Tag Archives: Nuclear

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London School of Economics Honours Noted Alum Dr. John Barrett

The following is a copy of the article that appears on the LSE alumni website.

John Barrett (PhD International Relations 1982) is President and Chief Executive Officer of the Canadian Nuclear Association. He has chaired the Board of Governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the UN Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice (CCPCJ).

What are the main advantages of nuclear technologies?

Their chief advantage is that they provide an enormous source of power for the clean generation of electricity. Nuclear generators emit virtually no greenhouse gases. They stand comfortably alongside hydro-electricity, substantially ahead of wind and solar, and miles ahead of natural gas-generated electricity. Coal-based electricity is off the map, its emissions are so high.

In providing clean air, nuclear power offers a means to combat climate change. Consider its value to not only to industrialised economies but particularly large emerging economies—China, India, Brazil and others—where the consumption of electricity and energy is growing substantially and relentlessly.

Beyond power production, nuclear reactors produce radioisotopes that enable cancer diagnostics and treatment, improving millions of lives. Nuclear imaging underpins the quality assurance techniques of advanced manufacturing. We can inspect high-stress assemblies such as rotor blades in jet turbines or welds in petroleum pipelines without having to cut them open.

What are the risks and threats of nuclear energy, especially in light of Fukushima? Is it possible to prevent nuclear disasters?

One should never assume that any human endeavour would succeed perfectly. Although we strive to eliminate risks, they persist. At Fukushima, water pumps failed when the earthquake knocked out a central electrical power line, and the tsunami drowned the back-up generators. Lacking cool water, three reactor cores overheated and melted.

To reactor designers, this demonstrates the value of multiple redundant layers of protection, and of complementing electric pumps with safety systems that rely on gravity. Even without electricity, a reactor can shut down safely and autonomously without over-heating.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the World Association of Nuclear Operators (WANO), which includes every power plant operator in the world, promote and enforce safety measures. Complementing this is a vigorous national nuclear regulator, operating at arm`s length from government and industry, to set the rules at the highest level and ensure compliance.

While we cannot entirely remove the risk, we can assure our citizens that we have thought through all possibilities and addressed them through defence-in-depth. We must identify, design against, control and mitigate the risks associated with highly complex technological processes. Thanks to this approach, in Canada we have had 60 years of nuclear reactor operations without fatality.

What are the main challenges you have faced in your career to date?

A complex foreign policy environment with competing interests requires careful handling. Trying to achieve consensus in a multilateral body is tough, especially when one chairs the negotiation. It takes only one dissenter to prevent an agreement. Some countries play that spoiler role happily and very well.

Challenges come from within too. Much internal discussion and self-examination is happening in foreign ministries these days. What is the role of the diplomatic mission in the 21st century, with information and reporting so constant, so de-centralized, and from so many extra-diplomatic sources?

When governments question the value and effectiveness of their foreign missions, then the focus shifts. Documenting how one achieves and measures results becomes paramount. Yet in diplomacy, results may not be quantifiable or easily measured.

What stands out most from your days at LSE?

LSE was the locus for that special time in one’s life – in this case, mine – to embark on an intellectual journey and to travel into uncharted areas of philosophy and the humanistic sciences; to think creatively and originally; to develop one’s own methodology for understanding international relations; to delve deeper than one ever had before (or for me, since) into the knowledge others purported to give. I remain quite proud of the thesis I wrote and the elucidation presented in it.

Also, the easy accessibility of the teaching staff; the camaraderie of our small band of IR enthusiasts devoting time and energy to keeping our journal, Millennium, afloat financially and filled with quality articles; and being a founder member of the British International Political Economy Group.

Who was your favourite academic?

Adam Roberts. He was my PhD supervisor before he moved to Balliol College, and before receiving his knighthood. His inimitable wit, astute observations and inquiring mind, his humanity and compassion, and his non-conformist ways put him in my pantheon of academic heroes. He has remained a lifelong friend.

Did you have a favourite place at LSE?

I had many. Before it became the Brunch Bowl, the cafeteria was characterised by long trestle tables, scraping chairs, rock cakes at 5 pence, and cups of tea at 4 pence.

Another favourite was the Beaver’s Retreat, full of professors and teaching staff with whom to debate and chat, including the redoubtable and unforgettable Philip Windsor. It was a treat to listen to his wit and wisdom, delivered in a classic radio voice.

Then there was the Millennium office, a tiny place up on the top floor of one of the buildings on Sheffield Street, just down from the White Horse. As Editor of this student-run journal of international relations, I spent quite a lot of time in that fusty eyrie.

And what of life in London?

In the late ‘70s and early ‘80s a brilliant music scene was emerging in nearby pubs and venues.  My musical tastes included being a “Young Friend of Covent Garden”, enjoying opera at 90 pence a ticket.  Living in N.1 meant that I could easily take in performances at Sadler’s Wells, walk to Highbury and the Clock End to watch Arsenal, or set off by foot or short bus ride to the Aldwych and the LSE. 

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Canadian Chamber of Commerce Podcast: Nuclear Power and the Environment

CANADIAN CHAMBER OF COMMERCE PODCAST: Nuclear Power and the Environment
Host: Katrina Marsh, Director of Environment and Natural Resources Policy
Experts: Dr. John Barrett, President, CNA, and John Stewart, Director of Policy and Research, CNA

Air Date: May 6, 2014

SUMMARY: Host Katrina Marsh sits down with Dr. John Barrett, President, CNA, and John Stewart, Director of Policy and Research, CNA, to talk about how Canadian nuclear technology fits into the global push for cleaner energy. Canadian nuclear reactors not only have lower life-cycle emissions than solar panels or geothermal systems, but can also act as fuel ‘recyclers’ by re-purposing waste made by other reactors.

Listen to the podcast on the Chamber site.

Or read the transcript below.

Announcer: Hello and welcome to “The Voice of Canadian Business”, The Canadian Chamber of Commerce’s bi-monthly podcast. In 15 minutes or less we discuss the key issues facing the Canadian economy and businesses across the country.

Katrina Marsh: Hello, my name is Katrina Marsh. I’m The Canadian Chamber of Commerce’s Director of Natural Resource and Environmental Policy and I’m hosting today’s podcast. So welcome. Nuclear power is a fascinating part of the world’s current energy mix. On the one hand, it provides a reliable source of low carbon energy; Canada has a strong home grown industry that includes uranium mining, production of medical isotopes or even the design of nuclear reactors. On the other hand, many people are deeply concerned about the safety of nuclear power, particularly in the wake of the Fukushima disaster in Japan. So today my guests are going to be speaking about Canada’s nuclear industry and its role in Canada’s energy mix. On the one hand I have Dr. John Barrett who’s President and CEO of the Canadian Nuclear Association and then John Stewart who’s the Canadian Nuclear Association’s Director of Policy and Research. Thank you both for joining me today.

John Barrett: You’re very welcome.

John Stewart: Thanks, Katrina.

Katrina Marsh: So just a start, can you give us a brief primer on the nuclear industry in Canada? Who are the main players and firms?

John Stewart: Katrina, it’s really been a progression over six or seven decades from the public sector to more players and more private investment. This technology, power generation in particular, really started as a collaboration of three different public sector firms; an Ontario Crown Corporation, a Saskatchewan Crown Corporation and a Federal Crown Corporation. There have been more applications over the years; nuclear medicine started getting developed in a big way in Canada in the sixties. Canada pioneered that technology, and since then we’ve had food sterilization and many other applications, and we’ve had the creation of Bruce Power, which is running the largest nuclear plant in the world. We have a lot of players now; our membership is a lot of engineering firms, laboratories, testing outfits, there’s some human resource organizations. We’re seeing more and more private engagement and more and more players.

Katrina Marsh: How does nuclear power currently feed into Canada’s energy mix?

John Stewart: Essentially the electricity sectors’ base load carrier, particularly post coal and particularly in Ontario, which is the largest and most industrialized province with the highest electricity demand. Nuclear reactors run very steadily and consistently around the clock. That’s why their economics are so good. One of the reason’s so they provide the supply for the power demand that’s there day and night, summer and winter, as opposed to things like natural gas and hydro that can be ramped up and ramped down over the daily demand cycle.

Katrina Marsh: So it kind of provides electricity that’s always on, day or night, doesn’t move. It just kind of provides what’s called the base load?

John Stewart: Right.

John Barrett: You know if you look at a couple of websites you can get a good insight, visual insight, into what is the energy mix in Ontario at any given time. One of the websites is IESO and that is an independent electricity supply market but what they have is an up-to-date within-the-hour presentation of what exactly in Ontario is that mix so you see how much of the electricity is being supplied by nuclear power generation, how much by hydro and by others. That will give you a very clear idea that nuclear power is shouldering in Ontario at any given time at least fifty per cent. It sometimes dips to under forty per cent but it’s up to sixty at various times and as John Stewart says that’s why it makes it so reliable: it carries the base load for Ontario. Without that, as Duncan Hawthorne, who’s head of Bruce Power, likes to say, “You’ve got a huge gap and what would fill that gap?”

Katrina Marsh: One aspect of nuclear power, I think, that’s been getting a lot of attention is the fact that it doesn’t emit any greenhouse gas emissions. I personally was pretty surprised to learn that on a life cycle basis nuclear power actually had less emissions than photovoltaic solar panel systems as well as geothermal systems. Could you comment on the role nuclear power is expected to play in Canada or the global fight against climate change?

John Stewart: You’re absolutely right. It’s very low emitting, Katrina, and not just AGHGs but also in particulates and sulfur oxides and nitrous oxides so the things that actually make the air dirty and bad to breathe as well as the stuff that makes the climate heat up. One of the trends that’s going on in the electric power system, particularly with more rechargeable devices, and this will really happen with a smarter grid and more electric cars, is that the tops are being clipped off of the daily cycle of demand so that the demand cycle is being leveled out and flattened and that favours base load and makes it easier to use things like nuclear that run around the clock and less necessary to fill in the spikes in demand with fossil fuels. If you’re ramping up and ramping down with hydro each day, that’s less of a problem. But if you’re using natural gas, that’s half the emissions that coal would have, that’s a lot less than coal but that’s vastly more than solar, wind or nuclear. So the more we move towards rechargeable devices, the more we move to a smarter grid, the more tendency you’re going to have for base load to be a higher percentage of the overall output and if that base load is nuclear you’ll have a cleaner electricity system overall.

Katrina Marsh: So by rechargeable devices you’re talking about electric cars?

John Stewart: Anything you plug in at night basically. If you’re charging things at night when power demand is low and using them during the day, if there are more devices on rechargeable batteries, you tend to have a flatter demand cycle and that’s a good thing on average.

Katrina Marsh: So nuclear power is well suited to what the future of electricity demand is going to look like in Canada in terms of just a flat line all the time rather than these spikes up and down that you see in seasonal variations and day and night variations?

John Stewart: Well, flatter, and particularly if you picture a world with a lot of electric vehicles. We’re some way away from that but electric vehicles that have large batteries in them and that are being driven in the day and charged at night make a big, big difference to what the daily demand cycle is going to look like. And a very positive one. It’s one of the overlooked but very important advantages of going to electric cars.

Katrina Marsh: Obviously climate is a big environmental issue but it’s of course not the only one. Nuclear power does have other environmental impacts associated with it, particularly in relation to the wastes and, some cases, water. What do you think is the benefit of such a low greenhouse gas generating source of emissions compared to some of these other environmental impacts?

John Stewart: I can say pretty much without a lot of qualification that nuclear wins on every count. I mean SOx and NOx emissions and particulates are very, very low and we’re getting data right now that will confirm that one more time. But more importantly, and this is especially important in a lot of densely populated countries and it’s even important in Southern Ontario, land use is very small for nuclear. The land footprint of a plant like the Darlington plant is a tiny fraction of what you’d need to put renewables in of the same capacity for that kind of power, and we’re talking about gigawatts of power to supply Ontario. You can’t get so much power out of such a small piece of land and often out of so little water use as you can with nuclear. Now on the waste front, it’s often said that this industry has a waste challenge, but that’s only true because our waste is solid. If we could grind – I say this semi-jokingly – if we ground our waste and blew it in the atmosphere like other fuels have been known to do, and still do, nobody would say we have a waste problem. We produce solid fuel, of which we account for every kilogram, and which we pay in advance for storing and decommissioning.

John Barrett: And it is stored on the sites of the power generators so it’s not being distributed across the country. It’s right there on the site.

John Stewart: Right. If the waste that comes out of burning natural gas didn’t go into the atmosphere but was packaged up in little cylinders which the natural gas industry had to subsequently manage indefinitely, the natural gas industry would have a bigger waste problem than we do. But it goes into the earth’s atmosphere instead.

Katrina Marsh: So Canada has its own nuclear technology, the CANDU reactor. Could you just describe a bit how this particular reactor differs, maybe in terms of its environmental impact from some other technologies?

John Barrett: Yes it is. It’s a homegrown technology and a very interesting one that has a number of years since it first saw the light of day. One of the important things about it is that it uses natural uranium so we don’t have to enrich it. In fact, all of the light water reactors used in many other countries require enrichment. Now why is that important? Well having been the Ambassador at the Atomic Energy Agency, we spent a lot of time there, Canada and other countries, dealing with the existence of enrichment capabilities in a country in which the credentials for non-proliferation, nuclear non-proliferation, are particularly strong. That country is Iran. They were developing a very highly sophisticated enrichment capability for no particular uses that could be justified. Enrichment is also the way that you, if you want, and you have to go through a number of hoops and hurdles over hurdles, but you can get to weapons’ grade materials. CANDU reactors don’t have to do any of that, so we in Canada don’t have an indigenous enrichment capability. So there’s one sort of environmental and non-proliferation dimension. And the other thing that’s interesting about the CANDU reactor is that there’s a lot of work now, and interest in, what they call advanced fuels. So you use unprocessed, I mean unenriched, natural uranium, but it’s not the only fuel you can use in these reactors. Now they’re looking at can you use uranium that has been passed through a reactor and then can be recycled through. So you’re getting a recycling component which is a good reduction of waste product. Another thing is it can burn plutonium mixes. So the British, for example, are interested in it because they have plutonium from their naval propulsion and weapons’ programs. They want to get rid of this. Plutonium’s not a nice product for sure. If you mix that in with other oxides you can produce a fuel that the CANDU can burn. And going even into the future there’s a possibility of not using uranium but thorium. And thorium does not produce deficient products in the same way as uranium does. And the CANDU can burn that too, so China’s quite interested and India because they have thorium.

Katrina Marsh: So if I get this straight the CANDU reactor is basically a fuel recycler for the nuclear industry. You can take spent fuels or even alternative fuels and use it in the CANDU reactor, which isn’t the same as some of the other technologies out there. Are there any places in the world currently using the technology that way or is that more future looking?

John Stewart: Yeah, there are. The Chinese are currently using CANDU reactors to burn mixed oxide fuels that have old plutonium, you know, and other materials in it. But the real future is in fuel re-use. The way we currently run nuclear reactors, we only get a little bit of the energy out of the fuel bundle. And there’s a remark made in the US Department of Energy and elsewhere that there’s really no such thing as nuclear fuel waste; there’s just nuclear fuel that we haven’t learned how to use properly. The potential to get the other 95 per cent of the energy out of that fuel is enormous. Right now, uranium’s relatively abundant and relatively affordable and probably will be for quite a while. But if we wanted to make a practice of reusing that fuel and reducing our waste stream, we could. And there’s quite a bit of work being done in that area, and CANDUS are one of the best ways to do that.

Katrina Marsh: In terms of what’s happening in Canada, what are some of the key policy issues that are facing the nuclear industry in Canada today?

John Barrett: Well, probably we should start with the province in which the nuclear power is used the most, and that’s Ontario. The two provinces using nuclear power are New Brunswick and Ontario but the lion’s share of reactors that the utilities have are based in Ontario. The Ontario government has its Long Term Energy Plan and it updates that Plan. And it is within that, that the members of our industry, particularly those who are the utilities, sort of make their decisions and shape their future. And so one of the policy decisions that has come from the Ontario government fairly recently at the end of last year was to refurbish; to re-service and redo the existing reactors, ten existing reactors, to get longer life out of them and have them going for another 20-25 years and beyond that. So that’s a very important policy framer we can start with. Another question is that of liability. It’s always been on the cards: the question of what happens should there be any type of accident and there is damage. Who pays for it? Etc. In Canada it’s always been the operator. The operator has to, that is the utility power operator, has to put money aside, funds aside, for the possibility that they may be liable for something. And what’s going before Parliament now, the government has introduced to raise that limit. I think a part of that is just a recognition that in the reality of today you need a higher limit and the utilities are quite in favour of it. They’re okay with it. They see the merit of that and are prepared to pay their premiums for their insurance and raise the liability so that people feel as if there is this industry is covering all aspects of its work, from waste, decommissioning reactors, waste liabilities, all aspects, safety, regulation. It’s the most regulated industry probably in Canada, maybe since, beside the airline and aerospace industries, for having to get it right and be watched all the time and having to account for everything that one does.

Katrina Marsh: Well, we’ve come up to our time. We promised our audience fifteen minutes or less.

John Barrett: If the listeners do want to know more about the Canadian Nuclear Association, about our members, and what we do, and some of the research that John Stewart is involved in; we’re looking at fuel cycles and greenhouse gas emissions, we look at the socioeconomic impact of the industry, the jobs that are created, the work created, especially in Ontario, please go to: www.cna.ca.

Katrina Marsh: Well, thanks so much for sitting down with me today.

Announcer: You’ve been listening to “The Voice of Business” The Canadian Chamber of Commerce’s podcast. For more information on this or any other issue please visit: chamber.ca.

 

 

 

 

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Uranium: A Sustainable Resource

By Erin Polka
Communications Officer
Canadian Nuclear Association

One of my projects at the CNA has been to organize screenings of the movie Pandora’s Promise at universities across Canada.

At each university, there are a number of departments in which the movie could potentially resonate, including science, engineering, political science and environmental studies. Some universities have a department dedicated to the study of sustainable resources, where I would have expected to find nuclear energy advocates.

On the contrary.

The term “sustainable” has become synonymous with “renewable” among a significant number of students studying sustainable resources. For the most part, they are focused on water, wind and solar power, and have the tendency to neglect or even attack nuclear energy.

To set the record straight, it should be noted that sustainable energy has a much broader umbrella as it includes renewables such as water, wind, and solar, as well as non-renewables such as nuclear, which can be used as an energy source for many years to come.

By definition, sustainable energy provides the energy needs of today without compromising the energy needs of future generations.

Canada is a country so rich in uranium that it can continue to provide the fuel for nuclear energy for hundreds, if not thousands of years. With known resources of 572,000 tonnes of U3O8, Canada has approximately 10% of the world’s uranium, less only than Australia (31%) and Kazakhstan (12%).

In addition, Canada has the option to reprocess used fuel, as is being done already in many European countries, Russia and Japan. Moreover, Canada’s nuclear plants have the ability to breed Thorium, which is even more abundant in Canada than uranium.

Clearly, nuclear energy is sustainable. Why, then, does it continue to be omitted from consideration in the sustainable energy mix at Canadian universities?

A number of factors are likely at play, including general misinformation regarding the benefits (and risks) of nuclear energy, the trendy nature of renewables, and the fact that nuclear forces a division among those who consider themselves environmentalists and they choose to avoid this division rather than confront it.

Moving forward, we will continue to reach out to students studying sustainable resources, as I believe that while many of them will only ever endorse renewables, there is an opportunity to educate and engage those who simply haven’t considered nuclear.

Nuclear Energy

Meeting Governor Haley and Opportunities in the Carolinas’ Nuclear Cluster

By Dr. John Barrett
President
Canadian Nuclear Association

South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley and CNA President John Barrett.

South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley and CNA President John Barrett.

On April 1, I was invited by the Canadian Chamber of Commerce to attend a dinner to meet the Governor of South Carolina, Nikki Haley.  It proved to be a very interesting evening on a number of fronts.

First, Governor Haley: first elected in November 2010, she has since then, according to the promotional material, “worked tirelessly to create jobs and to improve the overall business environment in South Carolina. Under her tenure as Governor more than 44,500 jobs have been created and over $11 billion has been invested in South Carolina.”

I can believe every bit of that.  She gave a strong, spirited and convincing presentation about her efforts to bring South Carolina out of the doldrums, languishing with an 11 per cent unemployment rate, to a state bursting with drive, pride and accomplishment.  A state on the upswing economically, full of energy.

And I use the word “energy” with special meaning.  Many of our CNA members will already know of the “Carolinas’ Nuclear Cluster,” a hub of nuclear expertise, supplying more than 11 per cent of the United States’ nuclear power generation.  This nuclear cluster has been described as a consortium of industry, higher education and non-profit organizations working together to support energy and economic development.

More to the point, North Carolina has five nuclear reactors in operation, providing 32 per cent of the state’s electricity generation.  South Carolina has seven operating reactors, with 52 per cent of the state’s total electric generation — and two new units under construction.

If there’s a region that would be a natural partner to Southern Ontario’s own nuclear cluster, it would be the Carolinas, with South Carolina showing its optimism in the future of nuclear with two new builds.

Speaking with Governor Haley afterwards, she expressed considerable interest in the Canadian nuclear industry and its priorities and prospects.  She insisted that I come and visit her soon to continue the conversation and see what opportunities for collaboration there might be in the Carolinas’ Nuclear Cluster for our CNA members.

This southern hospitality was further extended by the former U.S. Ambassador to Canada, David Wilkins, who sat next to me at dinner.  He said he’d be happy to introduce me to the folks in the South Carolina nuclear industry, since he knew them all personally.

I checked in the next day with OCI President Ron Oberth to see whether he’d been to the Carolinas to visit their nuclear industry.  Indeed he had, but he thought it’d be very useful for the CNA to visit, especially since the invitations were coming from the highest level in the state.

So this is now on my list of places to visit and relationships to build on behalf of CNA members.  If any of you reading this have advice or insights on what opportunities and business connections we can forge with the U.S. nuclear industry in the American southeast, please let me know.

CNA President John Barrett and U.S. Ambassador to Canada Bruce Heyman

CNA President John Barrett and U.S. Ambassador to Canada Bruce Heyman

I should add that the dinner provided an opportunity for me to meet the U.S. Ambassador-designate to Canada, Bruce Heyman, and his wife, Vicky.  He presents his letters of accreditation to the Governor General at Rideau Hall on April 8, after which he will officially take up his ambassadorial duties.  He is arriving brimming with enthusiasm and eagerness to get to know Canada and Canadians.  We wish him and his family all the very best in their new assignment, and I am looking forward to meeting with him once he is officially accredited.

Some quick points on South Carolina:

-South Carolina’s four existing nuclear power plants supplied 57 per cent of the state’s net electricity generation in 2013; two new reactors are under construction at the V.C. Summer Nuclear Station site in Fairfield County. (Source: US EIA. http://www.eia.gov/state/?sid=SC)

-In the Carolinas (North and South), the nuclear energy industry directly provides 29,000 jobs, has more than $2.2 billion in direct payroll , and more than $950 million paid in state and local taxes, according to a 2013 analysis by Clemson University. (Source: NEI.http://neinuclearnotes.blogspot.ca/2014/03/why-should-you-consider-career-in.html)

-The NRC decision to approve new build, back in 2012, was the first construction licence issued since 1978. (Source: Media. http://thehill.com/blogs/e2-wire/e2-wire/219277-regulators-approve-construction-of-second-new-nuclear-reactors-in-decades)

Here’s a quick profile of the Virgil C. Summer Nuclear Generating Station: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Virgil_C._Summer_Nuclear_Generating_Station

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It’s Business as Usual at the Point Lepreau Nuclear Generating Station

By Heather Kleb
Vice President
Canadian Nuclear Association

On March 25, 2014, I had the pleasure of meeting with staff of the Point Lepreau Generating Station in New Brunswick. You may recall that that was the day that a nor’easter hit much of Canada’s East Coast; a blizzard with winds reaching upwards of 150 km/h. The storm, described by meteorologists as a “winter hurricane,” or “a nasty spring weather bomb,” also hit Point Lepreau, where the station is located on the northern shore of the Bay of Fundy.

PL image

Despite being hit by the worst storm in over 10 years, it was business as usual at the Point Lepreau Generating Station. Staff went about their daily business in the calm, deliberate manner that they are accustomed to. Control room operators adjusted their plans in anticipation of the storm, planning to review them more frequently as the storm develops; their goal to continue to provide safe, reliable power to New Brunswickers. The station is the backbone of New Brunswick’s electrical grid, providing 25-35 per cent of the provinces’ power supply, but as much as 40 per cent when conditions demand it.

Heather at PL

The significance of their response to the storm was not lost on station staff. Having just come through a rigorous assessment of lessons learned from the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, the station had recently reaffirmed its ability to respond to seismic, fire, flood and extreme weather events. As you can tell from this photo of me in my Personal Protective Equipment, all was well in the turbine hall that day, as well as the rest of the station.

CNA2014

Nuclear Science Whiz Kid Taylor Wilson Explores Fusion Potential at CNA2014

Physics wunderkind Taylor Wilson astounded the science world when, at age 14, he became the youngest person in history to produce fusion. The University of Nevada-Reno offered a home for his early experiments when Wilson’s worried parents realized he had every intention of building his reactor in the garage.

Wilson now intends to fight nuclear terror in the nation’s ports, with a homemade radiation detector priced an order of magnitude lower than most current devices. In 2012, Wilson’s dreams received a boost when he became a recipient of the $100,000 Thiel Prize.

At CNA2014, Wilson discusses ways to revolutionize the way we produce energy, fight cancer, and combat terrorism using nuclear energy.