Tag Archives: Fukishima

Nuclear Energy

Which is More Frightening, a World With or Without Nuclear Power?

Today on the BBC World Services radio programme HARDtalk, we heard an interview with John Ritch, Director General, World Nuclear Association and Sven Giegold, a leading German Green member of the European parliament. Host Stephen Sackur asked his guests to discuss the impact of Fukushima on the global nuclear industry. Ultimately the question is: Which is more frightening, a world with or without nuclear power?

TalkNuclear knows nuclear energy is an affordable, available and reliable source of energy that will allow us to meet our growing energy demands while addressing climate change since it doesn’t contribute greenhouse gasses or smog to the atmosphere. More than energy production, Canadian nuclear in particular has pioneered, and continues to develop, many important medical technologies which have saved and improved the lives of millions around the world.

We know what world we’d rather live in: Nuclear power? Yes please!

Listen to the interview and let us know what you think.

Click image to access interview at BBC.co.uk (player will open in a new window)

Note: the broadcast will only be available until 9:32AM Wed, 3 Aug 2011
Originally broadcast on BBC World Service, 4:05PM Wed, 27 Jul 2011

Nuclear Energy Nuclear News Nuclear R&D

Canadian Nuclear Attitude Survey

One month after the earthquake and tsunami struck northeastern Japan, the Canadian Nuclear Association commissioned a professional, Canada-wide opinion poll to gain insight into what Canadians are thinking about nuclear.

The results are mixed – as was expected after a large event like the Fukushima accident in March 2011. But we did hear about the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead for our industry. For example, we learned that while Canadians were paying close attention to Fukushima and were concerned about its Canadian implications, Canadian operators and regulators were seen to be taking the issue seriously.

Since the tragedy, the nuclear industry – at home and around the world – has been working to share valuable lessons learned from the tragedy to ensure safety standards and policies reflect current findings. To date we have:

  • Participated  as a nuclear community to review and respond to the situation in Japan. Ontario Power Generation’s (OPG) CEO – Tom Mitchell – was appointed by The World Association of Nuclear Operators (WANO) to chair a special 14-member, “Post-Fukushima” commission to review the lessons of this event and develop recommendations on an appropriate industry response;
  • Outlined to the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) a series of actions to verify the safety of our nuclear generating stations; and
  • Been in regular communication with nuclear organizations around the world and has launched extensive fact-based communication initiatives to keep Canadians informed and assured about the safety our own nuclear facilities.

In addition, OPG released a preliminary report to the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) on lessons learned to date from the Fukushima event. Their overall conclusion is that OPG’s nuclear plant systems are robust enough to withstand significant emergencies. They looked carefully at Japan and identified opportunities where our industry can further improve. For example, they saw that irradiated fuel bays were an issue in Japan. They caught fire. OPG confirmed that its fuel bays would not experience such a failure.

Nevertheless, our industry is  looking at ways to address even the most improbable events – like major flooding and major earthquakes and ensuing emergencies in their aftermath. We will continue to be open and transparent about our safety measures.  We are also broadening the sharing of information and expertise with the rest of the industry worldwide – and continuing to support organizations like WANO, which are also dedicated to this goal. The nuclear energy industry is an international community with a shared body of professional expertise and operating experience. The more members share and communicate, the safer and more efficient our operations become.

Immediately following events in Japan, the Governments of Ontario and Saskatchewan both reiterated their commitments to nuclear energy and research. In fact, the Joint Review Panel for the Darlington New Nuclear Project took place in March and April 2011. The CNA was proud to be a positive intervener at the hearings to remind the Panel about our industry’s strong record of safety, and the many social and economic benefits the project will bring to both Ontario and Canada. During the hearings, more than 120 oral and written submissions were made in support of the project. Most of these came from the local community.

Here are additional highlights from the polling:

Support for nuclear declined post-Fukushima. National support for nuclear energy in general fell from 48% in January 2009, to 43% in August 2009 and March 2010, to 38% in April 2011.

There is strong support for nuclear research and development in all regions (even in Quebec – 55%) and at all income levels.

Opinion continues to be regionally polarized:  support for nuclear energy is 53% in Ontario versus 17% in Quebec.  Ontario support has held up fairly well post-Fukushima. After Ontario, the region most supportive of nuclear energy is Alberta (46% favourable).

  • 63% think Canadian nuclear is “among safest in the world”
  • 60% think it is “available and reliable”
  • 55% think nuclear is “clean” and “brings benefits to all Canadians”

Q: Now I am going to read some statements about nuclear energy. Please tell me if you strongly agree, somewhat agree, somewhat disagree or strongly disagree with the following statements:

Over two-thirds think nuclear plant companies are taking the events in Fukushima seriously

Q: From what you have read, seen or heard, how seriously do you think the companies that operate Canadian nuclear power plants are taking the issue of the safety of nuclear power generation in Canada?

Almost three-quarters agree regulatory agencies take nuclear safety seriously

Q: And from what you have read, seen or heard, how seriously do you think the government agencies that regulate Canadian nuclear power plants are taking the issue of the safety of nuclear power generation in Canada?

Just over half support upgrading and refurbishing existing nuclear plants

Q: Many large power-generating plants in Canada with various fuel sources will have to be replaced over the next 10 to 15 years because they are aging. In Ontario 80% of the plants will have to be replaced. In order to help meet Canada’s future electricity demand, would you strongly support, somewhat support, somewhat oppose or strongly oppose.

 

Polling was conducted by Innovative Research Group, Inc.

Messages

A Warm Welcome to the Canadian Nuclear Association’s New Blog!

Developing and sustaining a strong online presence that promotes dialogue, collaboration and the sharing of information is a key pillar of the Canadian Nuclear Association’s (CNA) Social Media Strategy and our TalkNuclear brand.

In fact, earlier this year we launched our TalkNuclear Twitter, YouTube and Facebook pages. Through these platforms, we have actively launched and participated in a conversation about the nuclear industry, both at home and abroad.

As we move forward and continue to build upon our outreach efforts, launching our very own TalkNuclear Blog seemed the natural next step.

There isn’t a better time to launch the TalkNuclear blog than today – Canada Health Day. Celebrated every year in honour of the birthday of Florence Nightingale, an innovator and reformer in public health, Canada Health Day encourages Canadians to do something to promote health and a healthy lifestyle.

It is a reminder to us all that health is our most precious resource and one that must be nurtured. Today is also an opportunity to reflect on the contributions of public health and healthcare innovations to the overall well-being and quality of life of all Canadians. Nuclear medicine got its start in Canada with the first cancer treatment machines in the 1950s. Today nuclear medicine continues to contribute to the health of Canadians with medical isotopes being used to sterilize more than 40% of the world’s single-use medical devices like syringes, gowns and masks – not to mention the sterilization of everything from pharmaceutical products to cosmetics. Medical isotopes also significantly improve the diagnosis and treatment of diseases.

I have been the CNA President for over a year now and during this time our industry has experienced tremendous growth and promise, but we’ve also had our challenges.

In March, we were faced with the tragic events at the Fukushima nuclear power plant in Japan as a result of a devastating tsunami. As an industry and as individuals, our hearts have gone out to the people of Japan as they continue down their path to recovery.  We have been working tirelessly to support our Japanese counterparts and glean any lessons learned that can apply to our systems here in Canada.

Canada’s nuclear power plants are among the most robust designs in the world with multiple, redundant safety systems.  Our facilities are located in stable areas –  both seismically and in terms of severe weather. However, this doesn’t allow us to be complacent. All our nuclear facilities are in the midst of conducting a thorough review of the lessons learned from Japan and how we might apply that to our own operations and emergency planning (PDF). We will continue to review our operations as we learn more.

On a more positive note, the Ontario Government has committed to building and refurbishing nuclear power plants, reaffirming its confidence in nuclear power as the province moves forward with its Long-Term Energy Plan.

But why do I support nuclear energy? The answer is not long or complicated. I support nuclear energy because I believe – not only as the President of the CNA – but as a Canadian, that nuclear energy is critical to our country’s future.

Nuclear has an important role to play in medicine, research, food safety, highly-skilled jobs, and it makes crucial contributions to other industries across the Canadian economy.  It is a key piece of Canada’s energy system because of its ability to supply continuous, baseload power while releasing virtually zero GHG emissions. In today’s environmentally-conscious, energy-intensive and carbon-constrained world, this last point cannot be ignored.

So welcome to CNA’s blog once again. I encourage you all to check back regularly and participate in the conversation as we have exciting topics lined up.

We would also love to hear from you: What will you do for Health Day? Leave us a comment below or email TalkNuclear@cna.ca. What does nuclear mean to you?