Tag Archives: CNS

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Nuclear Science: Unravelling the Big Bang

One of the most popular shows on television, the Big Bang Theory has created a buzz around science thanks in part to the quirky antics of theoretical physicist Sheldon Cooper, as portrayed by actor Jim Parsons. Far from Gino the Neutrino, real life physicist and Nobel Laureate, Art McDonald has been working to unravel the mystery of the Big Bang. Like the character of Dr. Cooper, he believes neutrinos hold some answers to understanding the evolution of the universe.

“The knowledge of properties of neutrinos are important in understanding our origins. They have a significant influence in the way in which the universe evolves and the way in which the elements are created in collapsing stars etc.,” according to Dr. Art McDonald, Professor Emeritus, Queens University and Nobel Laureate. “In fact, with the series of nuclear reactions in stars and supernova that build up the elements starting with hydrogen, you can understand within a factor of 2 or so the abundances of all the elements up to iron. It gives us a pretty strong confirmation of where the elements came from. From a cultural point of view, we have an understanding of our origins as stardust.”

Almost massless and so penetrating that it took many years for them to even be observed, neutrinos are particles that are produced in enormous numbers in the core of the Sun. They were observed with a ten-storey tall detector 2 km underground with a core of 1000 tonnes of heavy water loaned from Canada’s reserves and known as The Sudbury Neutrino Observatory (SNO). In 2015 McDonald’s work earned the highest honour with a Nobel Prize in Physics, an award which he shared with Japanese physicist Takaaki Kajita.

“I am very conscious of the fact that I was the director and singled out for the prize but the work was done by hundreds of people, including scientists from Chalk River. Two-hundred and seventy-three authors including over two-hundred students and post-docs,” according to McDonald.

McDonald’s achievements were recently honoured again, this time by the Canadian Nuclear Society (CNS) where he was presented with the the prestigious WB Lewis Award. The award, named after the physicist who was a leader in the development of the CANDU reactor, is given every year to a scientist has made a significant contribution to the field of nuclear science.  McDonald, like Lewis, worked in Chalk River and had the opportunity to meet the award’s namesake.

Photo Courtesy of Art McDonald

“I didn’t work with him but I knew him and particularly I knew what his impact was on the nuclear industry. He was a very intelligent person who brought innovation to the field,” according to McDonald.

An innovator himself, McDonald’s work has taken him deep beneath the surface of the Earth at the SNOLAB in Sudbury, Ontario to avoid the cosmic rays that would otherwise interfere with measurements. In this ultra-low radioactivity laboratory, researchers are working on further understanding the universe, how it has evolved and the dark matter that holds our galaxy together.

Attracting talent from all over the world, the SNOLAB is determined to make Canada a world leader in particle physics and to help train the next generation of scientists. For McDonald, the next generation of science will include investments in nuclear science and nuclear energy.

“I think nuclear is a very important technology for the future and I am confident that the techniques that have been developed for handling of nuclear waste are up to the job,” according to McDonald. “I think it’s necessary because many of the other things that we should be pursuing as well, solar and wind are episodic in nature and we need a solid baseload that doesn’t pollute our environment on a daily basis.”

Thanks to the work of Dr. McDonald and others we are one step closer to understanding the origins of our universe and how it evolved.

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2018 Canadian Nuclear Achievement Awards – Call for Nominations

We are announcing the Call for Nominations for the 2018 Canadian Nuclear Achievement Awards, jointly sponsored by the Canadian Nuclear Society (CNS) and the Canadian Nuclear Association (CNA). These Awards represent an opportunity to recognize individuals who have made significant contributions, technical and non-technical, to various aspects of nuclear science and technology in Canada.

Nominations may be submitted for any of the following Awards:
• W. B. Lewis Medal
• Ian McRae Award
• Harold A. Smith Outstanding Contribution Award
• Innovative Achievement Award
• John S. Hewitt Team Achievement Award
• Education and Communication Award
• George C. Laurence Award for Nuclear Safety
• Fellow of the Canadian Nuclear Society
• E. Jervis Award

The deadline to submit nominations is January 19, 2018. The Awards will be officially presented during the CNS Annual Conference held June 3 – 6, 2018 in Saskatoon, SK.

For detailed information on the nomination package, Awards criteria, and how to submit the nomination please visit: https://cns-snc.ca/cns/awards.

If you have any questions, please contact Ruxandra Dranga, Chair – CNS/CNA Honours and Awards Committee by email at awards@cns-snc.ca.

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The CNS/CNA Honours and Awards Committee is Still Seeking Nominations

The deadline to submit nominations for the 2017 Canadian Nuclear Achievement Awards, jointly sponsored by the Canadian Nuclear Society (CNS) and the Canadian Nuclear Association (CNA), has been extended to February 3, 2017.

These Awards represent an opportunity to recognize individuals who have made significant contributions, technical and non-technical, to various aspects of nuclear science and technology in Canada. They will officially be presented during the CNS Annual Conference, held June 4 – 7, 2017 in Niagara Falls, Ontario.

Nominations may be submitted for any of the following Awards:

  • W. B. Lewis Medal
  • Ian McRae Award
  • Harold A. Smith Outstanding Contribution Award
  • Innovative Achievement Award
  • John S. Hewitt Team Achievement Award
  • Education and Communication Award
  • George C. Laurence Award for Nuclear Safety
  • Fellow of the Canadian Nuclear Society
  • R. E. Jervis Award

For detailed information on the nomination package, Awards criteria, and how to submit the nomination, see the linked brochure or visit: cns-snc.ca/cns/awards. The nomination package shall include a completed and signed nomination checklist.

If you have any additional questions, please do not hesitate to contact Ruxandra Dranga.

Uncategorized

2017 Canadian Nuclear Achievement Awards – Call for Nominations

We are announcing the Call for Nominations for the 2017 Canadian Nuclear Achievement Awards, jointly sponsored by the Canadian Nuclear Society (CNS) and the Canadian Nuclear Association (CNA). These Awards represent an opportunity to recognize individuals who have made significant contributions, technical and non-technical, to various aspects of nuclear science and technology in Canada.

Nominations may be submitted for any of the following Awards:

  • B. Lewis Medal
  • Ian McRae Award
  • Harold A. Smith Outstanding Contribution Award
  • Innovative Achievement Award
  • John S. Hewitt Team Achievement Award
  • Education and Communication Award
  • George C. Laurence Award for Nuclear Safety
  • Fellow of the Canadian Nuclear Society
  • E. Jervis Award

The deadline to submit nominations is January 14, 2017The Awards will be officially presented during the CNS Annual Conference held June 4-7, 2017 in Niagara Falls, Ontario.

For detailed information on the nomination package, Awards criteria, and how to submit the nomination please visit: http://cns-snc.ca/cns/awards.

If you have any questions, please contact Ruxandra Dranga, Chair – CNS/CNA Honours and Awards Committee by email at awards@cns-snc.ca, or by phone at 613-717-2338.

Nuclear Education

2013 Canadian Nuclear Society Scholarship

cnsThe Canadian Nuclear Society is pleased to offer a scholarship to promote excellence in nuclear science and engineering in Canadian universities.

This scholarship is intended to supplement the salary of a full-time PhD student entering his/her second or third year of graduate studies in nuclear science and engineering at a Canadian University.

The scholarship amounts to $5,000 per year for two years. Two scholarships may be awarded in 2013.

Download the PDF for more details: Notice2013 Graduate Scholarship

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.