Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Bill Gates calls for a leap in nuclear energy R&D investment

Bill Gates calls for a leap in energy investment: ...couldn't agree more:
"Microsoft billionaire Bill Gates (right) has some words of wisdom for the federal government when it comes to developing new energy technologies. The former software CEO, who has funded a major foundation, and who is also privately investing in a new reactor technology, wants the government to follow suit. Namely, says Gates to Energy Secretary Steven Chu, open your checkbook."

More on medical isotope production with cyclotrons

More on medical isotope production with cyclotrons: Best Theratronics (which began as a division of Atomic Energy of Canada Limited) announces plans to address the medical isotope shortage by manufacturing a range of cyclotrons "Best Theratronics Ltd [BTL] plans to address the worldwide medical isotope shortage by manufacturing a range of cyclotrons for the production of diagnostic and therapeutic medical isotopes. BTL will enter into partnerships with hospitals, clinics, medical and research institutions and distributors to supply isotopes as needed and at a reasonable cost.
Drawing on more than 50 years in medical equipment manufacturing, this innovative new product line offers a cost-effective alternative to both short- and long-lived medical isotopes.
A cyclotron uses a combination of magnets and radio frequency electric fields to accelerate ions to velocities high enough to create isotopes. BTL has a unique cost-effective technology to manufacture five types of cyclotrons: 14 MeV (B14), 25 MeV (B25), 25 MeV upgradable to 35 MeV (B25u), 35 MeV (B35) and 70MeV (B70). These cyclotrons will focus on isotopes used in Positron Emission Tomography (PET), Single Photon Emission Computed Tomography (SPECT) and Therapy by virtue of their respective energies."

Monday, 27 February 2012

Long-term management options of Fissile Solution Storage Tank (FISST) at CRL

Long-term management options of Fissile Solution Storage Tank (FISST) at CRL: "AECL is now assessing a number of long-term management options; including recovering and cementing the liquids into a robust and durable solid waste form."

Saturday, 25 February 2012

More on government's recent announcement for expression of interest from private companies for Chalk River Labs

More on the government's recent announcement for expression of interest from private companies for Chalk River Labs: "“This process will allow the government to benefit from the experiences of organizations, domestic or international, involved in the management or restructuring of nuclear science and technology or radioactive waste management,” read a statement posted on the National Resources’ website.
“The information gathered through this process will help inform the restructuring process, a critical step to further strengthen Canada’s nuclear industry while reducing taxpayers’ exposure to financial risks in this sector.”
Gordon Tapp, president of the Chalk River Technicians and Technologists, said this is a fishing expedition, and a possible prelude to the privatization of AECL and Chalk River labs.
“They (the government) are trying to see who is interested and the range of the interest” in the company, he said. “They are trying to look at all the options available to them.”
The goal is to not necessarily sell AECL outright, but to eventually have the private sector take over running the operation.
“The federal government doesn’t want to be in that business, and haven’t been overly supportive of R and D in general,” Mr. Tapp said. “They would like to see someone else come in and invest in it.”
He said what is driving this is the government’s determination to shed costs anyway they can, due to the worsening economy and government deficit, coupled with the philosophy there are a lot of things the private sector should be doing that the Crown is doing using tax dollars.
What he is concerned about is if there is insufficient interest shown from the industry for what AECL has to offer, there have been indications the government may scale back or even shut down the active parts of the site.
“We could see Chalk River reduced to just a waste management and decommissioning site,” Mr. Tapp said, as it decommissions facilities and deals with a wide variety of buried and stored radioactive waste left on site.
AECL has been having a rough go of it over the years, facing criticism for the millions of dollars spent on the company, an investment with its critics claim has little to show for it.
The cancelation of the MAPLE 1 and 2 reactor project, the extended shutdown of the 55 year old National Research Universal reactor due to heavy water leakage and the bumpy ride of the next generation of CANDUs, the ACR 1000, which has stalled due to a lack of sales and high costs, together hurt the company at the worst possible time. "

Friday, 24 February 2012

Medical isotope production at CLS in Saskatchewan

More on medical isotope production at CLS in Saskatchewan, if now they also build a research reactor for neutron scattering and nuclear R&D, they will really become the new leader province in these areas and even become the scientific hub of noth America having both a light source and a research reactor in a single university campus!: "Scientists at the Canadian Light Source are closer to producing medical isotopes without using a nuclear reactor, paving the way for Saskatoon to become a supplier of the essential component used in nuclear medicine.
A new particle accelerator was delivered to the CLS last week. While the three sections of pipe, each 1.2 metres long, still sit in the shipping crates, it will be assembled and installed at the home of Canada's synchrotron research centre before the end of the month, according to Mark de Jong, CLS's director of accelerators and the leader of the Canadian Isotope Project.
"The accelerator that we have purchased, I think if we are slightly optimistic but not too optimistic, should be able to produce enough molybdenum-99 for both the province of Saskatchewan and the province of Manitoba," de Jong said.
"The main point for us is to develop all the technology. So once we've gone through showing that we have the capability and the design to meet all these requirements, then we'll look at how to licence that out."
This is the related announcement at CNSC: "The production of Tc-99m in existing cyclotrons could allow the decentralization of the production, which is now highly dependent on the smooth operation of a few reactors around the world (including one in Canada: the National Research Universal reactor at the Chalk River Laboratories, operated by Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd.)
In Canada, the cyclotrons are certified by the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC). “Facilities equipped with cyclotrons are also licensed and regularly inspected by the CNSC, to ensure they are safely operated” said André Régimbald, Director General of the licensing group in charge of regulating nuclear medicine facilities at the CNSC.
"“The CNSC generally sees the use of non-reactor-based isotope production technology – like cyclotrons – as a good way of reducing the amount of radioactive waste typically associated with the production of medical isotopes” commented CNSC President Michael Binder. “I congratulate the team for their achievement, and I can assure the public that the CNSC deals with all regulatory matters regarding medical facilities as a priority.”""
And this is the news on Reuters "Principal investigator Tom Ruth said companies interested in working with the team include Canada's Nordion Inc, along with Lantheus Medical Imaging Inc, Covidien, GE Healthcare, General Electric Co's healthcare equipment unit, and Cardinal Health Inc.
He would not say what stage discussions were at with any party.
"They would be the ones that would take the technology and maybe they would contract the cyclotrons in a province or across Canada or whatever country, and run it as a business," Ruth said.
Ottawa-based Nordion is one of the world's largest suppliers of molybdenum-99. It processes it at an aging nuclear reactor at Chalk River, Ontario, one of the few reactors in the world that produces commercial quantities of the substance."

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Another important step for Saskatchewan in re-establishing its position in nuclear industry

Saskatchewan takes another important step in re-establishing its position in the nuclear industry: ... this is the direct link to the government of Saskatchewan's announcement: "Minister responsible for Innovation Rob Norris today signed a multi-year agreement for Innovation Saskatchewan to provide funding for the new $30 million Canadian Centre for Nuclear Innovation (CCNI), a world-class research centre housed at the University of Saskatchewan to support nuclear research, development and innovation.
"The Canadian Centre for Nuclear Innovation is a key cornerstone of Saskatchewan's innovation and nuclear agendas," Norris said. "It will play a vital role in advancing our vision for a safe, responsible, value-added nuclear agenda that focuses on nuclear medicine, material science, safety and small reactor technology."
"Building on the university's renowned history in nuclear medicine and accelerator technology, the CCNI will help Saskatchewan build and maintain a community of expertise to engage the broader community in evidence-based conversations about nuclear issues and inform policies on nuclear technologies for the benefit of society and the economy," CCNI Vice-Chair and U of S Vice-President Research Karen Chad said.
"The CCNI's board of directors is a strong team of experienced academics, executives and managers who bring perspectives from universities, colleges, industry, and government agencies, including the University of Saskatchewan, Cameco and Atomic Energy of Canada Limited, as examples," CCNI Interim Director and Director of the National Research Council's Canadian Beam Centre John Root said." and this is the story on ctv: ... Go Saskatchewan Go!
The news also made it to the WNN:

Nuclear energy policy in the US

More on Obama's nuclear energy policy: "Ayers, who leads the AFL-CIO's building trades unions, understands the value of 4,000 to 5,000 construction jobs that will be created by the Vogtle nuclear energy project -- the largest construction project ever in Georgia. The two reactors, awarded federal construction permits last week, represent "a strong and unmistakable signal that nuclear energy will now assume an important role in a low-carbon energy future."
Chu, at the Vogtle site on Wednesday, reviewed for hundreds of workers the Obama administration's commitment to nuclear energy, and announced an investment of $10 million in advanced nuclear technologies research. Nuclear energy, Chu said, will have growing influence globally as nations confront a changing climate and increasing energy demand."

Plans for nuclear waste in Canada

Last month Environment Canada and the CNSC announced a joint panel review of Ontario Power Generation's proposal to construct and operate a deep geological repository for radioactive waste at the Bruce Nuclear Generation Station in Tiverton, Ont. This is the link to the original announcement:
Also see: "Natural Resources Canada is seeking an independent expert review of an Atomic Energy Canada Ltd. proposal to bury low- and intermediate-level atomic waste in a deep rock repository at AECL's Chalk River Laboratories, two hours northwest of Ottawa." see also and
Here you could find the related documents: 

Monday, 20 February 2012

Commercial quantities of technetium made by cyclotrons

Commercial quantities of technetium made by cyclotrons: "The team has shown that the method can be used on two different commercial medical cyclotrons in Canada – which means that it is compatible with many cyclotrons worldwide. The next step for the team is to gain regulatory approval for the cyclotron-made isotope to be used in medical procedures. This should take less than two years, according to the scientists."

Thorium as nuclear fuel

A popular article about Thorium in Forbes, even if it seems it is geared towards investor audiences, exposure in general is good:
It has pointed out that this article may have some errors, while I believe that journalists have an obligation to present the public with correct and factual information, I think anytime that a popular media is covering science and technology as opposed to drunk/addict movie stars is a plus for raising public awareness for what matters... it initiates a dialogue/discussion among scientists and the public even if the scientists have to point out where the errors are... In any case, here is the link to Energy from Thorium FB group for anyone interested in reading the discussion there about this article:
And another article related to thorium as nuclear fuel, this one in Washington Post: 

Franco-British nuclear industry summit

During a summit last week, UK and France reaffirmed their enthusiasm for nuclear power and declared their desire for a joint nuclear industry: ... "A range of commercial contracts towards UK nuclear build were signed at the summit today involving Areva, Amec, Assystem Atkins, EDF, Rolls-Royce and a joint venture between Kier and BAM: Commercial deals accompany French-UK accord" ... "Nuclear deals potentially worth more than £500 million ($790 million) were signed on the sidelines of the Franco-British Summit in Paris today as a strengthened cooperation agreement on civil nuclear energy was signed between the two countries. Many of these deals relate to EDF Energy's plans to construct two Areva EPR reactors at Hinkley Point in Somerset."

Friday, 17 February 2012

Is Canadian government 'muzzling its scientists'?

Is Canadian government 'muzzling its scientists'? read and decide for yourself: ... "Prof Thomas Pedersen, a senior scientist at the University of Victoria, said he believed there was a political motive in some cases.
"The Prime Minister (Stephen Harper) is keen to keep control of the message, I think to ensure that the government won't be embarrassed by scientific findings of its scientists that run counter to sound environmental stewardship," he said.
"I suspect the federal government would prefer that its scientists don't discuss research that points out just how serious the climate change challenge is."
The Canadian government recently withdrew from the Kyoto protocol to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.
The allegation of "muzzling" came up at a session of the AAAS meeting to discuss the impact of a media protocol introduced by the Conservative government shortly after it was elected in 2008.
The protocol requires that all interview requests for scientists employed by the government must first be cleared by officials. A decision as to whether to allow the interview can take several days, which can prevent government scientists commenting on breaking news stories.
Sources say that requests are often refused and when interviews are granted, government media relations officials can and do ask for written questions to be submitted in advance and elect to sit in on the interview."
And this is the story on CTV: "For almost three weeks after David Tarasick published findings about one of the largest ozone holes ever discovered above the Arctic, the federal scientist was barred from breathing a word about it to the media.
Kristi Miller was similarly gagged from granting interviews about her own research into a virus that might be killing British Columbia's wild sockeye salmon, despite going to print in the prestigious journal Science.
Such incidents aren't one-off occurrences, but instead represent a trend of "muzzling" policies being imposed on Canadian scientists by federal agencies under the Conservative government, a panel told their international peers Friday at a global science conference in Vancouver.
"It's pretty clear that for federal scientists, Ottawa decides now if the researchers can talk, what they can talk about and when they can say it," senior science journalist Margaret Munro, with Postmedia News, told a group gathered at the American Association for the Advancement of Science annual meeting.
"We're not talking about state secrets here."
The views were aired in tandem with the release of an open letter by a coalition of six science and communications organizations, who jointly called on Prime Minister Stephen Harper to "tear down the wall" that's been raised over the past four years separating scientists, journalists and the public.
"Despite promises that your majority government would follow principles of accountability and transparency, federal scientists in Canada are still not allowed to speak to reporters without the 'consent' of media relations officers," the letter says."
And this one on CBC: "Canadian government scientists are still being hampered from talking to the media about their taxpayer-funded research and that's bad news for the public, say groups representing both journalists and federal scientists.
The groups appealed to delegates at an international meeting of scientists in Vancouver on Friday, arguing that democracy depends on citizens having access to research so they can make informed decisions about government policy.
"If we're talking about policy that's informed by fact, if we're asking people to be critical thinkers, if we're asking people to engage in democratic process and to engage in democracy, it's incumbent of all of us that we make sure the process is transparent," said Kathryn O'Hara, a Carleton University journalism professor."
and this is the link to the full open letter to PM: 

Thursday, 16 February 2012

PiC latest issue: Nuclear Energy after Fukushima

PiC latest issue: Nuclear Energy after Fukushima, a selection of great articles, notably the article by Jeremy Whitlock: "Are there options for better, cleaner, safer nuclear power?" ... he says: "In many ways nuclear power is where the automobile was in the early 1050s: commercialized, but far from meeting its potential for efficiency, access, and ultimately - its full contribution to society. Designs exist on the drawing boards for transparently safer, more efficient, more secure, more economic, more accessible nuclear generation - but as with the automobile, the public needs to perceive the benefit and ask for it." ... this issue of PiC is a must read!

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Medical isotope production at CLS

Medical isotope production at CLS: as the faith of Chalk River Labs and its missions (isotope production, nuclear R&D and neutron scattering) hangs in the balance (see the post related to the government's request for expression of interest from private sector for Chalk River Labs), it seems more progress is made in medical isotope production using X-rays, ... again even if this method is successful in medical isotope production, there are other types of isotopes that NRU makes as well as allowing scientists to perform nuclear R&D and neutron scattering... A neutron source will be required to replace the aging NRU for Canada to maintain and expand it expertise and excellence in these areas... "A research project exploring the potential for making medical isotopes with X-rays from a particle accelerator instead of a nuclear reactor is about to move to the large scale. The Canadian Isotope Project, led by the Canadian Light Source (CLS) and partners including the National Research Council of Canada, and medical researchers in Winnipeg, Ottawa and Toronto, is set to scale up their work to production levels with the delivery of a new particle accelerator built by Ontario-based Mevex Corporation.
“We are very excited to be passing this key milestone in the project,” says Mark de Jong, CLS Director of Accelerators and project leader. “We have made a lot of progress over the last year in terms of the project’s theoretical work, refining different pieces of the process and moving construction and design of our test bed forward. With the delivery of this full-scale accelerator we can now move to demonstrate what we set out to do – produce medical isotopes safely, reliably and affordably.”'

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

What is wrong with windfarms?

Even if wind farms for electricity production do not consume fuel and have no CO2 emissions unlike fossil fuel-based power sources, they have environmental impacts (noise pollution, bird mortality...) and more importantly they cannot really make a meaningful contribution to quench the required energy of the growing world (for example wind turbines would have to cover Wales to supply a sixth of UK's energy needs, see does it make sense to continue to subsidize these farms as opposed to fund proven and proper energy research and technology? ... for noise generated by the wind farms see for example: ... there are claims that there are other adverse health effects such as "sleep disturbance, vertigo, nausea, headaches", see for example. This article on Wired Magazine is a good read detailing why different green technologies have not met their promise at least in US with some common features to other countries:

Monday, 13 February 2012

CNSC is now on facebook

CNSC is now on FB: "The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission has launched both English and French Facebook pages as part of its commitment to making sure that Canadians have access to the in-depth information they need about the safety of nuclear activities and facilities in Canada. The CNSC's Facebook page will provide the latest news, photos, events and timely special features about nuclear safety in Canada, and complements the sizeable information contained on the CNSC's Web site."
 Also join the neutron group:

Sunday, 12 February 2012

Climate scientists finding a voice

Climate scientists finding a voice... regardless of whether the change is due to human activity or not, no one can deny scientific evidence that there is a climate change!: "Climate change has already contributed to the southward shift in the breeding distribution of some tropical bird species in WA.
A research compiled by the Conservation Council WA (CCWA) and Halfmoon Biosciences, demonstrates that the poleward movement of two dark tern species is in line with general predictions of global warming." .... : "Receiving an email with a statement like “You should resign, and if you don’t, I’ll work to see that you are fired” or “I know where your kids go to school” would be unsettling enough. But they “pale compared to what other climate scientists are getting,” says Raymond Orbach, director of the Energy Institute at the University of Texas at Austin, at whom the first threat above was aimed.
Now climate scientists—in atmospheric physics and chemistry, geophysics, meteorology, hydrology, and oceanography, among other disciplines—have begun to fight back. “I think the community is finding a voice,” says Ben Santer of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, whose work has largely focused on identifying the human influence on global climate, and who once answered a late-night knock to find a dead rat on his doorstep." .... : "The probability of cold winters with much snow in Central Europe rises when the Arctic is covered by less sea ice in summer. Scientists of the Research Unit Potsdam of the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research in the Helmholtz Association have decrypted a mechanism in which a shrinking summertime sea ice cover changes the air pressure zones in the Arctic atmosphere and impacts our European winter weather. These results of a global climate analysis were recently published in a study in the scientific journal Tellus A."
For consequences of climate change for Canada see for example: ... also: "A new NASA study predicts massive ecological changes for Canada's Prairies and boreal regions by the year 2100. Those areas are in "hot spots" highly vulnerable to massive environmental changes this century due to global warming, the study states. Much of Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba is predicted to see major shifts northward of plant and animal species." .... .... .... ..... .... also scientists believe that Decline in solar output unlikely to offset global warming:

Companies pioneer new nuclear designs

Companies pioneer new nuclear designs: "Two relatively new nuclear companies, NuScale Power and TerraPower, are cooking up new reactor designs, and meeting new challenges along the way.
Modern light water reactors generate, on average, 1000 megawatts of energy. Medium reactors can dip down to 700 MW. Ideas for smaller reactors have always been around, but never made it past the drawing board, as they seemed reasonable  only for small, isolated markets. But in the late 2000s, the cost of large nuclear power plants began to grow unwieldy. Even large buyers were forced to make drastic financial bets on new reactors. So around  2009, the market changed its mind about small reactors."

Big uranium business for Saskatchewan via new deal with China

Big uranium business for Saskatchewan via new deal with China: "Until now, Canada was shut out of selling its uranium directly to the largest consumer – China. The natural resource is used to generate nuclear power, and although nuclear energy only accounts for 10 per cent of China’s electricity, the country intends to increase its production by six times.
“The more nuclear power they generate the less reliant they’ll be on coal. So uranium in terms of Co2 will be a clean source of energy. It’s important in one of the fastest growing economies that our uranium will replace the need for more coal generation in China,” Wall said.
China has 14 nuclear power plants – 27 new ones are now under construction.
“That is enormous growth, growth we haven’t seen in the nuclear business since the 1970s, so these new units require uranium so that’s where we come in,” said Tim Gitzel, President and CEO of Cameco, one of the leading uranium producers in the world.
Uranium production in Saskatchewan is expected to double in the next five years."

Nuclear new build approved in U.S. for first time since 1978

Nuclear new build approved in U.S. for first time since 1978: "Years of shifting and smoothing Georgia red clay paid off today, as the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) voted to allow construction of two new nuclear reactors (pdf) at the Plant Vogtle nuclear power station near Augusta. Atlanta–based utility giant Southern Co. will soon have permission to complete construction and operate two AP1000 type nuclear reactors designed by Westinghouse.".... "A global revival of interest in nuclear power technology remains underway, despite the April 2011 meltdowns at Fukushima Daiichi in Japan. China is already building four AP1000s and more than 20 other reactors currently—and many other countries are considering new plant construction, from the Czech Republic to India.
But in the U.S., even just to maintain the current fleet of 104 reactors, which provide 20 percent of the nation's electricity supply, would require building as many replacement reactors by 2030. In fact, nuclear power production may shrink in the U.S. before it grows. Aging reactors, even with life extensions of another two decades, will begin to drop off the grid in coming years. "Twenty years is the blink of an eye for 100 gigawatts. The time is now to begin to deploy new nuclear," says David Christian, CEO of Virginia-based utility Dominion Generation, although his company has no plans to do so before the end of the decade. "We're in danger of missing that window.""... and here is the news in different news outlets:
US is also looking into reactor lifespans of greater than 60 years: "The research is considered a priority for helping America meet its long-term objectives of energy and environmental security. While for now cheap gas prices make a new nuclear plant a risky investment in the USA, existing nuclear remains more than competitive and a very important contributor to the energy mix.
According to the authors, "Extending the operating lifetimes of current plants beyond 60 years and, where practical, making further improvements in their productivity is essential to realizing the administration's goals of reducing greenhouse gas emissions to 80% below 1990 levels by the year 2050.""

Research reactors: ignored yet irreplaceable

A good read on research reactors:
"They are small and do not produce energy for electricity production. But for over half a century, research reactors have been fostering scientific innovation and education in more than 50 countries around the world. They host ground-breaking experiments from the nuclear industry's best minds and serve as training centres for students and nuclear scientists of the future."... "
The primary purpose of these non-power reactors is to provide a neutron source for research and other purposes. Neutrons are mainly used for materials testing and the production of isotopes for medicine and industry. Their applications are very diverse, ranging from testing of airplane turbines, to detecting arsenic poisoning in a hair sample or producing life-saving isotopes.
In the decades ahead, research reactor programmes are expected to make yet greater contributions - particularly in education and training, basic research, materials science and nuclear medicine, these reactors will play important role in the development, advancement and transfer of these technologies to and among developing countries. The IAEA, for its part, is committed to support its Member States in developing and improving their research reactor programmes to foster technology exchange and innovation.
"Among the activities that the IAEA organizes to support research reactors are technical meetings, publications and projects, which include the supply of equipment, human skill development and the transfer of knowledge via fellowships, scientific visits and peer reviews," said Ed Bradley, Nuclear Engineer at the IAEA Research Reactor Section.
Recent initiatives focus on three key areas: medical isotope production; education and training; and neutron imaging applications."

Thursday, 9 February 2012

Government of Canada is now looking for private interest in Chalk River Labs

Government of Canada is now looking for private interest in Chalk River Laboratories: at the end of the day it doesn't matter who runs the lab, the government or a private firm (CRNL Partners, comprising EnergySolutions Canada, SNC Lavalin, AMEC NSS, Kinectric and Wardrop, and a team from CH2M Hill Canada, Babcock and Wilcox and the Battelle Memorial Institute are potential interested companies), what matters is whether there is a vision, direction and commitment to make that vision a reality... without a new research reactor replacing the aging NRU reactor, there is no way the lab could make any meaningful contribution is any of nuclear R&D, isotope and neutron scattering... "A 2009 review of AECL found, “the primary issue surrounding CRL’s future is not whether it can become a profitable, commercially viable enterprise, but whether its activities are focused, driven by innovation and managed optimally.” It recommended the government, “seek an operating and management partner with the capacity to contribute risk capital, build new export markets, while sharing in the benefits of any gains. alliances with the private sector and academia, and develop new commercial opportunities in the domestic and export markets, while sharing in the benefits of any gains.”"... this is the direct link to the NRCan's announcement today:
and this is the direct link to the Request for Expression of Interest (RFEOI) website with more details: "The purpose of the RFEOI is to seek non-binding expressions of interest to better inform the restructuring of the Laboratories. The intent is to use the information to: assess the willingness of respondents to participate in, invest in and/or manage the Laboratories (including some or all of the activities, technical expertise, and/or facilities and site infrastructure); understand potential opportunities for, and viability of, partnership models inside or outside of the current Crown corporation model; understand the relevant experience, capabilities and solutions that respondents may bring to the restructuring of the Laboratories; benefit from the experiences of organizations in other countries involved in the management or restructuring of nuclear S&T or radioactive waste management; assess potential opportunities to enhance radioactive waste management and decommissioning activities; measure respondent interest in S&T activities for and beyond direct support of the existing CANDU fleet; and, identify the needs of respondents in terms of information that would be required to engage in any future procurement opportunity."

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

RIM founder gives $21M to science and math faculties at University of Waterloo

Wonderful news: RIM founder gives $21M to science and math faculties at University of Waterloo! They should write his words with gold and post them on the walls of where ever science policies/funding are being decided: "scientific research is key to innovation, which is needed more than ever.
"History has shown us that a relatively small investment in fundamental research in physics and in science today can lead to huge innovation tomorrow""

Nuclear energy market gains momentum

Nuclear energy market gains momentum in the world: China, Finland, France, CEZ and more:

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Lessons to learn from Fukushima

What lessons could be learned from the events in Fukushima almost a year ago? This is a good read, the key is that nuclear industry requires a "clear, stable and long-term government policies", perhaps important lessons here also for Canada too: "Watching the coverage of the tsunami's impact on the Fukushima plant was undeniably frightening, and some now have concluded that nuclear energy is just too risky for use in the United States. We believe that the opposite is true: that it is far too risky for the U.S. not to keep nuclear energy as a significant part of our electric power mix.".... and "To get the renaissance fully back on track, the nuclear industry must have clear, stable and long-term government policies to tap the full potential of nuclear energy. That means that as we think about nuclear energy on the anniversary of Fukushima, we make sure that we are thinking about risk accurately and fully. If we do, we think a consensus can emerge behind a national energy policy that actively encourages the use of nuclear energy to provide safe, emissions-free electricity that helps drive economic growth."

Monday, 6 February 2012

G.E. ends bid to produce Technetium 99m

The solution seems to be simple, doesn't it? a new research reactor that replaces the aging NRU could supply medical isotopes for years to come, help Canada maintain and expand its expertise in nuclear R&D and neutron scattering for another 50 years...
"Dr. Andrew J. Einstein, an assistant professor of clinical medicine at the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, who testified before a Senate committee in 2008 about the isotope shortage, said supplies were adequate at the moment. But he drew a biblical analogy. “This is the seven years of plenty,” he said. “It certainly is time to be preparing for supply beyond Chalk River.” Dr. Einstein said that when tech 99 was not available, doctors could use substitutes, but that these gave the patient larger radiation doses or provided poorer image quality to the doctor. And for some uses, doctors can substitute PET scans, he said. But the equipment is in high demand for other procedures, and many medical facilities do not have it."

Decommissioning of the Pu tower at CRL

It seems the decommissioning of the Pu tower at CRL is a go ahead, here is a link to the CNSC hearing and decision:

Sunday, 5 February 2012

NSSA 2012 prizes have been announced

The recipients of the NSSA 2012 prizes have been announced, congratulations to all the winners especially Chancellor Robert J. Birgeneau “For his seminal scientific contributions, tireless leadership, and devoted mentoring in the field of neutron scattering”, congratulations Bob, this is richly deserved...
This is the link to the full press release:

Extending operating lives of French reactors best option

Instead of ignoring the important issues facing France related to its future energy resources "The Cour des Comptes (Court of Audit), at the request of prime minister Francois Fillon, has released a report into the past, present and future costs of nuclear power in the country." The conclusion of the report is extending the operating lives of its existing nuclear power reactors would be its best option... Read more

New material is found that could be used to remove radioactive gas from spent nuclear fuel

Very cool! new material is found that could be used to remove radioactive gas from spent nuclear fuel: "Sandia chemist Tina Nenoff heads a team of researchers focused on removal of radioactive iodine from spent nuclear fuel. They identified a metal-organic framework that captures and holds the volatile gas, a discovery that could be used for nuclear fuel reprocessing and other applications." read more:

Friday, 3 February 2012

Why Plutonium is used in space missions?

Ever wondered why Plutonium is used in space missions? this is a great article providing details and background information: "Plutonium-238 is useful for radioisotope heat sources, and radioisotope power systems, because it decays radioactively, releasing a particularly useful form of radiation called alpha radiation.
Alpha radiation is simply energized and completely ionized helium atoms, which lose their energy in the form of heat when interacting with other matter. This energy loss mechanism is similar to how friction generates heat on a surface. Alpha radiation is generally not harmful to humans, provided its emitters are not inhaled or ingested; alpha particles can be stopped by the outermost layer of skin."

Virtual reality to help designing and manufacturing of large components for nuclear power plants

Quite neat: virtual reality for UK research centre to help in the design and manufacture of large components for nuclear power plants: "this visualization will make nuclear technology more accessible than ever before. "This is because what makes the nuclear sector different is the sheer scale of components and their machining tools. We're talking about massive components weighing 40 or 50 tonnes. Any small alterations that need to be made to components that size should be made where they are manufactured, rather than at the assembly stage." He added, "We'll achieve this by scanning the components and dropping them into their virtual environment to check they fit with the other components in the assembly.""

Median wages for different energy specialists

How much one could earn working in the nuclear industry? here are some median wage different energy specialists can expect to earn, the figures may not include overtime, bonus packages or incentives:

Thursday, 2 February 2012

No big Fukushima health impact

No big Fukushima health impact: "The health impact of last year's Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan appears relatively small thanks partly to prompt evacuations, the chairman of a U.N. scientific body investigating the effects of radiation said on Tuesday."
This is the link to the original story on reuters:

Global warming documentary "Unchained Goddess"

A must watch retro movie on global warming! The clip is from an educational documentary "Unchained Goddess" made by Frank Capra for Bell Labs. Another well made movie! And another indication that the global warming has been on scientists minds since half a century ago! For anyone who doubts whether human activity is causing the observed global warming, there are always incentives to cut the greenhouse and toxic gas emissions, as humans we do not like to breath in chemical and toxic gases, why would we want to expose the nature to those!!! Nuclear energy is a proven clean and capable of satisfying the energy thirst of the world...
Also see:

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

SNC-Lavalin gets $48M contract with Romania

Well looks like SNC-Lavalin is doing pretty well as they secure $48M contract with Romania nuclear power plant. Remember SNC-Lavalin is the company who bought the Candu part of AECL for -$60M (paid the government +$15M and received $75M from them as initiative plus government keeping all the existing &future liabilities): "Canadian engineering giant SNC-Lavalin Group Inc. has won a contract to install venting equipment at Romania’s Cernavoda nuclear power plant, part of an industry-wide safety upgrade in the wake of the meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi plant in Japan last year.
The contract with Societatea Nationala Nuclearelectrica (SNN) is worth about $48-million. It will see SNC’s nuclear subsidiary put in reactor containment filtering venting systems at Cernavoda, which produced roughly 20% of Romania’s electricity from its location in the south-east corner of the country.
Engineering and procurement work has started and contruction is scheduled to begin immediately, SNC said. The project is expected to be finished in late 2013.
Cernavoda uses Candu reactor technology from Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd. SNC bought Candu, AECL’s commercial nuclear-reactor business, for $15-million last June after a two-year effort buy the Canadian government to privatize it.
In August, Candu won a $440-million deal with Argentina’s nuclear operator to reburbish a Candu reactor at the Embalse Nuclear Generating Station."
This is the story about the $440-million deal that the Candu Energy already won last summer in Argentina:
And if you are wondering who SNC-Lavalin is awarding contracts for some of the things in needs for its work in Romania, it is the French company Areva!: "Planned for completion over the next 27 months, the contract is part of a global co-operation agreement between Areva and SNC-Lavalin for CANDU-specific reactor designs."