Monthly Archives: April 2012

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 – 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.

Nuclear Education Nuclear Energy

Could your Collectible be Radioactive?

Radium is a radioactive element found naturally in the environment. Until the 1960s, various consumer and military products – like marine compasses and aircraft dials – were manufactured using a radium-based, glow-in-the-dark paint. Although the radium in these devices remains radioactive for thousands of years, the paint itself breaks down and may no longer glow, making it hard to identify.

Handled and stored properly, an intact radium luminous devices (RLD) is safe. Tips for safety include not opening your RLD and wearing gloves when handling it. If it’s cracked or damaged, it needs to be properly disposed of.
As part of its expanded outreach program on RLDs, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) is participating at a few key military heritage shows, educating members of the public and collectors on how to identify, safely handle, and dispose of RLDs.

Visit CNSC radiation experts at the Ottawa Military Heritage Show on Saturday, April 28, 2012.

Ottawa Military Heritage Show
Nepean Sportsplex, Ottawa, ON
April 28, 2012
Admission: $8

Not in Ottawa? Learn more about radium luminous devices:

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 Energy Nuclear Pride

Happy Earth Day!

According to Earth Day Canada, Earth Day was first launched as an environmental awareness event in the U.S. in 1970. That’s still the purpose today as millions of Canadians join 1 billion people from countries all over the globe in holding events and supporting projects that raise awareness of local and global environmental issues.

One of the greatest environmental challenges the world is facing today is climate change. As Canada and the global community work to address the challenges of climate change, nuclear energy is an important part of Canada’s clean energy portfolio. Nuclear power generation doesn’t contribute to climate change or smog because there are virtually no greenhouse gas emissions from our nuclear power facilities. And because nuclear power facilities produce large amounts of continuous power (base load), they enable the use of complementary renewable energy sources, like wind and solar. Currently nuclear energy provides 15% of Canada’s electricity. If this 15% was replaced by fossil fuels, it would increase Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions by 12%, or about 90 million tonnes.

It’s an interesting time for nuclear as countries are starting up and expanding their nuclear energy programs (China, India, Vietnam), and others are shying away for the time being (Germany, Japan). We believe nuclear is a key part of a clean energy future, for Canada and the world. So this Earth Day, why not learn more about the contributions of nuclear technology – not only in power generation but also in medicine, food safety, new technologies, innovation, etc. Visiting is a good place to start.

Happy Earth Day!

Check out what one of our members is doing to celebrate Earth Day – or rather, Earth Week, in their case!
Bruce Power supports Earth Week by assisting environmental programs along the shoreline

“Although we do an excellent job of protecting the environment through our day-to-day operations, we understand the importance of educating the greater community and youth of Bruce and Grey counties on the importance of being good environmental stewards. By supporting these important community initiatives, we are helping to foster an appreciation and understanding of the environment at a very young age.” — Duncan Hawthorne, Bruce Power President and CEO

Nuclear Education Nuclear Energy

The Evolution of Nuclear Power

In 1962, the NPD (Nuclear Power Demonstration) reactor came online and demonstrated the CANDU (CANada Deuterium Uranium) design. The NPD was Canada’s first electricity-producing reactor, and the world’s first heavy-water power reactor. Canada’s CANDU reactor is a Generation II commercial reactor. It’s considered one of the world’s safest and most successful nuclear reactors.

Nuclear reactor designs have continued to evolve from the Gen II designs to make them even safer, more efficient, and in some cases, smaller (i.e. small modular reactors) – but still powerful enough to power a small city.

We've come a long way, baby!

Generation III designs, now in use, reflect design improvements that have made these systems safer and more efficient and given them longer operating lives (typically 60 years) than earlier systems.

Generation III+ designs, which are now being built outside Canada, extend these improvements.  (The “Generation” standards for nuclear technologies originated with the U.S. Department of Energy –

Canada is part of an international collaboration to set the following goals for advanced nuclear energy systems, and to work toward them:

  • Sustainability
  • Minimum waste
  • Life cycle cost advantage
  • Competitive in financial risk
  • Excellent safety and reliability in operation
  • Secure

Technologies that meet these international standards will be called Generation IV (

Small modular reactors (SMRs) have existed for decades.  As opposed to full-sized, built-on-site reactors, these units are mostly built in a factory environment and then shipped and installed.   In past uses they have proven to be low-maintenance, reliable, and versatile.

SMRs can be designed to have low staffing needs, and long cycles between refuellings (four to ten years or longer).   Like all reactor designs, they have made substantial advances in safety and efficiency.

In Canada and elsewhere, there is considerable interest in applying newer SMR designs:

  • For electricity generation — replacing aging fossil-fuel units of similar size and power.
  • For electricity in small, remote communities where diesel is currently in use.
  • For process heat applications – in heat-intensive resource extraction industries (smelting ore, extracting bitumen from oilsands, cooking wood pulp).
  • For local heat applications in arctic communities.

Why Go Nuke?
Nuclear energy provides a clean and reliable source of power and is an important part of Canada’s clean energy portfolio. Because there are virtually no greenhouse gas emissions from our power generating plants, it does not contribute to global climate change or smog.

Not only important in energy production, the application of nuclear science improves the health and well-being of Canadians through nuclear medicine and food safety technologies as well. Innovation in nuclear science is also being applied to address a number of societal challenges such as public health and transportation.


CNA’s 52nd AGM – Call for Nominations

Attention CNA Members!

The call for nominations is out, will you answer?

The 52nd CNA Annual General Meeting (AGM) is taking place on May 17 at Aecon Industrial, in Cambridge, Ontario. This year we are electing 13 of 31 Board of Directors – that’s more elected Board members than the CNA has ever had!

Nomination letters and forms have been sent to all CNA Members in good standing and the response has been overwhelming. We have received a great number of nominations, but don’t worry; there are still spots left, so get your nominations in.

AGM packages are in the mail and will arrive shortly. You can also visit the Members Only section of for all the AGM documentation, including the nomination form, AGM agenda, location details and more!

For inquiries, please contact Marie-danielle Davis at or call 613-237-4262 x 102.

We are stronger when we work together. Add your voice to the collective planning, coordination and implementation of the services and value your CNA provides.

See you May 17 at Aecon Industrial, in Cambridge, Ontario for the 52nd CNA Annual General Meeting!