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Saskatoon Shines

By John Stewart
Director, Policy and Research
Canadian Nuclear Association

Cobalt-60 machine
Sylvia Fedoruk and Dr. Harold Johns with an early cobalt-60 machine.

Northern Saskatchewan has been leading in nuclear technology since the early 1950s.  That’s when researchers at the University of Saskatchewan pioneered cobalt-based therapy for cancer.

One of those researchers was a student named Sylvia Fedoruk, the medical physicist and oncologist who also contributed to the development of nuclear medical scanning systems.

Today, the Saskatoon-based Fedoruk Centre for Nuclear Innovation funds a wide range of research initiatives in nuclear technology, many of them in the health sciences.

Fedoruk centre
The 2014 nuclearFACTS event on November 20.

Last week the Fedoruk Centre hosted two back-to-back events.  On November 20, nuclearFACTS presented funded projects in nuclear research, development and training in Saskatchewan in the areas of nuclear medicine, nuclear energy and safety, materials  research and environmental studies.  It drew a total of about 80 participants.

And the following day, the Accelerate workshop, which CNA proudly sponsored, provided a day of discussion of nuclear research, innovation and financing.  The researchers shared knowledge of fields from veterinary medicine to applied physics to venture finance.

Accelerate workshop
The inaugural Accelerate workshop on November 21.

A central theme coming out of this wide-ranging discussion was that nuclear technologies are “both new and old.”  Like steam engines in the 1820s, electricity in the 1920s, or telephony in the 1980s, nuclear today has been around for decades – yet may be just beginning to find its most powerful applications.