Monthly Archives: July 2011

Nuclear Energy

Which is More Frightening, a World With or Without Nuclear Power?

Today on the BBC World Services radio programme HARDtalk, we heard an interview with John Ritch, Director General, World Nuclear Association and Sven Giegold, a leading German Green member of the European parliament. Host Stephen Sackur asked his guests to discuss the impact of Fukushima on the global nuclear industry. Ultimately the question is: Which is more frightening, a world with or without nuclear power?

TalkNuclear knows nuclear energy is an affordable, available and reliable source of energy that will allow us to meet our growing energy demands while addressing climate change since it doesn’t contribute greenhouse gasses or smog to the atmosphere. More than energy production, Canadian nuclear in particular has pioneered, and continues to develop, many important medical technologies which have saved and improved the lives of millions around the world.

We know what world we’d rather live in: Nuclear power? Yes please!

Listen to the interview and let us know what you think.

Click image to access interview at (player will open in a new window)

Note: the broadcast will only be available until 9:32AM Wed, 3 Aug 2011
Originally broadcast on BBC World Service, 4:05PM Wed, 27 Jul 2011

Nuclear Energy Nuclear News

Canada’s Energy Ministers Discuss a National Energy Strategy

Canada’s energy ministers met in Kananaskis, Alberta this past weekend to discuss creating a national energy strategy, as well as opportunities in the mining sector. Federal Natural Resource Minister Joe Oliver says the ministers have been taking a collaborative approach, while still trying to respect provincial jurisdiction.  The meetings focused on oil and natural gas development but ministers did received a presentation of recommendations from The Energy Policy Institute of Canada (EPIC) which looked at developing a more coherent national energy policy framework.

Joe Oliver, minister of natural resources, left, Ron Liepert, Alberta minister of energy, centre, and Richard Brown, PEI minister of environment, energy and forestry, prepare for a group photo with their provincial colleagues before the start of their meetings in Kananaskis, Alta., Tuesday July 19. Photo Credit: Jeff McIntosh, THE CANADIAN PRESS. Photo Source:

EPIC’s  five interim recommendations they would like to see in any national strategy:

  • Improve Canada’s regulatory regime by eliminating overlapping and inconsistent requirements at
    the federal, provincial, and municipal levels.
  • Enhance Canada’s energy security by moving beyond our historical reliance on the United States
    and capturing growth opportunities in Asia and elsewhere.
  • Adopt interim carbon pricing measures, and define the criteria that should inform the design of a
    long-term carbon-pricing regime in Canada.
  • Promote greater public knowledge of energy’s impact on our economy, environment, and society –
    with a view to increasing conservation behaviour.
  • Foster energy innovation by encouraging more private sector investment in game-changing technologies.

The CNA is a member of EPIC and served on its Innovation Subcommittee. Our contribution to the report ensured that nuclear science and technology innovation was included in the recommendation to foster innovation. Nuclear S&T supports materials testing and product improvements, medical products and services, training and development of scientists and engineers, and other activities of high value to an advanced economy. As it says in the EPIC report:

Strong, robust nuclear research initiatives at our national laboratories and universities support improvements and medical services. Neutron beam testing, for example, which can only be done at major nuclear facilities, is applied almost daily to new materials and products. This research underpins safe operations within the nuclear industry, and in many non-nuclear sectors (aerospace, autos, health and medicine).

We look forward to seeing a national energy strategy for Canada that is consistent with the CNA’s vision:  maintaining Canada’s nuclear leadership role at home and around the world!

Nuclear Education Nuclear Outreach Nuclear Pride

Canada Represented at the 2011 International Nuclear Energy Olympiad

Last month we told you about the 2011 International Nuclear Energy Olympiad, an international student competition seeking innovative ways to communicate nuclear technology for public buy-in.

A total of 35 teams from 22 countries around the world applied. According to the sponsoring body, the Korea Nuclear Energy Promotion Agency,

the overall quality of the submissions was exceptionally high making it extremely hard for the Committee to select only 10 teams.

We at TalkNuclear are very proud to announce that the team of CNA summer students, Alex Wolf and James Harrington, was one of those 10 teams selected to present their plan.

Of their plan, Alex and James say: Showing people all the great things about nuclear energy is a complex task. It would be simple to provide widespread education on radiation science and nuclear safety, however not everyone has the time to devote to learning these topics. Different stakeholders have different needs, and our plan will focus on identifying these groups, listening to their specific concerns, and sharing relevant information through direct and word-of-mouth strategies.

CNA summer students Alex Wolf and James Harrington – Representing Canada at the 2011 International Nuclear Energy Olympiad in South Korea

“We’re very happy to among the ten teams selected to present a plan for gaining public acceptance of nuclear in Canada,” said Alex. “We’re also looking forward to hearing what the other teams from other countries are proposing based on their perspective and experience with nuclear,” added James.

In making their selections, WNU (World Nuclear University) and KONEPA (Korea Nuclear Energy Promotion Agency) considered

  • the clarity and creativity of the plans for conducting research on the given topic
  • diversity, both in terms of nationality of the teams taking part in the event,
  • diversity of subjects read by the candidates.

Congratulations Alex and James! Your selection exemplifies the on-going success of the Canadian nuclear community’s commitment and focus on industry renewal and knowledge transfer. Best of luck at the Olympiad in South Korea in September!

The names of the selected teams have been posted on the Olympiad website.

Meet Alex and James:

Alex Wolf  has been close to all things radiation since 2003. He currently serves as a Project Analyst at the Canadian Nuclear Association, where his primary role is in developing and marketing CNA external events, including the annual CNA Conference and Tradeshow. Prior to this, Alex worked as a tour guide at the McMaster Nuclear Reactor while completing his M.Sc. in Radiation Biology. He also received his certification as a Registered Radiation Therapist after completing his Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Radiation Sciences in 2008. Alex has a strong interest in international energy and health policy, and is currently completing his MBA at the Schulich School of Business at York University.

James Harrington joined the CNA in May of 2011 after graduating from McMaster University in Hamilton with a B.Eng Society degree in Engineering Physics. His specializations include a broad range of engineering sciences ranging from energy systems, nuclear power and radiation and radioisotope methodology all the way to sustainable development. James’ work with the CNA is focused on the development of an education portal to increase awareness with regards to radiation and the associated health effects. The CNA recognizes McMaster University for their assistance in bringing James on board.

Messages Nuclear Pride

Point Lepreau Generating Station Refurbishment Project Update

Calandria tube installation activities completed

July 15, 2011 — The Refurbishment Project team has successfully completed the installation and testing of all 380 calandria tubes in the reactor vessel.

The NB Power and AECL teams continue to work around the clock to complete all project activities safely and with the quality expected by New Brunswickers in order to complete the retubing work by May 2012. After the commissioning activities are completed, the Station is expected to return to service by the fall of 2012 and deliver safe and reliable power to New Brunswick for the next 25 to 30 years.

CANDU calandria, prior to installation. Image Courtesty of

Rod Eagles, NB Power Refurbishment Project Director, says that the early completion of the calandria tube installation is a result of the commitment of every man and woman working on the project.

“The installation and testing of each calandria tube was complex and very precise work,” said Eagles. “Our team of highly skilled workers demonstrated perseverance as well as the required commitment to safety and quality throughout this sequence. The dedication of the combined NB Power and AECL team has allowed us to remain on track to meet the May 2012 completion date.”

The calandria tube installation activities involved 380 tubes being inserted horizontally into the calandria vessel with 760 tube inserts (one at each end). The calandria tubes were tested individually at each end to ensure that leak tight seals were achieved and all tests were successful. These tubes are approximately six metres long and 13 centimetres in diameter, and will contain the reactor’s fuel channels and fuel bundles.

Workers are preparing for the fuel channel installation activities which are expected to be completed in December 2011. This sequence will include the installation of pressure tubes, spacers, end fittings and positioning assemblies as well as bellows welding.

Activities to restart the Station continue. NB Power has a team in place to ensure that the remaining commissioning activities are carried out in accordance with all operating and regulatory requirements.

Project updates will continue to be issued on a monthly basis and will include progress on project milestones. The major milestones include:

  • Fuel channel installation (December 2011)
  • Lower feeder installation (May 2012)
  • Return to service and generating electricity (fall 2012)

Save the Date for the 2012 CNA Conference and Trade Show

2012 Canadian Nuclear Association Conference and Trade Show
Leadership Through Innovation

Westin Hotel, Ottawa, ON
February 22-24, 2012

Planning for the 2012 Canadian Nuclear Association Conference and Trade Show is currently underway! The theme of this year’s conference is Leadership Through Innovation. We will focus on the latest developments in nuclear technology as well as unique communications strategies that help share the excitement with the rest of the world!


The preliminary Conference program will be available on August 2nd. If you’ve never attended the CNA Conference and Tradeshow, make sure to check out the programs and speakers from past years’ events. The 2012 Conference is the premier event for the Canadian nuclear industry. Do not miss it.

Last year’s sponsors and exhibitors have received their participation packages. If you’re interested in sponsoring or exhibiting at the Conference, we have a complete list of sponsorship details available as well as a daily-updated floor plan (PDF) and sponsorship List (PDF). Contact us at

See you in February!

Nuclear Education Nuclear Pride

The Nuclear Debate – Monbiot and Others Discuss the Pros and Cons

Yesterday, the Royal Society of Chemistry hosted a debate on nuclear. The issue at hand was whether it was possible for the UK to reach its 2030 emission reduction targets without the use of nuclear power. Arguing in favour of nuclear power was freelance journalist George Monbiot, and Malcolm Grimston, Research Fellow at Imperial College London. Arguing against was Greenpeace’s Doug Parr, and Roger Levett, an energy consultant.

We at the CNA encourage healthy debate on energy issues, one that weighs both the risks and benefits of all types of energy generation. We believe that nuclear power’s pros outweigh the cons. It is an integral part of Canada’s clean energy portfolio and must be a part of a national energy strategy.

Click to watch The Nuclear Debate on

Each speaker made seven-minute opening statements. Here are some highlight points on each:

George Monbiot (pro):

  • On onshore wind: turbine construction is enough of a challenge as it is, but the lines required to connect them are worse and have not been commented on by Greenpeace
  • Solar: unbelievably expensive, poorly matched to time of electricity demand
  • If the UK maximizes its penetration for green energy, we can hit 45% by 2030 which is fantastic, but what do we do about the rest?
  • Given the public backlash against every energy option, maybe we should suggest rolling blackouts instead as a less controversial option

Roger Levett (con):

  • To defeat this motion, we can simply stop producing and start importing energy, or if we travelled abroad more rather than locally (because then carbon is attributed to the receiving country)
  • The problem is in overindulgence – we’d be better off with cars that don’t do 0-60 quickly without the safety features required for those speeds and the entertainment features to keep your kids entertained during those trips.
  • Local economies means less energy is required for transportation, so we can eliminate huge portions of our current energy use
  • Use a behavior-based approach rather than new energy supply (people should use less energy)

Malcolm Grimston (pro):

  • Believes it’s impossible to meet our target with or without nuclear, but nuclear is going to get us close.
  • There’s a fallacy that puts nuclear and renewable against each other
  • If I could reinvent the world I would leave out the 2nd law of thermodynamics
  • If we end up in a position of playing a game with millions of participants acting for their own situation, we’re in trouble. See John Nash.

Doug Parr (con):

  • Opening comment: disappointing to be on the opposite side of George Monbiot
  • Nuclear waste: we still don’t know what to do with it
  • Proliferation: if nuclear is the answer in the UK, it needs to be the answer everywhere. If you’re comfortable with nuclear power, you need to be comfortable with nuclear power in Africa & the middle east and other politically unstable territories
  • Nuclear unduly competes with renewables for share of investment capital

Each speaker then had the opportunity to reply to the others’ opening statements.  (See Monbiot and Grimston rebuttals!) Finally there was a Q&A with the audience.

A winner was called at the end with a house vote. The result of the vote was 63-9. Watch the debate to find out which side won.