Tag Archives: Radiation

CNA Responds Nuclear Energy

Just the Facts, Ma’am. Just the Facts.

You’d think the facts would persuade people like the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment (CAPE) . But that appears not to be the case.

Gideon Forman, their executive director, apparently told health authorities in Haliburton region that kids living near nuclear energy facilities face higher risks of leukemia.  Forman, who is not a medical doctor, cited the widely discredited German study Kinderkrebs in der umgebung von Kernkraftwerken (KiKK), published in 2008. (The title translates to “Childhood Cancer in the Environment of Nuclear Power Plants.”)

Here’s the problem. It’s just not true.

In fact, several follow-up studies have reviewed the KiKK work. Every one of them concluded that the kids’ leukemia risk could NOT be blamed on the nearby nuclear energy facility.

Even CAPE acknowledges in its own literature that the German study proved nothing: “The authors state that the reason for the elevated risk is unexplained, as the levels of radioactive emissions from these facilities are considered too low to explain the increase in childhood leukemia.” (Source:  Cathy Vakil and Linda Harvey, Human Health Implications of the Nuclear Energy Industry, p. 62)

As the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission said in its review of the KiKK studies, “any claims of a link between childhood leukemia and radiation from nuclear power plants are unfounded and not supported by a wealth of evidence resulting from multiple epidemiology studies.”

And as the commission chairman, Dr. Michael Binder, wrote last August in a letter to the Hamilton Spectator  specifically rebutting CAPE’s allegations, “The truth is that studies have shown over and over that people living near nuclear power plants are as healthy as the rest of the population.”

Forman also cited scientific studies to show that “all reactors release radioactive material routinely” but failed completely to put this into perspective.  The truth is that nuclear energy facilities generally add less than 0.1% to the background radiation that occurs naturally.

In fact, Canadians receive over 100 times more radiation dose naturally through the food we eat than from Canada’s nuclear energy facilities.

Those are the facts. Shouldn’t doctors deal in facts rather than fiction?

Nuclear Education Nuclear Energy Nuclear Medicine Nuclear Pride Nuclear Safety

Here’s to your Health, Canada!

Today is Canada Health Day as well as the first anniversary of the TalkNUclear.ca blog!

We launched one year ago today because we felt it fitting to mark the important contributions nuclear technology has made to health in Canada and around the world.

Our nuclear medicine ad in the Canadian Cancer Society’s feature in the Toronto Star, March 29.

It isn’t hard to understand the impact of medical isotopes. Nowhere is nuclear technology more widely accepted than in the medical field.  Canada supplies a significant amount of the world’s medical isotopes for nuclear medicine, which are used every day in thousands of procedures here at home and around the world.

Last month, in honour of Daffodil Month, the CNA teamed up with the Canadian Cancer Society to promote the excellent work they do to support Canadians living with cancer. Today, we’re happy to share the good news released in the Cancer Society report on cancer statistics in Canada.  The report found that the cancer death rate in Canada is going down. Nearly 100,000 lives have been saved over the last 20 years. This is attributed in part to education on preventative lifestyle measures like not smoking, exercising, maintaining a healthy diet, and avoiding over-exposure to the sun. Improvements in cancer screening and treatments have made a difference as well, thanks to radiation treatments which have evolved and improved over the years:

“In the 1970s, computers were introduced into treatment planning. Radiology developed CAT, MRI and PET scans so that tumors could be targeted with precision. This was followed by intensity modulated and image guided radiation therapy (IMRT and IGRT) machinery which could use these new diagnostic advances to now deliver the dose with pin-point accuracy while avoiding normal tissues.”

-          Roger F. Robison, M.D., Vice-chair, American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) History Committee, Bloomington, Ind. Source

Radiologists can now deliver radiation treatment more precisely, targeting only cancer cells. More effective radiotherapy, means more Canadians surviving cancer.

Nuclear medicine is just one example of how nuclear technology has benefited the health and wellbeing of Canadians.  Beyond medical isotopes, there’s gamma processing to improve, for example, food safety, sterilizing cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, and medical devices, and there’s the health benefit of clean nuclear energy for the air we breathe.

Nuclear energy in Canada diverts a potential 90 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions per year that would result from the same amount of electricity generated by fossil-based sources. Greenhouse gasses contribute to climate change and smog – smog and air pollution have a huge impact on the health of Canadians and the global community.

According to Pollution Probe’s Smog Primer:

“Globally, it is estimated that by 2020 a total of 700,000 premature deaths from particulate* exposure could be prevented each year if emission reduction policies were implemented. The majority, as many as 563,000 prevented deaths, would be in developing countries, while the other 138,000 would be in developed nations, such as Canada.”

*’Particulate’ is a general name given to a tiny solid or liquid particle or piece of matter. It usually refers to particles in the air (airborne particulates).

So whether it’s beating cancer, keeping our food and products safe, and our air clean, on this Canada Health Day, we’re saying thank you to the Canadian nuclear community for the historical and ongoing contributions it’s made to our quality of life today.

Learn more about the daily benefits of nuclear technology at NUnuclear.ca and join the TalkNUclear conversation on Facebook and Twitter.

And in celebration of the one-year anniversary of the TalkNUclear.ca blog, here are the top posts of the year!

 

Happy Canada Health Day from your Canadian Nuclear Association!

 

Nuclear Education Nuclear Energy Nuclear Outreach

Nuclear 101

Today and tomorrow, TalkNUclear is attending the Canadian Nuclear Society’s (CNS) brand new Nuclear 101 course. It’s described as “a background outreach course for non-technical people working in the industry” but it’s also good for anyone interested in obtaining an understanding of nuclear science, issues, opportunities, challenges, risks, and benefits.

The two-day course includes three modules: the nuclear fuel cycle, a historical review, and understanding the effects of radiation and the associated risks.

Nuclear Fuel Cycle

Basic introduction to nuclear theory and how nuclear power stations work.  An overview of the nuclear fuel cycle (exploration, mining, processing enrichment and nuclear power generation), nuclear waste storage and reprocessing.

Historical Review

History of nuclear power and a review of the different generations of nuclear reactors, including current developments.  Review of nuclear accidents.  The energy challenge and nuclear power’s role in supplying power worldwide.

Radiation and Risk

Ionizing radiation and its effect on the environment and the human body.  Overview of safety, particularly in the context of nuclear accidents.  Risk and the public perception of nuclear power.

Sounds like a good course, doesn’t it? What do you think? Would you be interested in attending Nuclear 101 to learn the fundamentals about how our industry and the technology works, and about its many contributions to society, and how about its exciting history? Let us know in the comments.

Nuclear Education Nuclear Safety

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.

CNA2012

CNA2012 Update – Exclusive Workshops

Wednesday Workshops at the
2012 CNA Conference and Trade Show

Kick off your Conference experience with a Wednesday Workshop! Choose an invaluable update on the most relevant regulatory and legislative changes on the horizon, or equip yourself with the tools you need to have a meaningful dialogue with stakeholders about real and perceived risks about Radiation.

Space is limited. Register for either workshop today.

 Come for the Workshop, Stay for the Conference

REGISTER NOW

 CNA Regulatory Affairs Workshop – 2012
Feb 22, 13:00 – 17:00
Westin Hotel (Oak Room)
#CNARegsWksp

The purpose of this year’s Regulatory Affairs Workshop will be to share information on new regulatory developments pertaining to the protection of the environment and, in particular, the protection of water.

Guest speakers will include federal and provincial regulatory officials whose mandate includes the protection of water.  Dr. Patsy Thompson will be discussing proposed improvements to the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission’s regulatory framework for environmental protection under the Nuclear Safety and Control Act.  Beverley Thorpe, of the Credit Valley, Toronto and Region and Central Lake Ontario Source Protection Committee, will be discussing new policy direction for source water protection under Ontario’s Clean Water Act.  Heather McCready will be discussing how Environment Canada’s Environmental Enforcement Directorate is working to minimize threats to the natural environment under the Fisheries Act.

Workshop participants will be provided with an overview of the mandate and legislation that govern these activities and the opportunity to ask questions about the new, and existing, regulatory requirements.

Max. 40 participants

Register Now

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Talking about Radiation: “Are We Safe? Can We Trust You?”     
Feb 22, 12:00 – 17:00
Westin Hotel (Quebec Room)
#CNACommsWksp

This workshop, facilitated by Decision Partners, will provide participants with an understanding of radiation science at a lay level, and the principles of strategic risk communications for communicating about this complex topic.  Understanding Risk Communications and explaining health risks associated Radiation was identified as a key learning following events at Fukushima. The workshop will enhance the preparedness of the participants – including industry workers, stakeholders and governments – in explaining types of radiation to people from outside the nuclear industry.

Workshop participants will also hear from Mr. John Roberts and Ms. Andrea Marshall from Aurora Energy Ltd., who will share a case study based on their company’s experience communicating with people in Labrador about radiation and uranium mining.  Participants will leave the workshop with a toolkit of tested communications messages and a better understanding of best practices for engaging stakeholders in a community dialogue.

Max. 40 participants

Working lunch provided

Register Now

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Download the entire Conference Agenda HERE (now includes #hashtags!)

What the #hashtag?
The # symbol, called a hashtag, is used to mark keywords or topics in a Tweet. It was created organically by Twitter users as a way to categorize messages.

Join the conversation on Twitter. Tweet using #cnagm2012 or the session #hashtag found on the Agenda.

Meet the Speakers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thank you to our SPONSORS

See you in February!

 

Sponsor Spotlight

Checkout the Sponsor Spotlight on Ontario Power Generation. Click here!

CNA2012

CNA2012 Update – Network with Industry Leaders + Exciting Workshops


If you have already registered for the 2012 Canadian Nuclear Association Conference and Trade Show, you will be in the company of industry leaders and innovators for three days of learning, networking and celebration of this great industry.

If you haven’t registered yet, don’t delay!

CLICK HERE to register for the 2012 Canadian Nuclear Association Conference and Trade Show NOW!

Download the complete 2012 CNA Conference and Trade Show AGENDA here.

Workshops at the 2012 Conference

Don’t miss your chance to sign up for one of two optional workshops. Seating is limited – Sign up now.

Wednesday February 22

13:00 – 17:00

CNA Regulatory Affairs Workshop

To provide an update on some of the new Federal and Provincial regulatory developments affecting Canada’s nuclear industry.  The workshop will include presentations by representatives of key Federal and Provincial agencies.
Max. 40 participants. $50 additional cost to participate.

Wednesday February 22

12:00 – 17:00

Talking about Radiation: “Are We Safe? Can We Trust You?”

The workshop will give participants an understanding of key challenges in communicating about radiation, radioactivity and associated environmental and human health risks; and enhance preparedness to address these challenges effectively through applied leading practice strategic risk communications methods, combined with relevant on-the-ground experience.
(Working lunch to be provided)
Max. 40 participants. $50 additional cost to participate.

The full Conference program includes keynote speakers, panels, Canadian and global nuclear industry updates and more. Download the Conference agenda here.

See you in February!