Tag Archives: Uranium

Guest Blog Nuclear Energy

Open Letter from Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission President Michael Binder

This letter by CNSC President, Dr. Michael Binder, is simply too good not to share. Kudos to the CNSC for being such a strong regulator and our member companies Cameco and AREVA for their solid safety track record and impeccable operations. Please read on below.

November 22, 2012

Following the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission’s (CNSC) recent decision to license a uranium exploration project in Quebec, I’m dismayed that recent statements and discussions over the safety of uranium mining have been based neither on fact nor science. Uranium mining and milling in this country is tightly regulated by the CNSC. Canada is a world leader in responsibly developing this resource. This is largely attributable to a solid safety track record.

Uranium mining is the only type of mining that has a dedicated federal regulator that oversees all aspects of operation on an ongoing basis. Provincial oversight is also strictly applied. In fact, uranium mining is the most regulated, monitored and understood type of mining in Canada.

Activists, medical practitioners and politicians who have demanded moratoriums may have various reasons for doing so, but their claims that the public and environment are at risk are fundamentally wrong. The provincial governments that have decided to ban uranium exploration have done so ignoring years of evidence-based scientific research on this industry.

The CNSC would never compromise safety by issuing a licence or allowing a uranium mine or mill to operate if it were not safe to do so. All monitoring data shows that uranium mining is as safe as other conventional metal mining in Canada.

The numbers speak for themselves. Metal mining effluent data reported to Environment Canada demonstrates that uranium mining operations from 2007 to 2010 was 100% compliant with federal release limits for all seven types of contaminants. Uranium mining operations were the only type of metal mine to have 100% compliance during this period.

Both the CNSC and provincial environmental regulators closely monitor and analyze industry releases to ensure streams, lakes and rivers downstream of mining operations are safe for people, animals, fish and plants.

We also monitor miner safety. The average annual radiation dose to miners is well below the CNSC annual dose limits, which are conservatively established to protect workers. Radiation doses to the public and the environment near uranium mines are negligible.

In Saskatchewan, where Canada’s operating uranium mines are found, the province’s Ministry of Labour Relations and Workplace Safety monitors all conventional health and safety issues for uranium mining. All reporting continuously shows that uranium mining and milling sites are among the best performing facilities in accident prevention and lost-time incidents across the province’s entire mining and industrial sectors.

The CNSC has carried out and validated numerous studies over the decades that have repeatedly provided sound evidence that workers and residents near these facilities are as healthy as the rest of the general population. The same is true of people who live near nuclear power plants.

The CNSC’s conclusions on the uranium mining industry are clearly based on decades of studies, research, and a rigorous licencing and inspection framework. That being said, it needs to be voiced again, the CNSC will never compromise safety and would never issue a licence for a mining or milling operation unless the proposed activities were safe.

I invite Canadians to visit our Web site to get the facts about uranium mining and the complete nuclear sector in Canada.

Michael Binder
President
Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission

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Launch of WiN-Saskatchewan

We here at TalkNUclear.ca are very pleased to be sharing this news with you. Today Women-in-Nuclear Canada (WiN) is launching its very first chapter west of Ontario! Congratulations to all involved in this great achievement signalling a growing engagement among the industry and commitment to nuclear all across Canada.

Thanks to WiN-Canada for allowing us to repost this event information from their website.

June 11, 2012

All aboard!!  Yes, the first chapter west of Ontario is about to be launched in Saskatchewan.  Together with Women in Mining, WiN-Saskatchewan will host a networking opportunity for women in nuclear medicine, academia and science to officially announce the launching of the Saskatchewan Chapter of WiN.  This opportunity will provide an important venue for other members of WiN-Canada to interact with the new WiN-Saskatchewan chapter members and to meet the members of our sister organization, Women in Mining (WIM).  WIM is a logical group to join forces with in Saskatchewan since so many of our members will have ties to both organizations.  We invite as many of the WiN members in other parts of Canada to come and join in with the celebration.

As many of you may know, Saskatchewan has a history with nuclear.  Last year, the Government of Saskatchewan announced the development of the Canadian Centre for Nuclear Innovation at the University of Saskatchewan.  In addition, this province is one of the world’s largest producers of uranium and employs a large number of women in that sector.  The University of Saskatchewan pioneered the use of cobalt 60 in cancer treatments.  And, Saskatchewan also has the Canadian Light Source synchrotron and a slowpoke reactor!  Nuclear is not new to Saskatchewan but having a WiN chapter will be!

The Canadian Nuclear Society has been very supportive and has presented us with this opportunity to get together and celebrate the launching of the new chapter at TCU Place during the CNS 33rd Annual Conference and 36th Annual Student Conference in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.  Important to note, you can attend the WiN meeting without attending the CNS Conference.  Hence, we will need to have members RSVP in advancetheir attendance so we can arrange entry with the CNS conference registrar.  A letter of welcome and an invitation to the meeting is attached to this email.  The formal part of the agenda will be kept short to allow time for networking and interaction.  So, the more people that can attend the better.  This is an exciting milestone for Saskatchewan!

As the chapter gets organized, there will be an announcement on the WiN-Canada website (www.wincanada.org) introducing the new leadership group.  However, until the leadership is in place for WiN-Saskatchewan, all inquiries or comments can be sent to Kathryn Black by email at kblack@saskpower.com or by phone at 306 566-3127!  RSVPs for the event can also be sent to Kathryn at the same contact email.

We are looking forward to welcoming all of the WiN-Canada members who can attend to join us in Saskatoon for this important chapter launch and networking event.

Launch of WiN-Saskatchewan

Location
TCU Place
Saskatoon (Saskatchewan)

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Mining Nuclear News

AREVA Canada on AREVA in Canada (and Why They’ll be Sticking Around)

AREVA Canada Exec VP Jean-Francois Béland

AREVA Canada Executive Vice President Jean-Francois Béland appeared on Business News Network (BNN) today.

Mr. Béland talked about AREVA Canada’s involvement in the Canadian nuclear industry. They employ roughly 600 employees in Canada with projects on the go or planned in Saskatchewan, Ontario, Nunavut, Quebec and New Brunswick. AREVA Canada services nuclear facilities in all the nuclear provinces.

The interviewer asked about the “big business” of nuclear (i.e. the economic contributions of the nuclear industry). We know that through the efforts of our people, the Canadian nuclear industry is a $6.6 billion per year industry, contributing $1.5 billion in tax revenues and $1.2 billion in export revenues.

And, as Mr. Béland mentioned, it provides roughly 71,000 direct and indirect jobs.

We also know that refurbishing nuclear facilities at Bruce and Darlington will create 25,000 jobs in the next decade and inject $5 billion into the Ontario economy annually. Big business, indeed!

The Cigar Lake mine in northern Saskatchewan, the world’s second-largest high-grade uranium deposit, is on track to start producing in 2013. 100% of its production will be processed at the McClean Lake mill.

AREVA Canada’s has some exciting mining projects in Saskatchewan too. The Cigar Lake mine, which they partner on with Cameco, contains what is considered among the best grade uranium in the world. AREVA and its partners are also investing $150 million to improve the McClean Lake mill, a project that when completed will create over 100 jobs in Northern Saskatchewan.

AREVA’s McClean Lake mill in northern Saskatchewan is the only facility in the world capable of processing high-grade uranium ore without diluting it.

Mr. Béland also talks about AREVA’s international business and the politics of energy in France, after the recent election that saw a change in the head of state.

Watch the full interview here.

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Minister Calls for New Regulatory Processes

A guest blog from our friends at AREVA.

Minister Calls for New Regulatory Processes

Joe Oliver, Canada’s minister for natural resources, said that new, more efficient regulatory processes are needed or the nation could miss out on vital economic opportunities. This issue is of major significance for Saskatchewan’s natural resources industry, which includes uranium mining. Saskatchewan is home to the world’s best uranium deposits and responsible for 17% of the world production.

“No one will stand around and wait for Canada to get its act together, and I doubt I’ll get much argument about that from this audience,” said Oliver before about 50 people at the Ramada Hotel and Convention Centre on Tuesday in Regina. Oliver’s 20-minute presentation was hosted jointly by the Saskatchewan Chamber of Commerce and the Saskatchewan Mining Association.

Oliver noted that Saskatchewan stands to benefit from exporting uranium to countries such as China which are building new nuclear power plants. But, he noted, that under the current regulatory structure the country is at a disadvantage.

Click here to read the full article.

What TalkNUclear thinks:

A more efficient regulatory process has the potential to bring many benefits to Canada. The benefits are economic and social, but also environmental. We made this point when the CNA presented to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development when they were looking at how to improve the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act (CEAA). Environmental Assessments (EA), under the Act, are very important in our industry; they are a valuable planning tool. We think it’s important to remove process steps that add little or no value to the environment, and have the potential to draw attention away from what really matters.

Read more about our thoughts on regulatory reform, specifically the CEAA review:

Canadian Nuclear Association Encourages Government to Give Full Consideration to CEAA Report Recommendations, March 2012

Speech on the 7-Year Review of the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, Nov 2011

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Now is the Time for Canada to Invest in Nuclear Energy

Here’s another great post from our friends at AREVA Canada. Executive VP Jean-François Béland shares his thoughts on the past year since the earthquake and tsunami in Japan and why now is the time for investing in nuclear.

Jean-François Béland, Executive Vice-President, AREVA Canada

Now is the time for Canada to invest in nuclear energy

By Jean-François Béland

During the year that has passed since the earthquake and tsunami struck the Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear plant in Japan, many have questioned the future of nuclear energy in nations around the world. While a few nations have decided in the wake of Fukushima to move abruptly away from nuclear energy, many others have taken this opportunity to take a long hard look at this technology and have moved forcefully ahead.

Driven largely by internal political concerns, Germany declared it will gradually shutter its nuclear plants, opting instead to depend more on fossil fuels (domestic brown coal and imported Russian gas) and more renewables. But for the near term, Germans can expect higher electricity prices, more carbon emissions and Imports of nuclear produced electricity from France.

Others, such as China, India and the United Kingdom, are moving forward aggressively with plans for new nuclear power plants. China alone has 26 new reactors under construction, including two by AREVA. The U.S. government recently approved the construction for the first new reactor in 30 years, an event that will lead to other projects.

Taishan 1 EPR reactor under construction in China

Here in Canada, we stand at a crossroads. While some politicians have expressed their support for nuclear energy, this has not translated into the concrete actions necessary to spur significant new investments. Canada’s nuclear power plants generate 15% of our electricity safely, reliably and without producing greenhouse gases. But nearly 20 years have passed since a new plant has come online.

In Ontario more than 50% of the electricity comes from nuclear energy, making this technology critical for the economy. Nuclear energy’s low cost and reliability enables our industrial base in Ontario to remain competitive. Let’s face it, nuclear power generation helps maintain industrial and manufacturing jobs in Ontario better than any other fiscal incentive to date.

The refurbishment project at Darlington Nuclear Generating Station in Ontario has just taken another step forward. This is indeed a positive development. But we must move forward now with the development of new plants to ensure we have reliable power for the future. In addition, each new nuclear plant project would create thousands more jobs and spur billions of dollars in regional investment.

We continue to work with NB Power and other partners on the possibility of developing at the Point Lepreau site in New Brunswick a Clean Energy Park, using a combination of AREVA nuclear energy and renewable technology.

We are delighted to see strong support in Saskatchewan for further development of nuclear technology in the province. Saskatchewan has the world’s best uranium deposits. And for decades, AREVA has been a leading uranium producer in northern Saskatchewan.

Over the past year, the Canadian nuclear industry has thoroughly assessed its systems and operations to ensure its safety. In October, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission concluded that all Canadian nuclear plants could withstand conditions similar to those at Fukushima. But, as an industry, we are still working every day to improve – our operations, our efficiency and our safety. AREVA is likewise constantly striving to help our customers produce cleaner, safer and more reliable electricity.

Canada has an opportunity to regain a leadership position in the one of the world’s pre-eminent clean energy technologies. But to do this, our leaders must take courageous, long-term decisions to invest in new nuclear energy projects today. As a proud Canadian and nuclear industry employee, I look forward to seeing the next new nuclear plant under construction in Ontario. While this may not be the easiest course of action, our leaders will find that new investment in nuclear energy is good for Canadians’ electricity rates, Canada’s industrial base, and Canada’s clean energy future.

Jean-François Béland is Executive Vice President of AREVA Canada.

This post originally appeared on the AREVA North America: Next Energy Blog.

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Canadian Nuclear Association Applauds Canada-China Agreement on Uranium Exports

Prime Minister Harper’s recent visit to China proved positive for Canada’s nuclear industry. We released this statement today.

Canadian Nuclear Association Applauds Canada-China Agreement on Uranium Exports

February 9, 2012 – Ottawa, ON – Canada’s nuclear industry congratulates Prime Minister Harper on the successful completion of negotiations between Canada and China to formalize an agreement that will increase exports of Canadian uranium.

“This is good news for Canada’s nuclear industry,” said Denise Carpenter, President and CEO of the Canadian Nuclear Association. “Canada produces 18% of all global uranium, making us the second largest producer in the world. Our uranium industry employs about 14,000 people across Canada and is the leading employer of Aboriginal people in Saskatchewan.”

The broadening of the Canada-China Nuclear Cooperation Agreement means hundreds of new jobs and billions in new investments in Canada, and greater security of nuclear fuel supply for China. The Canada-China Memorandum of Understanding on Energy Cooperation strengthens bilateral ties between the two countries and provides a framework for Canada to engage China on nuclear energy policy, trade, investment, and research and development.

In addition to large uranium deposits, Canada is also home to the world’s largest commercial uranium refining facility (Blind River, Ontario) owned and operated by Cameco Corporation. The company’s planned increase in annual uranium production aligns well with China’s ambitious nuclear growth plan.

“This agreement between Canada and China will generate even more jobs and revenue in Canada, and contribute to the use of clean energy in China, which is the world’s largest energy consumer,” added Ms. Carpenter. “We encourage the Government of Canada to finalize the Protocol as quickly as possible to benefit Canada’s economy and improve access to markets for Canada’s nuclear energy resources.”

Canada’s nuclear industry generates approximately $6.6 billion per year, contributing $1.5 billion in tax revenue and $1.2 billion in export revenues. The industry also supports over 70,000 direct and indirect jobs.

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For more information:
Kathleen Olson
Director of Communications
Canadian Nuclear Association
olsonk@cna.ca