Tag Archives: John Barrett

CNA2017

Op-Ed: Ontario’s Long-Term Energy Plan: Why Pickering Matters

Ontarians and their government are completing a review of the province’s Long-Term Energy Plan (LTEP) to guide energy decision-making over the next three years to 2019. As anticipated in the previous LTEP (2013-16), the government of Ontario announced in December 2015 plans for the refurbishment of 10 power reactors at the Darlington and Bruce Nuclear Generating… read more »

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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.

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CNA Dispels Uranium Mining Myths

By Romeo St-Martin
Communications Officer
Canadian Nuclear Association

The Canadian Nuclear Association had its opportunity to appear before the Quebec Bureau d’audiences publiques sur l’environnement (BAPE), an environmental watchdog that is studying uranium mining in Quebec.

In 2013 the Quebec government announced a moratorium on uranium mining and exploration until the BAPE study on the environmental and social impacts of mining has been completed.

Quebec is one of three Canadian provinces with a uranium moratorium, the others being Nova Scotia and B.C.

The appearance by CNA President John Barrett before the hearings was an opportunity to correct much of the misinformation about uranium mining that has appeared in media coverage surrounding the process.

John Barrett, second from left, testifying before the BAPE.
John Barrett, second from left, testifying before the BAPE.

Most notably, these are myths about uranium mining’s impact on workers health, the local environment and the traditional life of the communities.

“Many uniformed observers readily agree with the allegations raised by nuclear opponents that radiation is inherently dangerous, that radioactive waste presents an intractable threat, and that uranium mining disrupts communities,” Barrett said.

“Does uranium mining interfere with traditional land uses? With the benefit of evidence-based research, it appears that a uranium mine is no more disruptive than any other type of mine.”

Not only is uranium mining no more or less disruptive, it is actually safer than other types of mining due to the heavy regulation because of radiation.

Studies and monitoring show no significant impacts to the health of the public living near uranium mines and mills. Exposure to radiation and radon from uranium mining is very low and does not increase the risk of cancer.

Studies how uranium mining and milling does not increase radon levels away from the mine site. The level of radon near uranium mines is similar to natural background radon levels. Radon exposure to the public is virtually zero.

Currently in Saskatchewan where all of Canada’s uranium mining is located, aboriginal groups are consulted and provide valuable input on identifying valued plants, animals and traditional activities. Aboriginal groups also participate in collecting samples used for environmental monitoring.

In fact, uranium mining corporation Cameco is the largest industrial employer of aboriginal people in Canada.

According to the World Nuclear Association, there are 435 nuclear power reactors operating in 31 countries  around the world. Over 60 power reactors are currently being constructed in 13 countries, notably China, South Korea and Russia.

In all, about 160 power reactors with a total net capacity of some 177,000 MWe are planned and over 320 more are proposed.

China is in the middle of a huge reactor building  spree and wants to raise its capacity to 58 gigawatts (GW) by 2020 from 19 GW now. Chinese think tanks estimate that capacity could rise further to 200 GW by 2030.

The World Nuclear Association has estimated that annual Chinese demand for primary uranium will rise tenfold by 2030, which would put it at around 40,000 tonnes.

Zhou Zhenxing, the chairman of China’s CGN Uranium Resources, recently told a Beijing industry conference that his company was planning to invest in mines in Canada to meet the future demand.

“Canada’s uranium reserves are among the largest in the world and we hope to cooperate with Canadian enterprises to complete the mission,” he said.

The long-term picture is pretty clear:  More uranium will be needed globally and Quebec could benefit from exploration and mining.

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Carbon Crisis a Help for Nuclear, Not a Cure-All

By John Stewart
Director, Policy and Research
Canadian Nuclear Association

The climate challenge will likely prove a modest, not a dramatic, help to nuclear energy, according to experts who spoke at this year’s Nuclear Energy Assembly in Scottsdale, Arizona.

Broad-brush policies on carbon are not happening, they emphasized at the conference that was attended by representatives from the Canadian Nuclear Association.

Global treaties failed, U.S. cap-and-trade legislation failed, and Congress will not put an explicit price on carbon.

The experts also correctly predicted that U.S. President Barack Obama’s administration would use Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations to set climate policy.

On June 2, 2014, the Obama administration unveiled a bold new Environmental Protection Agency rule that would reduce carbon emissions 30 per cent by 2030, compared to 2005 levels.

David Victor, a modeller with the University of California at San Diego, said the climate models call for modest, but not vast, new investment in nuclear.

As a way of decarbonizing the atmosphere, more nuclear power appears to be competitive with encouraging forest growth (as a carbon sink), and with generating power from biomass combined with carbon capture and storage (CCS).

There are many “paper technologies,” Victor said, for reducing atmospheric carbon, but they tend to be pushed by technology-boosters with little knowledge of real-world investing and regulatory conditions.

Victor’s advice to policymakers is to focus on adapting. Limiting global warming to two degrees is now impossible and that “huge adaptation” is not only needed, but inevitable.

His advice to the nuclear energy industry is:  Focus less on climate policies, more on “what your real competition is” for effective carbon mitigation.

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Outlook Bright for New Nuclear Worldwide

By John Stewart
Director, Policy and Research
Canadian Nuclear Association

The outlook is bright for the global nuclear energy picture, according to speakers and experts at this year’s Nuclear Energy Assembly (NEA) in Scottsdale, Arizona.

Seventy two reactors are currently under construction worldwide, and the World Nuclear Association base case predicts 55 per cent growth in nuclear generation by 2050.

Former U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk told the conference, which was attended by Canadian Nuclear Association President John Barrett and CNA policy director John Stewart, the global revival of nuclear energy is a unique opportunity for U.S. trade in both large and small reactor designs and advances critical U.S. interests.

Kirk, who is also co-chair of the Clean and Safe Energy Coalition, cited Commerce Department statistics that show the international nuclear export market will be worth up to $740 billion over next decade. He said most opportunity for new nuclear builds will come from emerging markets.

NuScale CEO John Hopkins told the NEA his company is focusing on attracting investment and that small reactors are now “going to happen.”

Hopkins said the focus now is on replacing coal. There are also small reactor applications in the oil and gas sector, and an active market opportunity in the UK.

Meanwhile, the conference was also warned about potential issues that may come with the globalization of nuclear energy.

U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) Chair Allison Macfarlane asked for industry’s engagement to help improve regulatory regimes in countries that are new to nuclear.

“I also believe that we each have a particularly important responsibility when it comes to countries considering new nuclear power programs,” she said.

“I would argue that the presence of an effective, independent, well-resourced nuclear regulator is a strength – but perhaps more importantly, the absence of such an organization should be viewed as a threat, both to a good investment and to nuclear safety.”

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Nuclear Outlook Weak in Market-Driven North America

By John Stewart
Director, Policy and Research
Canadian Nuclear Association

Liberalized North American energy markets and a shale gas boom have made the financing of new nuclear plants extremely difficult, according to experts and U.S. industry executives.

Leading U.S. nuclear CEOs told the Nuclear Energy Assembly in Scottsdale, Arizona, on May 20, current market conditions are also now causing the premature closure of existing nuclear power plants, accelerating a loss of baseload power and a loss of fuel diversity. Canadian Nuclear Association (CNA) President John Barrett and CNA policy director John Stewart were in attendance at the conference.

The closure of the Kewaunee Power Station in Wisconsin last year stunned the industry. Market forces, not reactor age or safety, was cited as the cause.

William Mohl, an executive with Entergy Corporation, predicted that more nuclear plants will close without reform to the electricity market structure.

U.S. electricity prices are chronically too low, partly due to a politically-driven push for renewable energy combined with cheap natural gas and the short-term focus of liberalized electric power markets.

NEA participating experts said U.S. decision-makers, both public and private, will be slow to recognize the threat from loss of energy diversity, just as they were slow to recognize the implications of the shale revolution in oil and gas.

Lawrence Makovich, vice president at IHS CERA, said the reliability of the diverse generation mix is being taken for granted in the energy policy debate and many policymakers do not understand the problems associated with the intermittency of renewables.

“When people get this notion that solar is a substitute for conventional generation, you can see a country like Germany, with the solar intensity of Anchorage, Alaska, closing nuclear plants and replacing them with solar (facilities),” he told the conference.

Gerald Anderson, CEO with DTE Energy, also said there was a problem with the structure of markets. High capital intensity and price volatility have to led to distress and instability in the electric sector. He also said there is trouble attracting capital to invest in new build.