Tag Archives: Technology

Nuclear Energy Nuclear R&D

An Integral Part of Today’s Technologies

By John Stewart
Director, Policy and Research
Canadian Nuclear Association

A business-school professor made an interesting remark to me recently. “Nuclear technology let itself get branded from the start, in the 1940s, as being unique and special,” he said. “But that may have hurt the technology. It helped your critics to argue that nuclear is uniquely and specially dangerous. From there, it was easy to say that nuclear needed uniquely, specially restrictive rules around it – or even to say that there’s no safe amount of nuclear, period.”

He’s right. And we could spend a while discussing his point.

But there’s another way in which nuclear’s perceived uniqueness-and-specialness hurts our industry: It makes it easy to  imagine that nuclear companies, facilities and professionals are hidden away somewhere in isolated shiny silos that don’t interact with, or affect, the rest of our economy.

The figure below shatters that image. It was made by the consultancy SECOR to illustrate some (in fact, just a few) of the working linkages between this country’s nuclear-related public research facilities and other industry sectors.

Some Linkages Between Public Nuclear S&T Facilities and Other Industry Sectors
Some linkages between public nuclear science and technology facilities and other industry sectors (CNBC= Canadian Neutron Beam Centre, CLS=Canadian Light Source, SRC= Saskatchewan Research Council, UNB= University of New Brunswick).

Keep in mind that this web of linkages was never fully drawn (data from several important universities did not get included).  And that it does not include research facilities in industry organizations like Ontario Power Generation, Kinectrics-Candesco, and many other CNA member companies that have intimate working relationships with non-nuclear industries.

Nuclear is an integral part of today’s technologies, from crops and livestock to jet engines. CNA made this and other points this month in a submission to the federal government’s Science, Technology and Innovation Strategy Consultation. Our submission also looks at the economic case for public research infrastructure, whether in telecommunications, defence, agriculture, or nuclear. Check it out here.

Nuclear Policy

Kicking Off the Discussion for a Policy Exercise

By John Stewart
Director, Policy and Research
Canadian Nuclear Association

A policy development forum recently asked CNA to identify a few key factors that shaped the development of Canada’s nuclear industry. We came up with eight. They range from the Western allies’ war needs in the 1940s (which invested us in uranium-based fission reactor technology) to Canada’s advanced cultures of medicine, public health and safety (which give us a culture of reactor safety, leadership in medical applications of nuclear, and leadership in irradiation and food safety).

The interesting thing about this analysis is how many advantages it reveals. Our industry faces challenges (notably cheap natural gas, lack of carbon pricing, and the problems of sustaining top-notch science and technology infrastructure). But the list of strengths is strikingly longer and more impressive than the list of challenges.

Even in a world where many reactor technology options are in development, it’s hard to beat a design series like the CANDUs that are familiar to regulators, with long track records of safety, reliability, and affordability. Then there’s the proliferation-resistance advantage of these designs, which is not diminishing and is probably growing as an asset in the 21st century. Canadian reactors offer the developing world an ideal combination of affordable, minimal-carbon electricity plus proliferation safety. And that Canadian nuclear brand is further strengthened by Canada’s reputation in safety, medicine and public health internationally.

Which brings up another asset on the list: Canada’s perennial and recognized openness to worldwide investment, technology and talent, and the tens of thousands of highly educated newcomers here who have links to foreign markets and practices. While this is a strength across the board in Canada’s economy, it’s especially powerful in a sector like nuclear that depends on global best practices and global market reach.

These thoughts are a very early step in a policy exercise that we’ll look forward to blogging about over the next few months.

Nuclear Education Nuclear Outreach

Canada Wins Guiness World Record for Largest Science Lesson

We did it, Canada! On October 12, 2012, to kick off National Science & Technology Week, participants across the country got together at multiple locations to go out for the Guiness World Record for the largest practical science lesson.

TalkNUclear participated with the students at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT), one of Canada’s fastest-growing universities, by a group of 46 students all from the highly regarded Nuclear Engineering program.

Read about the science lession at UOIT here: National S&T Week Kicks Off With A Record Breaking Science Lesson

NSTW_ScienceLessonRecord

The largest practical science lesson at multiple venues involved 13,701 participants and was achieved by Science.gc.ca (Canada) at 88 locations across Canada, on 12 October 2012.

All lessons began at 1 pm EST and included 2 experiments which demonstrated Bernoulli’s Principle on air pressure.

http://www.guinnessworldrecords.com/world-records/2000/largest-practical-science-lesson-%28multiple-venues%29

Nuclear Education Nuclear R&D

National S&T Week Kicks Off With A Record Breaking Science Lesson

This year, to kick off National Science and Technology Week, Canada decided to do something special. By organizing a science experiment to be conducted simultaneously across over 135 locations nationwide, and involving well over 3,000 participants, we collectively submitted an attempt to the Guinness Book of World Records for the largest science experiment ever conducted! Final numbers of participants will be available in a few weeks to verify that the record was set.

National Science and Technology Week spans October 12 – 21, 2012, and the record-setting experiment took place at precisely 1:00pm EST on opening day. This special week raises awareness of the importance of science and technology in our daily lives, and celebrates Canada’s historic and ongoing role as a leader in technological innovation.

Here at the Canadian Nuclear Association, we are proud to celebrate this week. Canada is one of the world’s nuclear pioneers, and continues to find success with advancements of its historically innovative CANDU reactor technology. In addition to producing approximately 15% of national electricity supply, CANDU reactors are also used internationally in six other countries.

Canada is also a chief innovator in nuclear medicine technology, having given birth to the use of Cobalt-60 as a powerful isotope in radiation therapy, as well as producing between 20-30% of the world’s supply of medical isotopes used for treatment and diagnostic imaging in almost 60 countries.

The record-setting experiment was performed at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT), one of Canada’s fastest-growing universities, by a group of 46 students all from the highly regarded Nuclear Engineering program. These students represent the bright, young generation upcoming in Canada’s vibrant nuclear industry, and their enthusiasm is what made this event possible. In fact, of all the venues involved in this nationwide experiment, almost all were educational facilities!

As we await the announcement on the success of the experiment, we continue to recognize the importance of investment in science and technology to drive our industries forward. Through continued investment in nuclear technology, Canada is empowered to stay on the cutting edge of nuclear innovation, and produce advances towards benefiting the health, safety, and livelihood of Canadians and people around the world.

About the Science Lesson

Across Canada, participants conducted experiments that explored the Bernoulli principle which states that as a constant volume of fluid (or air) increases in speed, it experiences a corresponding decrease in pressure. This is the principle responsible for how airplane wings work, as the curvature of the wing creates a pressure difference between the air above and below it, resulting in motion in the direction of lower pressure and less resistance – up.

In the case of the experiments, the principle was demonstrated by blowing through a straw in a glass of water and between two balloons.

 UOIT’s Nuclear Engineering Training Ground

The UOIT Radiation Detection Laboratory is home to several specialized detectors for teaching students how to measure different types of radiation.

Graduate students travel from around the world to practice and be tested on UOIT’s brand new CANDU reactor simulator.
This general purpose laboratory features impressive and powerful equipment, such as the X-Ray Fluorescence Spectrometer pictured on the left-side desk.

Nuclear News Nuclear R&D

Journal Launch: AECL Nuclear Review

TalkNUclear is pleased to share the news that AECL has just launched AECL Nuclear Review, Canada’s newest journal for nuclear science and technology.

AECL Nuclear Review - Vol. 1, No. 1 June 2012

AECL Nuclear Review showcases innovative and important nuclear science and technology that is aligned with AECL’s core programs. The Journal welcomes original/novel articles and technical notes in a variety of subject areas: CANDU Nuclear Industry; Nuclear Safeguards and Security; Clean Safe Energy including Gen IV, Hydrogen Technology, Small Reactors, Fusion, Sustainable Energy and Advanced Materials; Health, Isotopes and Radiation; and Environmental Sciences. The accepted peer reviewed articles are expected to span different disciplines such as engineering, chemistry, physics, and biology.

AECL Nuclear Review welcomes Canadian and international research scholars and scientists from different disciplines to its new publication which reflects the integration of scientific researchers and industrial practitioners.

If you would like to submit an article for consideration, or, wish to reach any member of the editorial team, please get in touch:
JANL@aecl.ca or 1-800-364-6989 (Corporate Communications)

Click to download the first issue of AECL Nuclear Review (8MB)

Nuclear Education Nuclear Energy

How to Earn Your Science and Technology Badge

Cub Scouts from one of Ottawa’s oldest Pack’s – the Ottawa 24th Pack – participated in a sleepover at the Canada Science and Technology Museum last weekend, with support from the Canadian Nuclear Association (CNA). “When I heard that the Pack would be doing badge work with a focus on Canadian science and technology innovation, I was pleased to offer member support,” said CNA President & CEO Denise Carpenter.

Heather Kleb, the CNA’s Director of Regulatory Affairs and a Pack leader and parent, explained that the program was intended to review the importance of technology in Canadian living, including advances such as Canada’s first satellite (Alouette) and the Canadarm.  And of course no trip to the Science and Technology Museum would be complete without a visit to the Energy: Power to Choose exhibit to see ZEEP (the Zero Energy Experimental Pile Reactor).

Cub Scouts in front of ZEEP

The Cubs were surprized to learn about the important role that Canadian scientists played in galvanizing the nuclear industry in Canada and around the world.  They commented that ZEEP “looks kind of like a really cool spaceship.”  They also had a number of questions, such as:  “what can radiation do to you” and “can it really give you super powers” (a Spider-man reference maybe).

Heather said that “a fun time was definitely had by all” and “we want to extend our sincere thanks to the CNA and its members for making it possible for our Pack to participate in this.”

Zero Energy Experimental Pile (ZEEP) Reactor

Learn more about ZEEP at TeachNUclear.ca – the CNA’s curriculum website.

As the nuclear industry continues to play an increasingly important role in the daily lives of Canadians, sustaining a robust education, science and technology program is a priority. Nuclear S&T initiatives foster excellence in science, technology, manufacturing, energy and medicine. They contribute significantly to developing highly qualified personnel for the nuclear and non-nuclear sectors.