Monday, 30 April 2012

Wind farms can cause climate change, finds new study

Wind farms can cause climate change, finds new study: ... very interesting findings, who knew??? wonder how pro-wind farms are going to argue that wind farms are environmentally friendly... this is in addition to the effects wind farms have on bird population/migration, noise they make etc...
"Wind farms can cause climate change, according to new research, that shows for the first time the new technology is already pushing up temperatures.
Usually at night the air closer to the ground becomes colder when the sun goes down and the earth cools.
But on huge wind farms the motion of the turbines mixes the air higher in the atmosphere that is warmer, pushing up the overall temperature.
Satellite data over a large area in Texas, that is now covered by four of the world's largest wind farms, found that over a decade the local temperature went up by almost 1C as more turbines are built.
This could have long term effects on wildlife living in the immediate areas of larger wind farms.
It could also affect regional weather patterns as warmer areas affect the formation of cloud and even wind speeds.
This is the direct link to the Nature Climate Change journal lwhere this paper is published:

Sunday, 29 April 2012

Jordan weighs two offers to build nuclear plant, and Candu is none of them!

Jordan weighs two offers to build nuclear plant, and Candu is none of them!

Wow, that for sure is not a good news for Canadian industry... for a while it seemed they were considering Candu as a serious contender... I wonder how much this decision was influenced by the recent restructuring of aecl and selling its Candu division to SNCc?

also see: 

Fukushima revealed Canadian government’s confusion over nuclear emergency response, a new CNSC report says

Fukushima revealed Canadian government’s confusion over nuclear emergency response, a new CNSC report says: why this is not surprising? when bureaucracy itself trumps the main cause for which the bureaucracy in the first place was created to assist the cause with, this is the expected outcome!: ..."The federal government’s ability to handle a nuclear disaster is questioned in a new report assessing federal actions during last year’s Fukushima crisis.
The emergency revealed a confused federal bureaucracy, unsure of what departments were responsible for measures such as informing Canadians of radioactive fallout migrating across the Pacific, says the report by a special review committee established by the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC).
That and other concerns, “exposed the lack of clearly-defined responsibilities and leadership as it pertains to a nuclear emergency in Canada or a global event,” it says of the federal government." .... this is the direct link to the full CNSC report:

Ontario zeroes in on two nuclear reactor designs: Enhanced Candu 6 reactor by Candu Energy Inc and AP 1000 reactor by Westinghouse

Ontario zeroes in on two nuclear reactor designs: Enhanced Candu 6 reactor by Candu Energy Inc and AP 1000 reactor by Westinghouse: ..."Ontario is in talks with two nuclear suppliers about submitting detailed plans for proposed new reactors at the Darlington nuclear station.
But provincial sources say it will be more than a year before a decision is made on which design to choose – if any.
The two designs in the running are:
• The Enhanced Candu 6 reactor made by Candu Energy Inc., a unit of SNC-Lavalin, which bought the assets of Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd. last year.
• The AP 1000 reactor made by Westinghouse.
Both reactor designs are currently be assessed by Canada’s nuclear regulator, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC).
Public documents show that the CNSC is not actively examining the technology of a third potential candidate, made by the French nuclear manufacturer Areva.
The province and Ontario Power Generation are currently negotiating the terms of “service level agreements” with Westinghouse and Candu Energy.
The agreements would commit the companies to preparing detailed construction plans, schedules and cost estimates for the proposed reactors, a process that would take a year or more.
The province is considering building two new reactors, each of about 1,000 megawatts, at Darlington.
But a source emphasized there’s no guarantee either proposal would be accepted, and the province could still forego building new reactors altogether."

Candu Energy and SPEA holding strike vote May 3    "Following Candu Energy Inc's move to file for conciliation in January 2012, SPEA and Candu Energy Inc will be in a strike/lockout position on May 6th, 2012. Consequently, SPEA will be holding a strike vote on May 3rd."

Friday, 27 April 2012

Scientists see solution to critical barrier to fusion

Is the elusive fusion closer to reality??? it appears so as scientists see solution to critical barrier to it, remarkable!!! "Physicists have discovered a possible solution to a mystery that has long baffled researchers working to harness fusion. If confirmed by experiment, the finding could help scientists eliminate a major impediment to the development of fusion as a clean and abundant source of energy for producing electric power.
An in-depth analysis by scientists from the U.S. Department of Energy's Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) zeroed in on tiny, bubble-like islands that appear in the hot, charged gases -- or plasmas -- during experiments. These minute islands collect impurities that cool the plasma. And it is these islands, the scientists report in the April 20 issue of Physical Review Letters, that are at the root of a long-standing problem known as the "density limit" that can prevent fusion reactors from operating at maximum efficiency.
Fusion occurs when plasmas become hot and dense enough for the atomic nuclei contained within the hot gas to combine and release energy. But when the plasmas in experimental reactors called tokamaks reach the mysterious density limit, they can spiral apart into a flash of light. "The big mystery is why adding more heating power to the plasma doesn't get you to higher density," said David A. Gates, a principal research physicist at PPPL and co-author of the proposed solution with Luis Delgado-Aparicio, a post-doctoral fellow at PPPL and a visiting scientist at MIT's Plasma Science Fusion Center. "This is critical because density is the key parameter in reaching fusion and people have been puzzling about this for 30 or 40 years.""

Gen4 Energy withdraws its pursuit of the DOE SMR Funding Opportunity Announcement

Gen4 Energy withdraws its pursuit of the DOE SMR Funding Opportunity Announcement: "Gen4 Energy announced that it has decided not to pursue the recently released DOE Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) for Small Modular Reactor Licensing Support Program. The purpose of the FOA was to enter into cost sharing arrangements with companies that have designs that can be “expeditiously licensed and achieve a U.S. Commercial Operation Date (COD) on a domestic site by 2022.” While the FOA was open to any SMR technology, Gen4 Energy concluded that use of well-known Light Water Reactor (LWR) technology of 45 to 300 MW intended for deployment in the USA had a much higher probability of success given the FOA’s stated maximum of two awards.
“We have a unique, next generation product for a very specific market” said Bob Prince, CEO of Gen4 Energy. “We have targeted and will continue to target small, remote or off-the-grid markets that tend to rely on diesel power. Gen4 Energy applauds the efforts of the DOE to move domestic SMR technology forward, but our focus will remain on regions and applications most in need of next generation technology.” Prince also said, “The DOE FOA will help move the current LWR SMR market forward which can provide an economic energy alternative for the United States. We also look forward to DOE’s efforts on additional domestic support for Generation IV nuclear power technologies.”
“While we will not pursue the Licensing FOA, we are excited to continue our work under our Memorandum of Agreement with DOE to deploy our advanced reactor at Savannah River”, said David Carlson, COO and Chief Nuclear Officer at Gen4 Energy, “In addition, we have responded to the DOE’s recent RFI (DE-SOL-0003674) for advanced reactors which is directly applicable to our initiatives.”"

Tyne Engineering is opening a new facility in the two of Deep River

A new nuclear-based business ( coming to the town of Deep River: ... see also the aecl's related announcement: "Located in close proximity to the AECL Chalk River Laboratories, the new Tyne facility signals an increased nuclear industry presence in the Ottawa Valley and will be home to some of Tyne’s high-tech manufacturing activities including work on hydrogen and oxygen recombination and hydrogen isotope separation technologies.
A close collaborator with AECL, Oakville-based Tyne Engineering is an established nuclear engineering firm that works in the fields of process engineering, mechanical engineering and instrumentation and controls for nuclear- and tritium-related industries. Tyne is excited to be involved in AECL-developed technologies, one of which is the PAR technology, which is a state-of-the-art safety system designed to remove the risk of hydrogen build-up in reactor buildings."

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Worried about AECL Chalk River Labs???

Worried about AECL Chalk River Labs??? read this: Wow so revealing about the status of politics and how the end results of political games and finger pointings is nothing but a big loss for the tax payers at the end of the day!!! and from this I guess we are learning Ontario did not submit any expression of interest that recently concluded... "
HANSARD – APR 19, 2012
Mr. John Yakabuski: My question is for the Minister of Economic Development and Innovation.
On February 9 of this year, the federal government issued a request for expressions of interest to gauge stakeholder interest in participating in the future of Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd.’s Chalk River nuclear laboratories. This is Canada’s premier nuclear research facility, and the economic impact of its 3,000 highly-paid and skilled jobs on the local municipalities and economy is enormous.
I’ve written both the federal minister and your office on this issue. He has responded; you have not. Based on his reply, they would be open to a dialogue with the province – but his office has not heard from you, either.
Minister, have you contacted Minister Joe Oliver? If not, why are you sitting on the sidelines while the future of Ontario’s nuclear industry hangs in the balance?
Hon. Brad Duguid: I have received the member’s letter and I thank him for sending me that. I’ll tell you, we are really serious about ensuring that our nuclear industry in this province does well. That’s why we have been working very closely with the federal government to ensure that we move forward, through the leadership of the Minister of Energy, with our refurbishment of our nuclear units. There are hundreds of thousands of jobs in this province that depend on the nuclear industry.
I wish, though, that the PC Party could support the other jobs that we’re creating. Just in the last few weeks, IBM made an important announcement here in Toronto: 145 high-end jobs. But guess what, Mr. Speaker? They wouldn’t have been here if it were not for the program that we provided support for them on, that your party doesn’t support.
This last month alone, 46,000 jobs created in this province, jobs that we’re very, very proud of. We’re going to keep creating jobs. The best thing we—
The Deputy Speaker (Mr. Bas Balkissoon): Thank you. Supplementary?
Mr. John Yakabuski: Minister, it’s time to stop with the gobbledygook and answer the question. You have not contacted the federal minister. The nuclear industry research division at Chalk River is vital to the industry across Canada: 70,000 jobs, most of them right here in the province of Ontario.
If Chalk River Laboratories is revitalized as a national research facility, it will support tens of thousands of research projects with wide-ranging applications, including health, environment, energy, natural resources, nanotechnology, aerospace, automotive and manufacturing. Why do you continue to sit on the sidelines in this process and not speak directly to your federal counterparts when the new future of this research facility hangs in the balance? Get off your hands and start talking to Minister Oliver.
The Deputy Speaker (Mr. Bas Balkissoon): Order. Sit down, please.
Hon. Brad Duguid: This side of the House has shared this member’s concern for a long time, about the lack of support from the federal government for important parts of the energy system here in this province. We’ve stood up for the energy workers of this province – whether it’s clean energy, whether it’s nuclear power – time and time again.
The federal government decided, in the middle of our consideration of a new build, to completely restructure AECL. Where was your voice then, when the nuclear workers of this province needed you? Today you stand up.
I’ve got a number, Mr. Speaker. It’s 1-613-992-4211. It’s Stephen Harper’s number. Give him a call. Finally, for once, stand up for the workers of this province."

2012 CAP/DCMMP Brockhouse Medal is awarded to Dr. Douglas Bonn

2012 CAP/DCMMP Brockhouse Medal is awarded to Dr. Douglas Bonn, University of British Columbia, for his contributions to the field of high temperature superconductivity! Congratulations Doug, this is richly deserved! ... for a list of the rest of the 2012 award winners, see:

Monday, 23 April 2012

Nuclear phaseout or global warming disaster

OK, so it has been about a year since Germany's nuclear power phaseout, it is becoming clear more than ever that only with maintaining existing reactors and working on advancing next-generation nuclear technology to help with anti-carbon policies for years to come, can the carbon emissions goals be met or even exceeded... ... it is interesting that the support for nuclear power is also coming from an unlikely source: environmentalists, see:,0,2597402.story "To make up for the lost nuclear power, which supplied 22% of Germany's electricity before the phaseout began, the country has increased its reliance on brown coal, a particularly high emitter of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and a major contributor to global warming. Brown coal now supplies 25% of Germany's electricity, up from 23% a year ago.
Previously a net exporter of electricity, Germany now imports as much electricity as it sells abroad. Removing so much German electricity from the market has benefited power companies in neighboring countries that rely heavily on coal and nuclear power, thereby undermining Germany's environmental goals and its nuclear safety concerns."

Sunday, 22 April 2012

Government media minders are being dispatched to an international polar conference in Montreal to monitor and record what Environment Canada scientists say to reporters

Is this for real happening in Canada in year 2012??? "Government media minders are being dispatched to an international polar conference in Montreal to monitor and record what Environment Canada scientists say to reporters." ""Until now such a crude heavy-handed approach to muzzle Canadian scientists, prior to a significant international Arctic science conference hosted by Canada, would have been unthinkable,” says a senior scientist, who has worked for Environment Canada for decades. He asked not to be identified due to the possibility of repercussions from Ottawa.
“The memo is clearly designed to intimidate government scientists from Environment Canada,” he says. “Why they would do such an unethical thing, I can’t even begin to imagine, but it is enormously embarrassing to us in the international world of science."
Climatologist Andrew Weaver, at the University of Victoria, agrees.
“It’s going from bad to worse,” says Weaver, a vocal critic of the way the federal government has been silencing and muzzling scientists in recent years. He describes the email instructions to the polar scientists as “unbelievable.”
He also says the instructions are also “absurd” since anyone — including a journalist — is allowed to ask questions after presentations at scientific conferences. It is also common for the media to conduct impromptu interviews with speakers immediately following sessions to clarify details before filing stories on tight deadlines.
Having media minders take charge of arranging interviews and sending recordings to Ottawa is reminiscent of the way the Soviets used to send KGB agents to conferences with scientists during the Cold War, says Weaver. “It’s an affront to democracy.”"

Saturday, 21 April 2012

Over 1000 employees of AECL, Municipalities, local businesses, related nuclear industry stakeholders from across Canada participated in request for opinions on AECL restructuring

Over 1000 employees of AECL, Municipalities, local businesses, related nuclear industry stakeholders from across Canada participated in request for opinions on next steps of AECL restructuring: Let us hope this help the government recognize the importance of the lab and why Canada needs such infrastructure for nuclear, isotope and neutron scattering... ... "With all the change happening with this major Federal Government employer, the opportunity a business could be seeking may be right in its own back yard,” remarked Cheryl Gallant, MP. “What this also does is attract businesses from outside our region that see the opportunities, and are attracted to the activity taking place.”'

Friday, 20 April 2012

What can we do today to meet tomorrow’s demands for energy? - Special Energy Tech. Session at CAP Congress 2012

This will be a great session at CAP congress this year, hope you will attend and participate!: What can we do today to meet tomorrow’s demands for energy? - Special Energy Tech. Session at CAP Congress 2012: message from CAP: "You are undoubtedly aware that our ability to meet future energy needs is challenged by many factors, such as sustainability and efficiency in production, storage, and conversion to forms suitable for transportation. You should also know that there will be a special session on Energy Technologies at the CAP Congress, jointly sponsored by DIAP and DCMMP. The session will consist of two parts: the first part featuring distinguished invited speakers and the second part, a public forum, to critically examine submitted ideas for answers to the question: if we are to do something effective today to resolve the challenges related to energy supply, what would that be?
We invite you to submit a suggested answer to the above question for discussion at the session. You may submit an idea for yourself or on behalf of a group, such as students in a course on energy issues. This session is open to ideas that may include, but is not limited to, the production of electricity, storing it in a different form, converting it to fuel or portable fuel for transportation. You should be able to argue that your idea is a workable plan, not a dream. For example, it should be based on technologies that already exist or that could be scaled up.
In the Forum, the presentation of ideas will follow the schedule below:
10 minutes: Presenter: Description of the idea and evidence for why it is workable now, without having to wait for a fundamental breakthrough.
5 minutes: Audience: Assessing the idea and its impact only by making positive comments. (Comments will be live-displayed in bullet form)
5 minutes: Audience: Assessing the idea and its impact only by making negative comments. (Comments will be live-displayed in bullet form)
5 minutes: Moderator: Wrap-up to ensure comments as captured live are correct and accurate.
Please rise to the challenge and submit your idea (a page or less) to Zin Tun at Deadline for the submission is 1 June 2012. Having your idea pre-approved will ensure that there is a 25 minute time slot for discussion of your idea. If time is available, ideas not submitted in advance may be discussed."

International organizations endorse joint statement on improved patient's radiation exposure tracking systems

International organizations endorse joint statement on improved patient's radiation exposure tracking systems: ..."educing patients' cumulative radiation exposure from medical procedures without losing clinical benefits is a leading priority for international organisations, including the International Atomic Energy Agency. Together these organizations are supporting the effort to establish national and regional systems that track patient's radiation exposure.
A joint position statement was developed by representatives of the World Health Organization (WHO), professional societies of radiology, medical physics and radiographers, and a group of experts at a meeting facilitated by the IAEA, which met at the IAEA's Headquarters in Vienna, Austria in early 2012. The position statement was then considered and formally endorsed by the participating organizations, and culminates a long-standing IAEA project that has been pushing to establish worldwide exposure tracking systems since 2009. By adding their combined weight to the policy statement, these organisations help strengthen the argument for countries to create and adopt such a mechanism. "

Hello orbiton!

Remarkable!!! physicists have now managed to detect the elusive third constituent of an electron — its 'orbiton'. The research could help to resolve a long-standing mystery about the origin of high-temperature superconductivity as well aid in the construction of quantum computers!!! "The team created the quasiparticles by firing a beam of X-ray photons at a single electron in a one-dimensional sample of strontium cuprate. The beam excited the electron to a higher orbital, causing the beam to lose a fraction of its energy in the process, then rebounded. The team measured the number of scattered photons in the rebounding beam, along with their energy and momentum, and compared this with computer simulations of the beam's properties. The researchers found that when the photons' energy loss was between about 1.5 and 3.5 electronvolts, the beam's spectrum matched their predictions for the case in which an orbiton and spinon had been created and were moving in opposite directions through the material.
“The next step will be to produce the holon, the spinon and the orbiton at the same time,” says van den Brink.
Andrew Boothroyd, a physicist at the University of Oxford, UK, commends the team’s technological prowess. “To detect this, they picked out a shift in the beam energy of about one part in a million, which is very difficult,” he says." ... also see:

Thursday, 19 April 2012

More on thorium and molten salt reactors

More on thorium and molten salt reactors: "The reality is that solid fuel reactors using uranium are now supplying 20 percent of this country’s electric generation. Liquid fuel reactors, or molten salt reactors, that use thorium will not replace them. But the thorium technology still has place in the mix, as evidenced by the international research now occurring. China is furthest along and if it succeeds, the science will be applied elsewhere."

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Interested in partnership with AECL?

Anyone interested in partnership with AECL? seems like with the restructuring of AECL happening, they are eager to engage anyone interested in partnership with them... here is how to initiate the process: ... "With AECL’s new mandate, we are looking to partner with companies, academic
institutions, and other research laboratories to advance nuclear S&T for the
benefit of Canadians. All partnerships are based on an agreement between the
participants to pursue a common S&T goal using resources contributed by all
• Access to our unique facilities, equipment and expert staff
• Collaborations in pursuit of either non-proprietary or proprietary research
• Collaborations for the purpose of training and education (including
sabbaticals, secondments and student internships)"... "Applicants are encouraged to contact AECL representatives to begin discussions
around potential S&T partnerships. Information on the facilities and laboratories
at AECL, and the various types of work in which they are engaged in, is available
on the AECL web site at"
here is a list of AECL's facilities/labs:

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Government's bureaucracy at play

Wow, a peek at the Canadian government's bureaucracy at play!!! thought provoking in addition to whether the federal government should be able to directly talk to media:

Monday, 16 April 2012

Nuclear Literacy Project

Nuclear Literacy Project launched today! It is great to see young people advocating nuclear energy with quizzes, apps, blogs! take the quiz see if you get 100% :) and spread the word about the site...

Developing Small Modular Reactors in the U.S

A good read on developing Small Modular Reactors in the U.S: "The development of small modular reactors in the U.S. continues to gain support as the country searches for clean energy options. Although concepts are still being designed, the U.S. Department of Energy gave the sector a boost in March when it released a Funding Opportunity Announcement to establish cost-shared agreements to support the design and licensing of SMRs. A total of $450 million will be made available to support two SMRs over five years.
"America's choice is clear," said Energy Secretary Steven Chu. "We can either develop the next generation of clean energy technologies, which will help create thousands of jobs and export opportunities here in America, or we can wait for other countries to take the lead."
The Energy Department said SMRs are about one-third the size of current nuclear power plants and are designed to offer a host of safety, siting, construction and economic benefits. The size, according to DOE, makes SMRs ideal for small electric grids and locations that cannot support large reactors. Also, the reduced cost due to factory production may make the SMR more attractive to utilities seeking to add a smaller amount of power.
"We really see a market right now that includes utilities that don't have a large financial base and that are interested in clean, sustainable power. They are looking at the SMR as an investment of a billion dollars versus several billion dollars for large nuclear," said John Goossen, vice president of Innovation and SMR Development at Westinghouse. "These utilities, in most cases, do not need large chunks of power and are looking to add power incrementally as part of their plans for growth.""

Friday, 13 April 2012

AECL provides update on NRU planned shutdown

AECL provides update on NRU planned shutdown: ... "National Research Universal (NRU) reactor will enter a planned outage beginning on April 15, 2012 and ending May 15, 2012. The purpose of the outage is to conduct scheduled inspection and maintenance.
In addition to the annual vessel inspection, work is planned during the outage to enhance the reliability and safety of NRU. A dedicated work management outage team has been established to coordinate the activities of suppliers, NRU specialists and supporting departments; ensuring the safe and successful execution of the outage."

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

3rd Annual Nuclear Symposium

3rd Annual Nuclear Symposium: Monday, April 30 to Tuesday, May 01, 2012
Sutton Place Hotel, Toronto, Ontario: ... "The events of Fukushima and the sale of AECL have greatly impacted the nuclear industry in Canada. At CI Energy Group’s established 3rd Annual Nuclear Symposium, you will hear business-focused perspectives on opportunities and challenges surrounding New Builds, Refurbishments and Decommissions in Canada and abroad. The Nuclear Symposium is back again this year to provide you with the essential information you need to capitalize on the evolving Canadian and global nuclear industry.
Hear from an outstanding panel of experts on the policies, projects and practices that will shape how you do business. Highlights from this must-attend conference include:
-An innovative panel on how to secure financing for nuclear projects by minimizing risk
-The latest regulatory changes from the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission
-An assessment of the future of the Chalk River Laboratories and elements of a business case for similar ventures
- Learn how to navigate application and licensing processes to ensure your new build moves forward
-Key information on Ontario’s current and future refurbishment projects
-An exploration of opportunities arising from China’s growing nuclear industry
-An assessment of the commercial potential for small-scale nuclear projects
-An exclusive Case Study on New Brunswick Power’s Point Lepreau Refurbishment Project"

U.S. FDA approves a radioactive compound for evaluating people with Alzheimer's disease

U.S. FDA approves a radioactive compound for evaluating people with Alzheimer's disease, another way nuclear medicine is helping to increase the quality of life! ...""Florbetapir gives patients with cognitive decline, their families and the physicians who treat them, more information about the amyloid plaques that may be found in their brain," said R. Edward Coleman, M.D., professor of radiology, Duke University Medical Center. "This approval marks a great advancement in nuclear medicine practice, as it enables us to evaluate the presence or absence of moderate to frequent levels of amyloid plaques in a patient's brain. In conjunction with other tests, florbetapir may help give physicians additional information when evaluating patients for the cause of their cognitive decline."
Because Amyvid loses over half of its radioactivity every two hours, Amyvid must be distributed directly from a radiopharmacy to the imaging centers where it will be administered within several hours. Beginning in June, a limited number of radiopharmacies will be distributing Amyvid with the goal of making the product available in more areas as soon as possible.
"The approval of Amyvid exemplifies Lilly's commitment to discovering and developing innovative products for many of the world's unmet medical needs," said Alex Azar, president, Lilly USA. "We are working hard with our manufacturing partners to increase production of Amyvid and will notify the community as it becomes available in more markets."
Amyvid images should be interpreted only by readers who have successfully completed Amyvid reader training. Lilly has worked collaboratively with the FDA and nuclear medicine experts to identify the appropriate ways to support accurate and consistent interpretation of Amyvid scans by imaging physicians. These efforts resulted in the development and validation by Lilly of both an online and in-person reader training program for physicians using Amyvid. Errors may occur in the estimation of plaque density during image interpretation."

Friday, 6 April 2012

I'm Atoms!

OK, I know I usually don't post songs here, but this is a good one! so let's sing along! :) I'm Atoms!:

CAP writes to Prime Minister re Jenkins Report and NRC

CAP writes to Prime Minister re Jenkins Report and NRC: ... "CAP believes that the Report's recommendations regarding the future of the National Research Council of Canada (NRC) are much superior to those announced by NRC itself. In essence, the Report recommends continuing but transforming the current NRC Institutes: some as business-facing industry-oriented non-profit research centres mandated to undertake collaborative R&D and commercialization projects with business organizations, some (those currently undertaking more basic research) as centres engaged in basic research and affiliated with one or more universities, and some as part of a non-profit organization mandated to manage what are currently NRC major science initiatives.
In contrast, NRC's proposed changes place a heavy emphasis on short-term efforts aimed at immediate industrial needs. There is a role for such efforts, but major contributions to Canada's economy and wellbeing require deep, world-leading expertise based on research and expertise built up over many years. NRC has a long history of such major advances. For example, the critical importance of canola (developed by NRC in collaboration with Agriculture Canada) to Western Canada was recently highlighted in the Globe and Mail; according to the article, canola is responsible for $14B p.a. of economic activity in the West. Other examples over the years include the development of the world's first practical electric wheelchair, the first artificial cardiac pacemaker, the first effective vaccine against infant meningitis, the Crash Position Indicator, the Canadarm, and Computer Animation Technology.
Compared with NRC's own proposals, the Report's recommendations seem to us much more likely to preserve the very valuable, hard-won expertise of the NRC Institutes, and to assist them to continue to make major long-term contributions from which industry and all Canadians will benefit. CAP is concerned that the structural reorganization proposed by the NRC does not sufficiently take into account the recommendations of the Report and we urge your government to request that the Report's authors review NRC's proposed changes before they are implemented."
Here you could learn about Jenkins report and get the full pdf file of the report: ..."An expert panel convened by the federal government released their final report Monday on how effective Canada is at supporting business-oriented research and development. Chaired by Tom Jenkins, chief strategy officer of Open Text, the report has several recommendations, including large changes to the National Research Council. The report can be found online:" ... the summary of the recommendation of the report on NRC: "Transform the institutes of the National Research Council into a series of large-scale, collaborative centres involving business, universities and the provinces.
The NRC was created during World War I to kick-start Canada's research capacity. It has a long and storied history of discoveries and innovation, including numerous commercial spin-offs. While the NRC continues to do good work, research and commercialization activity in Canada has grown immensely. In this new context, the NRC can play a unique role, linking its large-scale, long-term research activity with the academic and business communities. The panel recommends evolving NRC institutes, consistent with the current strategic direction, into not-for-profit centres run with stakeholders, and incorporating its public policy research into other departments." ... from the pdf of the full report here is more

CAP's summary of the proposed budget 2012

CAP's summary of the proposed budget 2012: ... notably is the CAP's reaction to the $67 million for NRC: "$67 million in 2012–13 as the National Research Council refocuses on business-led, industry-relevant research. The budget document adds the comment that “in consultation with businesses and university and college stakeholders, the Government will consider ways to better focus the National Research Council on demand-driven research, consistent with the recommendations of the Expert Panel.” It is not clear what this means, but suggests that there is a possibility for influencing the changes at NRC. The CAP letter to the Prime Minister pointed out that NRC’s own proposed changes were inconsistent with the Jenkin’s Report and recommended their Expert Panel review the proposed changes."

ADS (Accelerator Driven Systems) technology: solution for transforming spent nuclear fuel and using thorium as nuclear fuel

ADS (Accelerator Driven Systems) technology: solution for transforming spent nuclear fuel and using thorium as nuclear fuel: ... "A powerful enough accelerator could generate a beam of particles to help transform spent nuclear fuel into a re-useable form. It could reduce the time required for long-term geological storage from 300,000 years to 500 years. And it could use an abundant natural resource, thorium, as a safer, cleaner, more proliferation-resistant fuel for energy production in nuclear reactors.
Recent advances in accelerator technology could make this concept, called Accelerator Driven Systems or ADS, a reality in the relatively near future. While countries in Asia and Europe are actively pursuing its applications and building demonstration facilities, however, the United States does not have an active ADS program. Accelerator and nuclear physicists and engineers are pushing for this to change. "A lot of technologies, including ADS, have been proposed to try to resolve the [nuclear] waste issue," says Albert Machiels, a technical executive at the Electric Power Research Institute, a non-profit company that conducts research and development for all things related to electricity.
"To demonstrate its viability at a scale necessary to make a significant impact will require sustained R&D for long periods of time," he says."

CREATE also submitted expression of interest in AECL

CREATE also submitted expression of interest in AECL: ... the CREATE's vision for the future of Chalk River Labs notably includes a new research reactor replacing the aging NRU reactor: "CREATE focuses on the mission of CRL as a national laboratory and we provide some high-level ideas about what such a model may look like. A major purpose for adopting the vision of CREATE for CRL would be to best leverage the existing assets. Thus, our vision for the Chalk River National Laboratory (CRNL) is described in brief here. A national laboratory mission will affect all existing facilities at CRL and will require investment in upgraded and new infrastructure, including notably a new research reactor. It is expected that this transition process would be done in consultation with potential partners and customers. In parallel, detailed planning for a new multi-purpose reactor for research and other applications in the long-term is needed. Such a reactor would assume and expand the functions of the aging NRU reactor.
The proposed CRNL will be much more outward-looking, collaborating, partnering and impacting at all levels of Canadian society, providing many public good benefits as well as benefits for industry and government directly. We believe that CRNL will be a vehicle to mobilize science and technology (S&T) to Canada’s benefit, that is, it will contribute to the vision of Canada’s S&T strategy: “to build a sustainable national competitive advantage based on science and technology and the skilled workers whose aspirations, ambitions, and talents bring innovations to life.” CRNL will be a productive and sustainable national laboratory that provides both near-term and long-term benefits to the Canadian public, with a good return on the investment of public tax dollars and private investment."
This is a recent writeup about expression's of interests from both CINS and CREATE at a local newspaper: ..."Under this proposal, CREATE sees a need for a new research reactor to replace the current NRU reactor. This would be done as part of a longer term transition process in consultation with potential partners and customers. In parallel, detailed planning for a new multi-purpose reactor for research and other applications in the long-term is needed.
“Such a reactor would assume and expand the functions of the aging NRU reactor,” the proposal states.
The Canadian Institute for Neutron Scattering (CINS) is seeking an oversight role to restore Chalk River Laboratories to its position as a centre for research in Canada, and to ensure that its unique combination of capabilities is managed for the benefit of all clients, whether they be academic, government or industrial.
This will also require a new reactor
“We believe that neither Chalk River Laboratories in general, nor Canadian neutron beam research in particular, have a meaningful future without a powerful research reactor on the Chalk River site, and that since NRU is coming to the end of its operational life, it is essential that a new research reactor be built as a matter of great urgency so that an orderly succession can be managed,” the CINS proposal states.
“With investment in a new research reactor, and active promotion of a new research-centred mission for the laboratory, a revitalized Chalk River Laboratories could regain its position as a world leader in nuclear and neutron-based science and technology and serve a broad range of academic, government and industrial users.
“It would advance knowledge and contribute to the training of thousands of highly qualified people, both those who work onsite, and the far larger number of people who would visit the laboratories to use the facilities and interact with the teams of local specialists.”
The CINS proposal states by re-defining the site’s mandate as “research” Chalk River Laboratories would be in a position to contribute to fields far from nuclear engineering and would support research in energy, environment, health, communications, materials science, fundamental physics and chemistry and manufacturing and process development for the automotive, aerospace and mineral processing sectors.
“The knowledge gained would both expand Canada’s technological base, and also inform government as it seeks to develop science-based policies that support a technology-driven economy, and that both foster and regulate industry in Canada,” it states."

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Underground radioactive waste eyed for Chalk River site

Underground radioactive waste eyed for Chalk River site, let's hope this will not be the only thing that the lab does in the future!: "Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd. says 267,000 cubic metres of low- and medium-grade nuclear waste is now stored above-ground in steel containers at the Chalk River site. The amount of radioactive material is expected to grow to 360,000 cubic metres by 2100. That’s enough debris to fill 106 Olympic swimming pools now, and 144 by the end of the century.
Government-owned AECL is looking at building an enormous underground repository to bury the detritus of six decades of nuclear testing at the Chalk River site. The cavernous compound would consist of shafts, access tunnels and as many as 223 storage rooms for the radioactive waste.
A document posted recently on a website that advertises government contracts outlines the proposal.
“Atomic Energy of Canada Limited is investigating the suitability of the Chalk River laboratories site for hosting a geologic waste management facility as part of the Nuclear Legacy Liabilities Program funded through Natural Resources Canada,” the document says.
“The (geologic waste management facility) is envisioned to be an underground engineered-geological repository consisting of shafts, access tunnels and emplacement caverns located at a nominal depth of 500 to 1,000 metres in the bedrock at the (Chalk River laboratories) site.”"
there is a "Review of AECL Study on Suitability of CRL Site for Geologic Waste Management Facility" on the merx site related to this, just go to and search for aecl. Here is the direct link: 
" Review of AECL Study on Suitability of CRL Site for Geologic Waste Management Facility

This bid solicitation cancels and supersedes previous bid solicitation number NRCan-5000008980 dated November 28th, 2011 with a closing date of January 17th, 2012 at 2:00 PM EST.

Third Party Review of Atomic Energy of Canada Limited’s (AECL) Assessment and Findings on the Suitability of the CRL Site for a Geologic Waste Management Facility.

1.0 Summary
By means of this RFP, NRCan is seeking proposals from bidders to obtain independent advice from a qualified contractor on the prospect of identifying a suitable subsurface environment at the Chalk River Laboratory (CRL) site for a Geologic Waste Management Facility (GWMF) for CRL’s low- and intermediate-level radioactive waste (LILRW), based on a detailed review of Atomic Enegery of Canada Limited (AECL) CRL Site Suitability Summary Report, eleven (11) Primary Reference Documents, and other supporting information as required. Also, as appropriate, to obtain recommendations on additional technical work to investigate and further assess the suitability of the CRL site for a GWMF for CRL’s LILRW. "

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Nuclear medicine

Talking about medical isotopes, this site includes a very nice illustrated introduction about nuclear medicine in addition to detailed information for different methods and application of nuclear medicine:

Canada's scientific and environmental leadership: are they gone now?

Canada's scientific and environmental leadership: are they gone now? do you think there has been enough rigorous public debate about these policies? read and decide for yourself: ... "Canada once enjoyed a deserved reputation for scientific and environmental leadership, but those days are now long gone.
MOST people around the world, if they think of Canada at all, think of it as the national equivalent of the nice boy they'd like their daughter to marry. A bit boring, perhaps, but unfailingly polite, and someone you can always count on to do the right thing. That is a stereotype, of course, but like most stereotypes there is some truth to it, as those of us who live here recognise.
Lately, though, that nice boy has turned into a bit of a bully. Last year, the Conservative Party of Canada, led by Stephen Harper, won a parliamentary majority after being in a minority government for five years. It has since staked out an aggressively right-wing position on many issues, notably science and the environment.
The Harper government has abandoned Canada's climate commitments, cut back on science spending and muzzled government scientists who might stray from the official line. Hardly the cuddly Canada the world thought it knew." ..."Canada's anti-science policies reach beyond the environment. Last year, the government did away with its compulsory long-form census, which was sent to about 20 per cent of households. By making this census voluntary instead of mandatory, the government effectively destroyed its value as an unbiased baseline of information on Canadian society and the economy.
Of course, the government has an electoral mandate and is entitled to enact its programme. But it should also welcome robust debate about its policies, and the reality is that the government is stifling that debate by restricting its scientists' ability to speak frankly about their work.
Environment Canada's media protocol, introduced in 2008, requires scientists to get official approval before talking to the press - a demand that often delays an interview well beyond journalists' deadlines and results in the public never hearing from the scientist at all. It also can lead to the scientist being forced to parrot the official line on an issue. The protocol states: "Media relations will work with staff on how best to deal with the call. This should include asking the programme expert to respond with approved lines." Other departments, such as Fisheries and Oceans Canada, have similar policies.
The result is that Canadians - and the rest of the world - have been denied the chance to hear from some of the most authoritative scientific voices on important issues ranging from the Arctic ozone hole to radiation after the Fukushima Daiichi reactor accident in Japan, and even the effect of aquaculture on wild salmon.
What's worse, the silence comes just when the government's environmental policies are most in need of vigorous public debate. The effect has been stifling. According to a leaked Environment Canada internal document, media coverage of climate change has fallen by 80 per cent since the policy came into force."

More on alternative methods of making medical isotopes

But, in addition to the logistical hurdle that could force some patients to travel to imaging centres that are close to cyclotrons, there is another fundamental catch: the price.

"Although the $20-million price of a cyclotron is a fraction of the cost of building a nuclear reactor, the latter is usually constructed and maintained by a government agency. This was the case with NRU at Chalk River and is the case with Rosatom’s reactors in Russia, so Nordion can import isotopes at a lower cost than what the Canadian cyclotron sources would have to charge."

“The government will know that the cyclotron is an available technology,” says Dr. Turcotte. “I think it will stay quiet for many years, until the next shortage.”

Monday, 2 April 2012

Express your interest in AECL/Chalk River Labs

There is still time to express your interest in AECL/Chalk River Labs. The deadline for submissions is April 2 (today!). This is a great and quite important opportunity for all members of the public to present their views/ideas/suggestions/comments to the Government on this key issue. Please use this opportunity to have a say in the future of Canada's nuclear science and technology. Even just expressing your desire to see the lab is allowed to continue its research in nuclear technology including neutron scattering, you will be playing an important part in this process. The links to submitting the documents to the merx website are given below. However you can write to the Honourable Minister Joe Oliver directly using the following contact info, please practice your right and responsibility:

Honourable Joe Oliver, P.C., M.P.
Minister of Natural Resources
162 Confederation Building
House of Commons
Ottawa, Ontario, K1A 0A6

Sunday, 1 April 2012

Small reactors game changers for the nuclear industry?

Small reactors game changers for the nuclear industry? B&W and Bechtel form small modular reactor alliance: "Two leading energy announced July 14 they plan to jointly build and sell 125MW small light water reactors as turn-key projects to U.S. utilities and for export. Babcock & Wilcox (B&W) and Bechtel Power have entered into a formal alliance to build small modular reactors (SMR). Customers can add modules to match growth in electricity demand.
Jack Futcher, president of Bechtel Power, which has a 20% stake in the alliance, said, ""Nuclear energy is a viable source of energy. SMRs are affordable and scalable. It has a potential to be a real game changer."
The alliance joins the design and fabrication capabilities of B&W with the engineering, procurement, and construction expertise of Bechtel Power. The development takes the potential for commercial deployment of a small reactor closer to reality. It puts the B&W Generation mPower SMR out in front of the competition from other firms like NuScale and Hyperion. The first unit built for a customer could enter revenue service as soon as 2020.
Bechtel and B&W are privately-held firms so there is no way to specifically tie the announcement to stock prices or investor interest. First Energy is publically traded, but is diversified across nuclear, coal, and natural gas fueled plants. TVA is a quasi-government agency."
And this is a more recent article on small reactors:
And this is a great summary of activities around the world on Small Nuclear Power Reactors from World Nuclear Association: "As nuclear power generation has become established since the 1950s, the size of reactor units has grown from 60 MWe to more than 1600 MWe, with corresponding economies of scale in operation. At the same time there have been many hundreds of smaller power reactors built both for naval use (up to 190 MW thermal) and as neutron sourcesa, yielding enormous expertise in the engineering of small units. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) defines 'small' as under 300 MWe, and up to 700 MWe as 'medium' – including many operational units from 20th century. Together they are now referred to by IAEA as small and medium reactors (SMRs). However, 'SMR' is used more commonly as acronym for Small Modular Reactors.
Today, due partly to the high capital cost of large power reactors generating electricity via the steam cycle and partly to the need to service small electricity grids under about 4 GWe,b there is a move to develop smaller units. These may be built independently or as modules in a larger complex, with capacity added incrementally as required (see section below on Modular construction using small reactor units). Economies of scale are provided by the numbers produced. There are also moves to develop small units for remote sites. Small units are seen as a much more manageable investment than big ones whose cost rivals the capitalization of the utilities concerned.
This paper focuses on advanced designs in the small category, i.e. those now being built for the first time or still on the drawing board, and some larger ones which are outside the mainstream categories dealt with in the Advanced Reactors paper. Note that many of the designs described here are not yet actually taking shape. Three main options are being pursued: light water reactors, fast neutron reactors and also graphite-moderated high temperature reactors. The first has the lowest technological risk, but the second (FNR) can be smaller, simpler and with longer operation before refueling.
Generally, modern small reactors for power generation are expected to have greater simplicity of design, economy of mass production, and reduced siting costs. Most are also designed for a high level of passive or inherent safety in the event of malfunctionc. A 2010 report by a special committee convened by the American Nuclear Society showed that many safety provisions necessary, or at least prudent, in large reactors are not necessary in the small designs forthcomingd."

Consuming plutonium as fuel while generating electricity

Great advancement! consuming plutonium as fuel while generating electricity!: "A generation of "fast" nuclear reactors could consume Britain's radioactive waste stockpile as fuel, providing enough low-carbon electricity to power the country for more than 500 years, according to figures confirmed by the chief scientific adviser to the Department of Energy and Climate Change (Decc).
Britain's large stockpile of nuclear waste includes more than 100 tonnes of plutonium and 35,000 tonnes of depleted uranium. The plutonium in particular presents a security risk as a potential target for terrorists and will cost billions to dispose of safely. The government is currently considering options for disposing of or managing it.
Decc's preferred option is to build a plant to combine the plutonium with other materials in so-called mixed-oxide fuel (Mox), which is less dangerous than the current plutonium-oxide powder. But there is currently no large-scale capacity for consuming Mox fuel, and the previous Mox plant at Sellafield has been shut after being beset by operating and financial problems.
In addition, Mox fuel allows only a tiny proportion of the energy in the waste to be converted into electricity.
The engineering firm GE Hitachi has submitted an alternative proposal based on its Prism fast reactor, which could consume the plutonium as fuel while generating electricity." ... this is the link to the original announcement: ...