Officer
Canadian Nuclear Association

Jon Montgomery delighted Canadians by winning Gold in Men’s Skeleton at the Vancouver 2010 Olympics.

Now, as host of The Amazing Race Canada, he is a charming ambassador for our country’s most beautiful sights. Whether he’s in snowy Nunavut, on a lentil farm in Saskatchewan, or on stage presenting a keynote speech, Montgomery is genuinely funny and always inspiring.

Montgomery will speak on the final morning of CNA2015 to energize our members.

Proudly Canadian, Jon Montgomery says that being the host of The Amazing Race Canada has given him an even greater appreciation for the country.

“I already had a profound sense I was a lucky man to be Canadian, but doing this show, you get to meet other Canadians, you get to see how they interact with the racers and a sense of commonality amongst the people.”

JonM2The Amazing Race Canada recently finished airing its second season.

Jon’s personal story is an inspiration for all.

He went from beginner on a skeleton track to the top of the medal podium at the Winter Games in just eight short years.

Jon got his start in skeleton racing in March 2002, after witnessing a skeleton race at Calgary’s Canada Olympic Park while on a self-guided tour with his parents.

One week later, Jon experienced the exciting sport first hand at a Discover Skeleton School. He hasn’t looked back since.

Over the next few years, Jon steadily climbed the rankings while sailing head-first down frozen tracks all over the world. First competing on the America’s Cup and Europa Cup circuits, Jon has competed on the World Cup Tour and Senior National Team since 2006

Jon has also captured Silver at the 2007/2008 FIBT World Championships in Altenberg, Germany, and has earned eight World Cup medals (4 gold, 2 silver, 2 bronze) and five Canadian National titles to date.

CNA2015

Leading Climatologist Dr. James Hansen to Speak at CNA2015

James Hansen - cropped

By Romeo St-Martin
Communications Officer
Canadian Nuclear Association

Dr. James Hansen is one of the world’s leading climatologists and former head of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies.

Dr. Hansen will speak to the CNA2015 crowd about the impact of emerging technologies and discoveries on our ability to maintain a sustainable climate.

“The sheer size of China’s electricity needs demands massive mobilization to construct modern, safe nuclear power plants, educate more nuclear scientists and engineers, and train operators of the power plants,” according to Hansen.

Perhaps the most prominent pro-nuclear environmentalist, Hansen has been credited for being one of first to warn politicians and policy makers about the dangers of climate change.

Hansen was one of four environmental scientists who wrote a 2013 open letter urging the green movement to give up its opposition to nuclear power.

“While it may be theoretically possible to stabilize the climate without nuclear power, in the real world there is no credible path to climate stabilization that does not include a substantial role for nuclear power,” the letter said.

Hansen has argued “nuclear seems to be the best candidate” to help the world move off of fossil fuels to generate electricity.

He’s thinks part of the problem going forward is with the public understanding.

“Nuclear energy is harder for people to understand, the idea of radiation,” he noted. “It’s been painted as very dangerous but it hasn’t been compared with the effects you will get from burning coal, which are very substantial and well known. It’s hard to get the public to understand and make that scientific comparison.”

Hansen has worked on increasing that understanding. In 2013, he published a paper with Pushker Kharecha that concluded nuclear power has saved 1.8 million lives by displacing fossil fuel sources between 1971 and 2009.

“Using historical production data, we calculate that global nuclear power has prevented about 1.84 million air pollution-related deaths and 64 gigatonnes (Gt) CO2-equivalent greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions that would have resulted from fossil fuel burning,” the researchers concluded in their study.