Tag Archives: Health

Movember Nuclear Pride

Team NUvember Network Raises Over $53,000 for Movember!

This year, for the first time, the CNA got involved in Movember, an international annual fundraiser that raises awareness and funds for prostate cancer research, men’s health issues in general and mental health.

But it wasn’t enough for just the CNA to participate; we wanted to get our nuclear industry family on board too, so we set up Team NUvember.

The Team NUvember network connected 354 individuals across the Canadian nuclear industry from 14 separate fundraising teams across CNA member companies. Our friends at Cameco, Bruce Power, Ontario Power Generation, and Tetra Tech, plus professional organizations and academic institutions participated as growers or supporters.

Collectively, this network of NUvember fundraisers raised over $53,000 as of November 30th. We had a lot of fun tracking our Mo’gress and doing something in support of a cause so close to our industry.

Thank you to all our Mo’bros and Mo’sistas for participating and supporting! See you next year.

Happy Movember from CNA!
Final Mo’gress Picture
The $46k figure was out of date by the time we took the picture. Over $53,000 raised by the Team NUvember network!
CNA Responds Nuclear Energy Nuclear News

Gentilly-2 Movie Makes Fiction Out of Fact

It was reported last week that the recently elected Parti Quebecois intends to shut down Quebec’s reactor, Gentilly-2. Nothing is official until the new government makes it so, but comments from PQ spokesperson, Éric Gamache, have caught some attention.

This has always been the PQ party’s position on Gentilly-2 (G2), so why the stir now?

Timing is everything. A movie called “Gentilly Or Not To Be,” based on a report by the Quebec government’s Agence de la santé et des services sociaux de la Mauricie et du Centre-du-Québec aired last night on Télé-Québec.

The G2 movie uses this report as the basis for their claim that ‘the rate of childhood cancers in the area around the plant is 27% higher than in the rest of Québec.’

To be clear, this is the film maker’s interpretation of the data.

The director of the public health agency that authored the report, physician Gilles W. Grenier, clearly acknowledges the limitations of the municipal data, the very small numbers involved, random variables, the difficulty in interpreting the statistics to determine significance, the need for more detailed study and so on — so the 27% claim is simply not credible.

In fact, according to the CNSC, the Regional Public Health Directorate confirms cancer rates are normal around Gentilly-2. The fluctuations recorded by the documentary filmmakers for the years 2000–2004 are normal, temporary and related to cases located in a relatively remote area from the plant. In fact, such fluctuations are regularly observed in the population and should not be interpreted blindly and recklessly.

To quote Dr. Grenier, when he spoke with the CBC on September 11,

“We’ve been monitoring cancer rates and birth-defect rates for 20 years in a 20-kilometre radius around the reactor, and in all that period, in the zone from five to 10 kilometres out, we’ve never seen a rise in cancer cases against the Quebec average.”

The film also references a German study that alleges increased leukemia risk for people living near nuclear power stations. This is false. The authors of the study and the German Commission on Radiological Protection have determined that the presence of clusters (or concentrations) of leukemia cases near some German nuclear power plants had nothing to do with the radioactive releases. In fact, some years clusters are observed in different regions of Germany whether they have nuclear power plants or not.

Also worth noting, recent British and French studies used the same methodology as the German childhood leukemia study and did not find any increase in risk in their populations.

To be or not to be

The film’s title is a clever play on the opening lines of Hamlet’s soliloquy and clearly signals the intention of the movie, which is to ask the question: do we need nuclear energy?

…Whether ’tis Nobler in the mind to suffer
The Slings and Arrows of outrageous Fortune,
Or to take Arms against a Sea of troubles…

But who is Hamlet in this scenario, really? What outrageous fortune is it to have a reliable, clean energy source like nuclear? In 2012, nuclear power from G2 helped avoid almost 3.5 million tonnes CO2 emissions in Quebec. The province is fortunate to have immense hydro power but that’s not the case for all provinces or countries.

This is another issue the film failed to address. Nuclear power is a vital part of Canada’s clean energy mix. It accounts for 15% of all electricity generated across the country and almost 60% in Ontario alone. Nuclear is a strong reliable source of base load power that is enabling Ontario to quit coal by 2014 and get renewable sources like wind and solar on the grid. Nuclear power generation can enable Canada to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by reducing dependence on burning fossil fuels, like coal, oil and gas. An energy mix that includes nuclear means a cleaner, greener future.

The film makers feel they are taking arms against a sea of trouble. A sea filled with supposed increased childhood cancer rates and misunderstandings about the safety of this energy source.

People who work at nuclear facilities live near them too. They are knowledgeable about the technology and the science. They understand how safe it is, how responsibly power generation by-products and used-fuel are handled.

They are 800 strong at G2. Ask yourself, would 800 people collectively decide to put their health and their families’ health in harm’s way if there was indeed such a huge risk, as the film makers say?

We don’t think so either.


Additional Reading

The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission sent a letter from President Dr. Michael Binder to the editor of Le Nouvelliste, a QC paper that has been covering the issue recently. They completely debunk the claims in the film. If you’re still worried, we recommend you read the letter and sleep better tonight.

More from the CNSC on this issue:  Similar to the letter above but with more myth busting facts!

Radiation and health is a complicated issue for us regular folks. AECL, one of the best sources for accurate information about nuclear, has compiled this information and list of resources.

Guest Blog Nuclear Energy

Gentilly or Not To Be: Hype not Truth!

Below is a well-crafted response, by the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, to an article in Le Nouvelliste about the forthcoming movie “Gentilly or not to be.” The movie is being widely criticized as a shock-doc and, given the false claims described and debunked below, it’s not hard to understand why.

Check back for our response to the G-2 movie early next week after we’ve seen it. The movie airs on Télé-Québec on Monday September 17.

Response to the article entitled “La centrale nucléaire est-elle dangereuse?” published in the September 7, 2012 edition of Le Nouvelliste.

September 7, 2012

The upcoming release of the documentary Gentilly or Not To Be recently reported by Le Nouvelliste could unfortunately raise unfounded concerns about the safety of Gentilly-2 and the nuclear industry in general.

Here are some examples of falsehoods spread to raise people’s interest for the film:


Falsehood #1:

Fact: The Regional Public Health Directorate confirms cancer rates are normal around Gentilly-2. The fluctuations recorded by the documentary filmmakers for the years 2000–2004 are normal, temporary and related to cases located in a relatively remote area of the plant. In fact, such fluctuations are regularly observed in the population and should not be interpreted blindly and recklessly.


Falsehood #2: Women of childbearing age should not live near nuclear power plants because of the dangers related to radioactive releases.

Fact: Minimal releases from nuclear power plants do not pose a danger to human health, including fetuses and young children. This has been demonstrated by many Canadian and international studies.


Falsehood #3: A German study found that children living near nuclear power plants are at a higher risk of developing leukemia resulting from radioactive releases.

Fact: The authors of the study and the German Commission on Radiological Protection have determined that the presence of clusters (or concentrations) of leukemia cases near some German nuclear power plants had nothing to do with the radioactive releases. In fact, some years clusters are observed in different regions of Germany whether they have nuclear power plants or not.


Falsehood #4: All Canadian nuclear waste will be stored in Quebec.

Fact: None of the 19 communities that are currently part of the selection process for the establishment of a nuclear waste storage site in Canada are in Quebec.


Described in the media as a shock film, Gentilly or Not To Be promises to induce anger because of its lack of rigor and the falsehoods repeated by spokespersons of anti-nuclear groups. It seems that the documentary filmmakers have fallen into the trap.

The one and only role of the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission is to regulate the nuclear industry to protect Canadians and the environment. Rest assured that we would not allow Hydro-Québec to continue to operate Gentilly-2 if it was not safe.


Michael Binder
Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission

Nuclear Energy Nuclear Medicine Nuclear Pride Nuclear Safety Uncategorized

Sharing the Nuclear Story with the Distinctive Women of Ottawa

Denise Carpenter, CNA President and CEO, is featured in the premier Ottawa edition of Distinctive Women, a publication from Profiles of Distinction which exists to showcase excellence in its many forms.

At the Distinctive Women photo shoot.

Denise was chosen for profiling based on her strong career and leadership in the energy sector. Coming to the CNA from EPCOR Utilities in Alberta where she transformed the company’s reputation and strategy, Denise has been recognized by Global TV as a Woman of Vision; by the YWCA with a Woman of Distinction Award; and has twice been named one of Alberta’s 50 most influential people by Alberta Venture magazine.

But for Denise, it isn’t about personal accolades. “I look for any opportunity to talk about the many benefits and the daily contributions of nuclear technology in Canada,” says Carpenter. “Too few Canadians are aware of the positive impact this industry has had on our health and quality of life by way of nuclear medicine, reducing carbon emissions from the air we breathe, improving the safety of materials used in our cars, city infrastructure, and even the food we consume. I’m proud to be able to share this with as many people as will listen.”

Check out Denise’s profile in Distinctive Women.

At the photo shoot for Distinctive Women, scouting the perfect location.

Denise is one of many impressive women working in nuclear in Canada. You can meet some of them on the Women-in-Nuclear Canada website.

Who would you like to see profiled?

Distinctive Women – Ottawa Launch

The Profiles of Distinction family of publications is proud to announce the launch of its newest publication and online community, Distinctive Women, into the Ottawa area. Designed to showcase excellence in many forms, Distinctive Women celebrates the accomplishments of top female entrepreneurs, business leaders, healthcare professionals and non-profit organizers. Originally launched in Naples, FL just three years ago, Distinctive Women has now taken on a life of its own and can be found in Toronto and Ottawa, ON. This fall, the inaugural issue for Calgary, AB will be launched.

The Ottawa launch of Distinctive Women will be hosted by Ashley Robson of Profiles of Distinction and will be celebrated by upwards of 50 women on Tuesday, May 29th at Events in Style in the trendy ByWard Market. The publication will be distributed to affluent households on Wednesday, May 30th as an insertion in The Ottawa Citizen.


Nuclear Education Nuclear Energy Nuclear Medicine Nuclear Pride Nuclear Safety

Here’s to your Health, Canada!

Today is Canada Health Day as well as the first anniversary of the TalkNUclear.ca blog!

We launched one year ago today because we felt it fitting to mark the important contributions nuclear technology has made to health in Canada and around the world.

Our nuclear medicine ad in the Canadian Cancer Society’s feature in the Toronto Star, March 29.

It isn’t hard to understand the impact of medical isotopes. Nowhere is nuclear technology more widely accepted than in the medical field.  Canada supplies a significant amount of the world’s medical isotopes for nuclear medicine, which are used every day in thousands of procedures here at home and around the world.

Last month, in honour of Daffodil Month, the CNA teamed up with the Canadian Cancer Society to promote the excellent work they do to support Canadians living with cancer. Today, we’re happy to share the good news released in the Cancer Society report on cancer statistics in Canada.  The report found that the cancer death rate in Canada is going down. Nearly 100,000 lives have been saved over the last 20 years. This is attributed in part to education on preventative lifestyle measures like not smoking, exercising, maintaining a healthy diet, and avoiding over-exposure to the sun. Improvements in cancer screening and treatments have made a difference as well, thanks to radiation treatments which have evolved and improved over the years:

“In the 1970s, computers were introduced into treatment planning. Radiology developed CAT, MRI and PET scans so that tumors could be targeted with precision. This was followed by intensity modulated and image guided radiation therapy (IMRT and IGRT) machinery which could use these new diagnostic advances to now deliver the dose with pin-point accuracy while avoiding normal tissues.”

–          Roger F. Robison, M.D., Vice-chair, American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) History Committee, Bloomington, Ind. Source

Radiologists can now deliver radiation treatment more precisely, targeting only cancer cells. More effective radiotherapy, means more Canadians surviving cancer.

Nuclear medicine is just one example of how nuclear technology has benefited the health and wellbeing of Canadians.  Beyond medical isotopes, there’s gamma processing to improve, for example, food safety, sterilizing cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, and medical devices, and there’s the health benefit of clean nuclear energy for the air we breathe.

Nuclear energy in Canada diverts a potential 90 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions per year that would result from the same amount of electricity generated by fossil-based sources. Greenhouse gasses contribute to climate change and smog – smog and air pollution have a huge impact on the health of Canadians and the global community.

According to Pollution Probe’s Smog Primer:

“Globally, it is estimated that by 2020 a total of 700,000 premature deaths from particulate* exposure could be prevented each year if emission reduction policies were implemented. The majority, as many as 563,000 prevented deaths, would be in developing countries, while the other 138,000 would be in developed nations, such as Canada.”

*’Particulate’ is a general name given to a tiny solid or liquid particle or piece of matter. It usually refers to particles in the air (airborne particulates).

So whether it’s beating cancer, keeping our food and products safe, and our air clean, on this Canada Health Day, we’re saying thank you to the Canadian nuclear community for the historical and ongoing contributions it’s made to our quality of life today.

Learn more about the daily benefits of nuclear technology at NUnuclear.ca and join the TalkNUclear conversation on Facebook and Twitter.

And in celebration of the one-year anniversary of the TalkNUclear.ca blog, here are the top posts of the year!


Happy Canada Health Day from your Canadian Nuclear Association!


Nuclear Education Nuclear News Nuclear Outreach

Ahmed’s Mother Prayed for a Miracle – Canada’s Nuclear Industry Answered

Our nuclear medicine ad is featured on page 8 of the Canadian Cancer Society's special feature in the Toronto Star (March 29)

Today, April 1, kicks off the Canadian Cancer Society’s Daffodil Month. The daffodil is a symbol of support for Canadians living with cancer.

Last Thursday, the Toronto Star ran a feature on the Cancer Society, which we were very proud to support with the ad you see pictured above. The feature is about the fight with cancer that many Canadians and their loved ones are facing. Stories in the feature ranged from accounts of individual battles with cancer, to tips for teens on the dangers of tanning beds and tobacco, and info about diagnosing, testing and treating the disease, which is where Canada’s nuclear industry is so important.

Did you know: Every day, Canadian medical isotopes are used in tens of thousands of nuclear medicine procedures worldwide, and in Canada

The two most important applications of nuclear technology in health and medicine are medical imaging for research and diagnosis, and radiotherapy for cancer. In fact, radiotherapy was pioneered in Canada when, in 1951, Harold E. Johns and Roy Errington led teams to build the world’s first radiation treatment machine using colbalt-60.

For more information about how medical isotopes are used, please visit NUnuclear.ca