Tag Archives: Fukushima

CNA2013

CNA2013 Video: Evolution of Nuclear Safety Practices

Mr. Tom Mitchell, President and Chief Executive Officer of Ontario Power Generation, provides an update on the safety measures OPG has implemented at its nuclear plants following the Fukushima nuclear event of two years ago. He also offers observations on the nuclear industry’s evolving approach to nuclear safety, including the insights gained from studying the Fukushima experience.

You can watch more CNA2013 conference videos on the playlist we created. Other videos including videos from previous conference years can be found on our YouTube channel.

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2012 CNA AGM and Nuclear Refurbishment Summit

The Canadian Nuclear Association is having its 52nd annual general meeting to elect 13 new Directors of the Board. We’re going to have more elected members, more representation across the industry, than ever before! We are stronger when we work together.

After the AGM, up to 200 guests are expected to attend the Nuclear Refurbishment Summit, an event sponsored by the Canadian Nuclear Association, the Organization of CANDU Industries and Aecon Nuclear.

Ontario’s Minister of Energy Chris Bentley will be a keynote speaker at the event taking place in Cambridge on May 17, 2012.

Keynote speakers at the event include:

  • Albert Sweetnam, Executive Vice President, Nuclear Projects at Ontario Power Generation (OPG), on OPG’s plans to implement lessons learned from Fukushima.
  • Kevin Wallace, President and General Manager of Candu Energy Inc., on lessons learned from the Wolsong Refurbishment.

Notable attendees include: Cambridge Mayor Doug Craig, Cambridge MPP Rob Leone, OPG Chief Nuclear Officer Wayne Robbins and John Beck, Chairman & Chief Executive Officer of Aecon Group Inc.

The event is open to guests, including CNA and OCI members. For more details and to register, please contact Aecon at refurbsummit@aecon.com.

We’re encouraging all CNA members to attend! Hope to see you there!

Aecon has more than forty years of experience in the nuclear industry and maintains a CSA N285 nuclear quality certification in Canada. On January 1 of this year, Aecon’s Cambridge fabrication facility was awarded nuclear accreditation, known as the “N-Stamp”, from the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME).

On March 1, 2012, Aecon Group Inc. announced that a joint venture they were part of had been awarded a major contract with OPG to carry out the Darlington Retube and Feeder Replacement Project. This project includes the refurbishment of all four reactors at the Darlington Generating Station.

Aecon Group Inc. is one of Canada’s largest and most diverse construction and infrastructure development companies.  Aecon and its subsidiaries provide services to private and public sector clients throughout Canada and on a selected basis internationally.  Aecon is pleased to be recognized as one of the Best Employers in Canada.

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Now is the Time for Canada to Invest in Nuclear Energy

Here’s another great post from our friends at AREVA Canada. Executive VP Jean-François Béland shares his thoughts on the past year since the earthquake and tsunami in Japan and why now is the time for investing in nuclear.

Jean-François Béland, Executive Vice-President, AREVA Canada

Now is the time for Canada to invest in nuclear energy

By Jean-François Béland

During the year that has passed since the earthquake and tsunami struck the Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear plant in Japan, many have questioned the future of nuclear energy in nations around the world. While a few nations have decided in the wake of Fukushima to move abruptly away from nuclear energy, many others have taken this opportunity to take a long hard look at this technology and have moved forcefully ahead.

Driven largely by internal political concerns, Germany declared it will gradually shutter its nuclear plants, opting instead to depend more on fossil fuels (domestic brown coal and imported Russian gas) and more renewables. But for the near term, Germans can expect higher electricity prices, more carbon emissions and Imports of nuclear produced electricity from France.

Others, such as China, India and the United Kingdom, are moving forward aggressively with plans for new nuclear power plants. China alone has 26 new reactors under construction, including two by AREVA. The U.S. government recently approved the construction for the first new reactor in 30 years, an event that will lead to other projects.

Taishan 1 EPR reactor under construction in China

Here in Canada, we stand at a crossroads. While some politicians have expressed their support for nuclear energy, this has not translated into the concrete actions necessary to spur significant new investments. Canada’s nuclear power plants generate 15% of our electricity safely, reliably and without producing greenhouse gases. But nearly 20 years have passed since a new plant has come online.

In Ontario more than 50% of the electricity comes from nuclear energy, making this technology critical for the economy. Nuclear energy’s low cost and reliability enables our industrial base in Ontario to remain competitive. Let’s face it, nuclear power generation helps maintain industrial and manufacturing jobs in Ontario better than any other fiscal incentive to date.

The refurbishment project at Darlington Nuclear Generating Station in Ontario has just taken another step forward. This is indeed a positive development. But we must move forward now with the development of new plants to ensure we have reliable power for the future. In addition, each new nuclear plant project would create thousands more jobs and spur billions of dollars in regional investment.

We continue to work with NB Power and other partners on the possibility of developing at the Point Lepreau site in New Brunswick a Clean Energy Park, using a combination of AREVA nuclear energy and renewable technology.

We are delighted to see strong support in Saskatchewan for further development of nuclear technology in the province. Saskatchewan has the world’s best uranium deposits. And for decades, AREVA has been a leading uranium producer in northern Saskatchewan.

Over the past year, the Canadian nuclear industry has thoroughly assessed its systems and operations to ensure its safety. In October, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission concluded that all Canadian nuclear plants could withstand conditions similar to those at Fukushima. But, as an industry, we are still working every day to improve – our operations, our efficiency and our safety. AREVA is likewise constantly striving to help our customers produce cleaner, safer and more reliable electricity.

Canada has an opportunity to regain a leadership position in the one of the world’s pre-eminent clean energy technologies. But to do this, our leaders must take courageous, long-term decisions to invest in new nuclear energy projects today. As a proud Canadian and nuclear industry employee, I look forward to seeing the next new nuclear plant under construction in Ontario. While this may not be the easiest course of action, our leaders will find that new investment in nuclear energy is good for Canadians’ electricity rates, Canada’s industrial base, and Canada’s clean energy future.

Jean-François Béland is Executive Vice President of AREVA Canada.

This post originally appeared on the AREVA North America: Next Energy Blog.

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Experts Say Health Effects of Fukushima Accident Should Be Very Minor

This article from the NEI in the U.S., shares some excellent information from three radiation health experts about the health effects of radiation from the Fukushima accident. It is important to note that there have been no deaths associated with exposure to radiation from the Fukushima accident; and in fact public exposure levels were very low.

Originally posted here.

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Experts Say Health Effects of Fukushima Accident Should Be Very Minor

The following story originally appeared in NEI’s Nuclear Energy Overview.

Radiation health experts said at a Washington press briefing that based on the radiological data collected, the health effects of the Fukushima accident should be very minimal for both the public and workers.

“From a radiological perspective, we expect the impact to be really, really minor,” said Kathyrn Higley, professor of radiation health physics in the department of nuclear engineering at Oregon State University. “And the reason for that is we understand how radionuclides move through the environment, how they disperse and how people can be exposed. Because we understand that we are able to make decisions to block exposure.”

At the event hosted by the Health Physics Society, Higley said that prompt evacuations and food monitoring by the Japanese authorities had helped reduce the public’s exposure.

“Because of those actions, the Japanese government was able to effectively block a large component of exposure in this population,” Higley said.

Dr. Robert Gale, visiting professor at Imperial College London, pointed out that although approximately 20,000 people died from the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and subsequent tsunami, none of those deaths are attributable to radiation from the Fukushima accident.

However, Gale said, “The fact that everyone is here today, shows that the public’s focus is really on Fukushima. You hear very few things about the earthquake and tsunami.”

Gale presented preliminary data on the 10,000 inhabitants near the Fukushima plant thought to have received the highest doses of radiation showing that:

  • 5,800 received doses less than 1 millisievert (mSv).
  • 4,100 received doses between 1 and 10 mSv.
  • 71 received doses between 10 mSv and 20 mSv.
  • 2 received doses between 20 mSv and 23 mSv.

By comparison, each year a resident of the United States receives an average total dose from background radiation of about 3.1 mSv.

Gale said it was important to translate these doses into something the general public could easily understand. These radiation doses indicate an “incredibly small” increase in risk of death from cancer of only 0.001 percent for a member of the Japanese public, he said.  The increased risk of cancer incidence would be only 0.002 percent for a member of the Japanese public.

Such a small increase in the cancer rate would make it very hard to scientifically verify an increase in cancers that could be directly linked to the Fukushima accident.

“The exposures to the population are very, very low,” said John Boice, professor of medicine at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine and President Nominee of the National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements. “As such, there is no opportunity to conduct epidemiological studies that have any chance of detecting excess [cancer] risk. The doses are just too low.”

Despite this, the Japanese government is conducting various large-scale studies of the public’s exposure to radiation to “reduce anxiety and provide assurance to the population,” Boice said.

These studies include:

  • A health study of all 2 million residents in the Fukushima prefecture, with a 30-year follow-up study planned. This includes a 10-page questionnaire sent to residents.
  • A study of 360,000 children under the age of 18 who are having their thyroid glands scanned.
  • A health exam of people in the proximal area, including blood exams.
  • A special survey of 20,000 pregnant and nursing mothers.

The health effects for workers at the Fukushima nuclear power plant would also be minimal, Boice said. The average radiation dosage for a worker at the plant was 9 mSv. (See above for comparative dosages for the public.) He added that out of 17,000 workers involved in “reactor containment and reactor cleanup”—including both TEPCO employees and contractors—only 37 workers had received external doses greater than 100 mSv. He said that up to 100 workers had received more than 100 mSv combining internal and external doses.

Boice added that these internal doses would have a “minimal” health effect because of the way the adult human body reacts to Iodine-131, one of the major byproducts of a reactor accident.

“In terms of health effects, these would be minimal because most of the internal, the ingested radiation, was radioactive iodine to adult thyroid glands,” he said. “Adult glands are relatively insensitive to cancer-producing effects of radiation, in particular, to Iodine-131. We have lots of studies of adults exposed to Iodine-131 where there is no effect.”

Boice said that among the small number of workers that had received over 100 mSv of radiation doses, the increased cancer risk in their lifetime would be one or two percent. He added that these workers would be studied throughout their lives.

Asked what role the Fukushima accident should play in licensing nuclear power plants in the United States, panelists said lessons learned should be applied.

“This event is being dissected for ramifications for old designs, [and] what we can learn in terms of seismic safety for new designs,” Higley said. “You really do need to look at the knowledge that is coming out of this event and decide what is relevant to reactors here in the United States.”

Boice praised the actions of the Japanese government, but hinted at improvements.

“It was a very appropriate response. What the Japanese authorities failed to do was communicate effectively,” Boice said. “And that still remains a problem—xplaining what was being done in terms of radiation exposure.”

The Health Physics Society is a scientific organization of professionals who specialize in radiation safety. Its mission is to support its members in the practice of their profession and to promote excellence in the science and practice of radiation safety.

The HPS shortly will release a white paper on the radiological effects of the Fukushima accident.

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Fukushima: One Year Later – Statement by Denise Carpenter

Statement by Denise Carpenter, President and CEO of the Canadian Nuclear Association on the first anniversary of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan

March 8, 2012– Ottawa, Ontario

“One year ago, approximately 20,000 lives were lost and many forever changed following a devastating earthquake and tsunami off the north coast of Japan.

The natural disaster was also felt in the nuclear industry when the emergency back-up generators at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear station were disabled by the unprecedented 24-foot tsunami.

Since the tragedy, the nuclear industry – at home and around the world – has been working to share valuable lessons learned to continue to ensure safety standards and policies reflect current findings. In Canada, our industry moved quickly to provide Canadians with as many facts as possible about the event – and assure them of the safety of our nuclear facilities.

Soon after the disaster struck, Canada’s nuclear companies launched a thorough assessment of our own systems and operations to confirm their safety, including looking at back-up power systems and the ability of nuclear facilities to withstand natural disasters that might occur here.

Last October, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) released the Fukushima Task Force Report.  It concludes that all Canadian nuclear power plants are safe with facilities designed to withstand conditions similar to those that triggered at Fukushima.

Globally, it’s important for the nuclear industry to share valuable lessons learned from the tragedy in Japan. As an industry, we acted swiftly to increase safety through a diverse and robust emergency response capability that can deal with unexpected events.

In particular, we examined natural disasters such as tornadoes, flooding, earthquakes, and the emergencies these events create. Canada’s nuclear facilities are planning and implementing dozens of Fukushima-related projects between now and the end of 2016.

Nuclear is a clean, reliable source of baseload power and an important part of Canada’s energy portfolio. Opportunities ahead in the Canadian industry span the country and the globe, including, the Government of Saskatchewan’s  investment in a $30 million Canadian Centre for Nuclear Innovation; refurbishment plans underway in Ontario; and the broadening of the Canada-China Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on Energy Cooperation which will see hundreds of new jobs and billions in new investments for Canada.

As an industry, we are committed to working together as we continue to analyze and implement lessons learned from Fukushima. But today, on behalf of the 71,000 workers in Canada’s nuclear industry, we pause to remember those affected by the Japanese earthquake and tsunami one year ago.”

Visit our Fukushima: One year later page for more updates and FAQ

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Canada’s Nuclear Industry Aligned for Growth in 2012

February 24, 2012 – Ottawa, Ontario

Canada’s nuclear industry is poised for future growth and prosperity, according to discussions at the Canadian Nuclear Association (CNA) Annual Conference and Trade Show in Ottawa.

Canada’s nuclear industry is as strong as ever,” said Denise Carpenter, President and Chief Executive Officer, CNA. “Over the past few days, we have had great discussions on how our industry is leveraging lessons learned from Fukushima and how innovations in research and technology can improve and grow nuclear in Canada and abroad.”

More than 650 delegates from the nuclear community attended the conference, themed ‘Leadership Through Innovation.’

Tom Mitchell, President and Chief Executive Officer, Ontario Power Generation (OPG), provided an overview of the progress made by the World Association of Nuclear Operators Fukushima Response Commission and discussed groundbreaking methods of communicating risk and nuclear safety. (Download the PDF of Tom’s speech here)

“We are not ignoring the lessons we learned from Fukushima,” said Mitchell. “Safety, despite our industry’s excellent track record, can never be taken for granted.”

OPG has almost a dozen Fukushima-related projects underway or planned for implementation between now and the end of 2016.

Underscoring the industry’s growth, the Honourable Rob Norris, Saskatchewan’s Minister Responsible for Innovation, announced a multi-year agreement to provide funding for the new $30 million Canadian Centre for Nuclear Innovation.

Other conference highlights included a keynote speech by Patrick Lamarre on the future opportunities for SNC-Lavalin Nuclear following their recent acquisition of the CANDU Reactor Division of Atomic Energy of Canada Limited, and the presentation of the annual Ian McRae Award to Mr. Gerald (Jerry) Grandey, former Chief Executive Officer of Cameco Corporation.

Conference highlights, including links to videos from speaker sessions, can be found on Twitter by following @TalkNUclear and #cnagm2012.

(Update: check out #cnagm2012 photo highlights on our Google+ page)