Friday, 29 June 2012

Canadian Centre for Nuclear Innovation (CCNI) First Call for Project Proposals

Canadian Centre for Nuclear Innovation (CCNI) First Call for Project Proposals, Submission deadline: August 10, 2012: .."CCNI will consider a wide range of research, development, and training projects which have the potential to advance the CCNI’s purpose in one or more of the four impact areas (see Purpose and Impact Areas). Projects may focus on knowledge generation, technology advancement, or societal engagement in the nuclear domain. Projects selected for funding will have a designated project leader, a fixed term of up to two years in duration, and measurable outcomes.
Eligible expenditures are primarily direct research costs. Minor equipment purchases, if essential to the project, are eligible."

Thursday, 28 June 2012

Two companies (Westinghouse and SNC-Lavalin/Candu Energy Inc.) could build new Darlington reactors

Two companies (Westinghouse and SNC-Lavalin/Candu Energy Inc.) could build new Darlington reactors: ..."Ontario Power Generation has signed service agreements with two companies to design a pair of reactors next to the Darlington nuclear station.
Energy Minister Chris Bentley said during a speech to about 250 people at a Durham Strategic Energy Alliance breakfast meeting in Ajax Tuesday the agreements are a "very important step."
OPG signed the agreements with Westinghouse and SNC-Lavalin/Candu Energy Inc. last week.
Each company will spend the next year developing detailed construction plans, schedules and the cost for two reactors next to Darlington.
Ontario has been planning to build up to four reactors next to Darlington. Several years ago, then provincial cabinet minister George Smitherman shelved plans when four companies submitted bids the government felt were too expensive.
The government's long-term energy plan calls for the generation of 2,000 megawatts of new nuclear power.
The designs are for an enhanced Candu 6 reactor by Candu Energy, a unit of SNC-Lavalin, and the AP 1000 reactor by Westinghouse."

Nuclear fuel recycling could offer plentiful energy

Argonne National Lab: Nuclear fuel recycling could offer plentiful energy: "Imagine the mess if we mined one ton of coal, burned five percent of it for energy, and then threw away the rest.
That is what happens with uranium for nuclear fuel today. Currently, only about five percent of the uranium in a fuel rod gets fissioned for energy; after that, the rods are taken out of the reactor and put into permanent storage.
There is a way, however, to use almost all of the uranium in a fuel rod. Recycling used nuclear fuel could produce hundreds of years of energy from just the uranium we’ve already mined, all of it carbon-free. Problems with older technology put a halt to recycling used nuclear fuel in the United States, but new techniques developed by scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory address many of those issues."

Nuclear helped UK cut emissions in 2011

Nuclear helped UK cut emissions in 2011: ..."An 8% drop in carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in the UK in 2011 was helped by an 11% increase in electricity output from the country's nuclear power plants, provisional figures from the government indicate.
According to statistics released by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC), UK CO2 emissions in 2011 totalled an estimated 456.3 million tonnes, compared with 495.8 million tonnes in 2010. This decrease "resulted primarily from a decrease in residential gas use, combined with a reduction in demand for electricity accompanied by lower use of gas and greater use of nuclear power for electricity generation," DECC said.
The energy supply sector, which includes power stations and emissions from the energy sector, accounted for some 40% of the UK's CO2 emissions in 2011, while the transport sector was responsible for 26% and the business and residential sectors each contributed 15%. Emissions from the energy sector have provisionally been estimated to be 183.8 million tonnes in 2011, a 6% decrease from 2010.
"The decrease in emissions from this sector since 2010 can almost entirely be attributed to power stations," according to DECC. "Demand for electricity was 3% lower in 2011 than in 2010, and there was also a change in the fuel mix used at power stations for electricity generation. The technical problems which had been experienced at some nuclear power stations in 2010 were resolved, and there was therefore more nuclear power available for electricity generation in 2011." A 17% drop in gas use for generation together with an 11% increase in the use of nuclear power led to a fall of about 7% in emissions from electricity generation."

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Candu Energy Inc. (Candu) works with UK Nuclear Decommissioning Authority to study deployment of EC6 reactors

perhaps there is hope for EC6 reactors: Candu Energy Inc. (Candu) works with UK Nuclear Decommissioning Authority to study deployment of EC6 reactors: ..."Candu Energy Inc. (Candu) is pleased to announce it has engaged with the United Kingdom's (UK) Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) to assist in providing alternative full lifecycle approaches for managing that country's fissile material stocks. The UK's preferred method is to re-use the material as mixed oxide (MOX) fuel.
"This is a great opportunity to build on the neutron efficient fundamentals of CANDU® technology which easily allows the use of alternate fuels without changing its core design," said Ala Alizadeh, Candu's Senior Vice President, Marketing & Business Development. "CANDU technology is well-suited to deliver a timely and cost effective disposition of UK fissile material stocks based on proven design."
Candu has demonstrated its ability to safely and efficiently use alternate fuels, including spent fuels from other technologies, in the Qinshan reactor in China and in the recycling of MOX fuel in AECL's Chalk River reactor in Canada. CANDU reactors have the ability to run 100% MOX fuel with no loss in electricity production and have a proven track record of on-schedule, on-budget international project delivery.
The study will culminate this year in a report on the commercial feasibility of building Generation III Enhanced Candu 6® (EC6®) reactors in the UK, burning MOX fuel and producing power for the consumer together with constructing the associated infrastructure and facilities needed to manufacture CANDU MOX fuel.
"This study re-opens the door to introduce CANDU technology," said Alizadeh. "A positive outcome of the study will allow us to re-engage with the UK regulator in licensing our evolutionary EC6." Candu will build on its earlier technical studies where MOX fuel was manufactured and tested in-core."

Calculating the economic impact of basic science

Calculating the economic impact of basic science: "a saying by the eminently quotable George Bernard Shaw. Shaw said that a reasonable man adapts to society, but an unreasonable man insists that society adapt to him. Therefore, Shaw argued, all progress depends on unreasonable people." ..."According to the balance sheet at the end of Womersley’s exercise, $4 billion went into the Tevatron and roughly $50 billion came out." Wish someone could do the same for NRU as well as a replacement for it!

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

The Rise of Nuclear Fear

A good book to read: The Rise of Nuclear Fear: "What comes to mind when you think about the word “nuclear”? Mushroom clouds, fallout, radiation, cooling towers—or something else? Nuclear power and nuclear energy form “one of the most powerful complexes of images ever created outside of religions,” writes noted historian of science Spencer Weart in his new book The Rise of Nuclear Fear. Weart’s latest is an extensively revised version of his 1988 classic Nuclear Fear: A History of Images (Harvard University Press)."... "Weart is candid about his support of nuclear energy—not least to avert catastrophic climate change—and he devotes much of the second half of the book to arguing that Americans’ (and others’) fear of reactors is irrational on multiple levels. Compared with chemical plants or other forms of energy production, reactors are safer, more tightly regulated, and less damaging to individual health. (Weart attributes 10 000 premature deaths a year to coal smoke.) Yet reactors spawn fear, and symbolism is to blame. Weart writes that citizens worldwide subconsciously associate the tropes from movies and books about atomic war so that “nuclear reactors were lit by the reflected glare of nuclear weapons: that fear, disgust, and distrust of the industry stemmed in large part from its many intimate associations with the dreaded bombs.”"

Monday, 25 June 2012

SPEA bargaining update

SPEA bargaining update:

Some movement on new builds at Darlington

Some movement on new builds at Darlington: "Ontario Power Generation Inc. (OPG) has signed agreements with Westinghouse and SNC-Lavalin/Candu Energy Inc. to prepare detailed construction plans, schedules and cost estimates for two potential nuclear reactors at Darlington.
The reports will help inform the government’s decision on whether to move forward with new nuclear at OPG’s Darlington site."

British businesses remain hungry for nuclear

British businesses remain hungry for nuclear: "The appetite of UK business leaders for new nuclear generating capacity has not diminished, despite the Fukushima accident, a poll conducted by the Institute of Directors (IoD) of its members shows. The IoD has published a report calling nuclear energy a "clean, cheap and safe" way of generating electricity.
In April 2012, shortly after the first anniversary of the Fukushima accident in Japan, a survey of 1117 IoD members found that 84% were in favour of new nuclear in Britain, down from 85% in a pre-Fukushima poll. The results suggest the accident "has had little or no effect on business enthusiasm for new nuclear," according to the IoD.
The same survey found that, on average, IoD members also thought that nuclear should account for around 30% of the UK’s electricity supply, a significant increase from its current 20% share.
The release of the poll results coincided with the publication by the IoD of a report making the case for nuclear energy as a "clean, cheap and safe way" to meet the UK's energy needs. The Britain's Nuclear Future report is the second report in its Infrastructure for Business series."..."
"Clean, cheap and safe - words not often linked with nuclear power, but more than a year after the Fukushima disaster, they still accurately describe a vital energy source, and one that the UK must embrace."
Corin Taylor
Institute of Directors"
This is direct link to the press release by IoD related to the report: 
And this is the direct link to the full report in pdf: 

The economics of wind power

A must read article: The economics of wind power: ..."It is often stated that since no one can charge money for the wind, wind-generated electricity is free. This is not true. A modern wind turbine, which can generate 2 megawatts of electricity (MWe) when the wind is blowing, costs about $3.5 million installed. Five hundred of these turbines installed at a wind farm, to be able to generate 1000 MWe, would cost $1.75 billion. Add in other costs, such as for operation and maintenance (O&M) and transmission lines, and the total sum could match the approximate $4 billion required to build a nuclear plant.
All of these costs need to be recovered from customers or taxpayers. So, the cost of wind-generated electricity is not free.
A typical wind farm would generate electricity about 30 percent of the time, and not necessarily at times when electricity is needed. There is a very big difference between intermittent sources of electricity, such as wind farms, and baseload sources, such as nuclear power. The argument that nuclear power also has down times is true, but these refueling and maintenance outages are largely planned during times of low electricity demand (during spring and fall)." ...."In conclusion, there appears to be no economic justification for building windmills except when low-cost alternatives are not available. This is especially true when windmills are placed on a grid with ample hydro, as there are no compensating fuel savings in that situation.
There is no free lunch."

Sunday, 24 June 2012

Japan cautiously returns to nuclear power

Japan cautiously returns to nuclear power: ..."Nuclear power evokes suspicions that run deeper than other technology hazards, social researchers say. In today’s globalized digital universe, the scenes of chaos and fear at Fukushima spread quickly. Germany decided to close eight of its 17 nuclear power plants. Although U.S. views of nuclear energy were not shaken as dramatically, the need to build and sustain public confidence can’t be taken for granted. In the fight against global warming, nuclear power remains a vital low-carbon energy source and very well may be for a long time to come."

Nuclear energy in America

A good resource for nuclear energy in America:

Saturday, 23 June 2012

New $25-million funding announced to diversify sources for medical isotopes

New $25-million funding announced to diversify sources for medical isotopes: also see  ... if the gvnt had followed the advice of the Expert Panel and replaced the aging NRU reactor, then Canada could maintain its leadership not only in medical isotope production (as well as other types of isotopes) but also in nuclear R&D and neutron scattering for many years more to come!

Candu Energy grapples with strike and soft markets

Candu Energy grapples with strike and soft markets: ..."A year ago this month, Canada’s nuclear industry looked forward hopefully as SNC-Lavalin struck a deal to buy the Candu reactor technology of Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd.
Today Candu Energy, as the company is known, faces employees on the picket line, and a prized customer – the Ontario government – that’s playing hard to get.
Engineers, scientists and technicians belonging to the Society of Professional Engineers and Associates (SPEA) are into their third week of a partial strike against Candu.
And while the two sides are still talking across the picket line, SPEA officials are warning that the discord is placing the future of the company at risk, as employees jump ship for other employers in the nuclear sector.
“We’re losing our capability,” union vice president Michael Ivanco said Wednesday. “It’s like Humpty Dumpty. Once you break up Humpty Dumpty you’re not going to put it back together again.”
More than 200 engineers and scientists have departed in the past year, and “you can’t replace them with people off the street,” Ivanco said." ..."While Candu Energy grapples with its own workers, externally it’s still trying to nail down more big jobs.
The Ontario government, and its big generating company Ontario Power Generation, are a prize target, with two multi-billion-dollar jobs in the offing.
One is the refurbishment of the reactors at the Darlington nuclear station, which is equipped with Candu reactors.
Canadu Energy’s sister firm SNC-Lavalin Nuclear has won part of the first contract – $600 million of preparation and design work – and much more work should be flow in years ahead, if Candu Energy can win it.
OPG also has plans for two new reactors at Darlington.
But the province hasn’t formally committed to proceeding with the job. Even if it does, Candu Energy is competing with Westinghouse to get the project.
Asked about the government’s intentions last week, energy minister Chris Bentley said:
“Any decision we'll only make if it's in the best interests of the ratepayers.” "

Jordan to select technology for first nuclear reactor from Russia's Atomstroyexport or Areva/Mitsubishi

Jordan to select technology for first nuclear reactor from Russia's Atomstroyexport or Areva/Mitsubishi: ..."Last year, the commission received technical and financial offers from Atomic Energy of Canada, Russia's Atomstroyexport, as well as a consortium by France's Areva and Japan's Mitsubishi, to build the reactor. According to reports, Amman is now holding talks with the last two."

Saturday, 16 June 2012

New U.S. anti-terrorism measure could hurt Canadian isotope maker

New U.S. anti-terrorism measure could hurt Canadian isotope maker: ..."“The United States is committed to eliminating the use of HEU in all civilian applications, including in the production of medical radioisotopes, because of its direct significance for potential use in nuclear weapons, acts of nuclear terrorism, or other malevolent purposes,” said a White House statement.
Details on what countries will be targeted by the HEU export reductions have not been released. The U.S. has no domestic producers of medical isotopes.
Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd. has long relied on shipments of U.S. HEU to produce molybdenum-99 (Mo-99) and its daughter isotope technetium-99 inside the NRU research reactor at AECL’s Chalk River nuclear labs, northwest of Ottawa. Technetium-99 is the most widely used medical isotope in the world.
The raw isotopes are transported to Kanata’s Nordion Inc., which refines and purifies the radioactive materials, then ships them to medical facilities and practitioners around the world.
AECL issued a statement Tuesday saying it “continues to co-operate with the U.S. efforts to manage the use of HEU for the production of medical isotopes, mindful of the non-proliferation considerations.”
In a separate statement, Nordion said it actively supports non-proliferation efforts, including conversion of isotope production facilities from HEU to LEU.
Experts have rejected the expensive notion of converting the 55-year-old Chalk River reactor to handle LEU, especially since the federal government has announce its closure in 2016, when the current operating licence expires."
Also see:

Britain aims to lead on nuclear energy

Britain aims to lead on nuclear energy: glad to see sense and sensibility is prevailing despite the unfounded fears especially after Fukushima! "As Germany and Japan close their nuclear reactors, Britain wants to be the most attractive country for nuclear power stations. Officials have decided to build two new reactors.
Minister of State for the Department of Energy and Climate Change Charles Hendry is fully aware that one reactor can supply five million households with electricity, and with zero emissions.
In an interview with Aftenbladet, he emphasises Britain’s offensive approach to new nuclear power plants.
“Nuclear power was long off the agenda, but was re-launched in 2007 as part of the future energy mix. Five years later, Britain is now perhaps the most exciting place in Europe for nuclear investments,” says Hendry.
He adds that several companies are showing investment interest.
“The key is market reform that creates conditions for such long-term investments. We will remove barriers that may prevent investments. There is strong bipartisan support for further nuclear investment in the UK. Our country’s support is broader than in most others. Parliament recently decided to back development of two new nuclear reactors. 520 representatives voted for, only 20 against,” the British Energy Minister says."

Friday, 15 June 2012

Uncertainties shroud medical isotope supply

Another missed opportunity by the government, when they went against the recommendations of the Expert Panel, and decided against a multi-purpose reactor:
"It was not a milestone greeted with much fanfare, but the end of March marked the demise of the Non-reactor-based Isotope Supply Contribution Program (NISP), under which the federal government had sunk $35 million into four projects aimed at determining whether there was an alternative means of generating the technetium-99m needed for roughly 80% of the 1.5 million nuclear medicine procedures performed annually in Canada. 
The NISP was created in the aftermath of extended shutdowns of the National Research Universal (NRU) reactor in Chalk River, Ontario between 2007 and 2010. With hospitals scrambling to obtain medical isotopes in the wake of a global technetium shortage, a government-appointed Expert Review Panel on Medical Isotope Production was struck to investigate supply options for Canada and it recommended that more players be introduced to the medical isotope distribution chain, that the federal government work with other countries to better coordinate worldwide production and distribution of medical isotopes and that Canada eventually shift to making isotopes with low-enriched uranium targets and build a new multipurpose reactor ( The government’s response was to create the NISP to determine whether it would be best to develop a new method of producing isotopes — for example, by using cyclotrons — that utilized low-enriched uranium (
Most academic researchers regard the NISP as a rushed affair. But the four projects did at least confirm the technical feasibility of using particle accelerators to generate technetium-99m without using weapons-grade uranium. The Cross Cancer Centre in Edmonton, Alberta, launched a clinical trial in the fall of 2011 injecting patients with technetium-99m manufactured from an on-site cyclotron, while a team led by Tri-University Meson Facility at the University of British Columbia used the backdrop of annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science to laud its production of isotopes using a cyclotron as a “major milestone” in resolving the precarious global supply.
The launch of a new era for Canada’s 12 existing cyclotrons once the NRU is shut down permanently in 2016?
Well, perhaps.
The federal government responded somewhat tepidly to the developments by announcing in its recent budget that $17 million would be provided over two years for Natural Resources Canada “to further advance the development of alternatives to existing isotope production technologies and help secure the supply of medical isotopes for Canadians” (
The latter could almost mean anything, says Éric Turcotte, clinical head of the Sherbrooke Molecular Imaging Centre in Quebec.
“We don’t know what the government wants,” says Turcotte, a member of expert review panel. “They want a solution, but they don’t want it ready to go on the market. They just want the proof of concept. After that, there is no research proposed by them.”"

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Nuclear fuel cycles: to close or not to close?

Nuclear fuel cycles: to close or not to close? "Right now there is no easy answer to the question of whether the next generation of nuclear power plants should use closed or open fuel systems.
What should you do with spent nuclear fuel: bury it forever, recycle the plutonium or invent a way of using virtually all of it? As nations worldwide plan for a new generation of reactors, and ponder what to do with the waste from existing ones, this is an increasingly important question.
For example, predicts US energy policy adviser Mark Lewis: “In the next six months the Feds at the US Department of Energy are going to say more money is needed to deal with the nuclear waste stream.”
If this is the case then it would help to have clarity of thinking over what exactly should happen with that waste stream. The problem is that even the finest minds in the nuclear industry are not sure.
Dr Charles Forsberg, executive director for the Nuclear Fuel Cycle Study at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, has looked into this issue as part of the team that put together a 296-page report called The Future of the Nuclear Fuel Cycle.
“The conclusion we came to is that we do not know today whether a closed fuel cycle is a good idea or a bad idea,” he says."
This is a direct link to the The Future of the Nuclear Fuel Cycle MIR report:

MENA offers over $300 billion to contractors

MENA offers over $300 billion to contractors: ..."Sources at Nuclear Energy Insider state that MENA nations, including Saudi Arabia, UAE, Jordan and Egypt are rapidly approaching multiple new nuclear construction and operation projects. This offers the global nuclear community over $300 billion worth of new contracts in the near future.
Since KEPCO secured the Middle East’s first tender for 4 new units to be constructed in the United Arab Emirates at a cost of $20 Billion, the Middle East and North African nuclear power industry has boomed. Currently the UAE’s national nuclear utility ENEC have announced a further 12 units to be developed, Saudi Arabia’s KA CARE will also have 16 units, Egypt and Jordan are planning their first and bordering nations such as Turkey are following suit quickly.
This boom in the nuclear construction market will generate over $300 billion in new contracts that will be available for tender over the upcoming years."

New milestone for nuclear power in China

New milestone for nuclear power in China: ..."Construction at Yangjiang began with unit 1 in December 2008. Work at unit 2 was started in August 2009 and at unit 3 in November 2010. Construction of unit 4 was meant to have started in early 2011, but this was suspended pending the results of a post-Fukushima analysis by Chinese safety authorities. Two further units are planned for Yangjiang but their schedules have also been subject to review.
Units 1, 2 and 3 are slated to begin commercial operation in 2013, 2014 and 2015, respectively.
Construction projects already underway should see China bring online some 27 new reactors by the end of 2015 - in addition to the 15 units currently in operation."

Need for a national energy policy in US?

Need for a national energy policy in US? also applied to Canada: ... couldn't agree more that it should all start with a ‘national energy dialogue’... "I think the underlying challenge to a having a stable and coherent grand energy strategy is the lack of coherence about what we want our future to look like, and what factors are actually influencing it. If we want a future reality, we need to be informed and have no illusions about what our current reality is – and understand the transition needed to get from ‘now’ to ‘desired future’. To this end, I again state that we need a ‘national energy dialogue’ to go along with a national energy policy. Whether it comes from grassroots or top down, the dialogue needs to take place so people understand what the choices are, and what the factors are guiding those choices – choices about where the energy we use comes from, it’s environmental and economic impact, as well as how it shapes the future of our country and world."

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Medical isotopes – the Coming crisis in supplies for Technetium-99

A good read: Medical isotopes – the Coming crisis in supplies for Technetium-99: ..."The 2009 shutdown, after a leak of heavy water from the reactor, lasted 15 months and caused severe disruption to supplies of moly-99, especially in North America. Four other specialized reactors around the world – in the Netherlands, Belgium, France and South Africa – tried to pick up the slack, but the result of the Chalk River shutdown was that moly-99 became much harder to get, as well as much more expensive.
Without regular supplies of moly-99 and the tech-99 it produced, many hospitals were forced to reschedule important scans for patients, often for several weeks. Some hospitals turned to alternative isotopes that are not as effective for scanning or potentially more harmful for patients.
For some patients, a positron-emission tomography (PET) scan could be used in place of a SPECT scan using tech-99. But PET scanners are much more expensive than the SPECT scanners, and are not available at many hospitals.
The Chalk River reactor restarted late in 2010, and hospital supplies of moly-99 have returned to normal – for now. But the reactor is now 54 years old, and it has already suffered one radiation leak. An attempt to extend its operating life beyond its scheduled shutdown in 2016 is likely to prove politically difficult.
So far, plans to find effective alternatives to the Chalk River reactor have come too little. In 1996, Canada commissioned two new “Maple” reactors to take over the production of medical isotopes from Chalk River. The new reactors were abandoned in 2008 as unsafe, but their construction discouraged potential competitors.
In 2010, the US Department of Energy commissioned General Electric to investigate a new method of producing medical isotopes using commercial power reactors, which are fueled by low-enriched uranium instead of the highly-enriched uranium used at Chalk River. The method showed early promise, but that project has also foundered: GE decided the process was not financially competitive, and shelved the project. [2]
But another Canadian idea has shown some positive results. After the Maple reactors were abandoned, the Canadian government invested $35-million CAN to research the production of medical isotopes using cyclotrons – small particle accelerators already used in a dozen hospitals in Canada and more than 100 hospitals in the United States.[3].
The cyclotron process uses an accelerated proton beam to bombard a sample of molybdenum-100, stripping away neutrons from the atomic nuclei of the sample to create technetium-99m directly. Researchers at the University of Sherbrooke, one of four teams investigating the new process, say a single cyclotron could produce 800 doses of tech-99 a day, enough to serve a population of around six million people.[4]"

Hitchhiker's Guide to Nuclear Energy

A cool site to learn and play energy Top Trumps! a great way to compare different types of energy generation and show the benefits of nuclear:

Saturday, 9 June 2012

Canadian Centre for Nuclear Innovation website is now launched

Canadian Centre for Nuclear Innovation website is now launched: ... A big congratulations is deserved to get the Centre off the ground and ready for great achievements in nuclear science and technology, great for Saskatchewan, great for Canada! Go Saskatchewan!!! take a moment to browse the site to see what the centre is about, what their purpose is and learn the latest about the Centre (the first call for project proposals is in June, CCNI will participate in the CNS annual conference in Saskatchewan June 10-13, and much more)... "The intent of program funding is to create multi-disciplinary clusters of academic activity in Saskatchewan, within the broad nuclear domain, in the Impact Areas of:
Advancing nuclear medicine, instruments and methods;
Advancing knowledge of materials through nuclear techniques for applications in energy, health, environment, transportation and communication;
Improving safety and engineering of nuclear energy systems, including small reactors; and
Managing the risks and benefits of nuclear technology for society and our environment."
 This is the direct link to the CNS annual conference in Saskatchewan June 10-13:

Friday, 8 June 2012

Japan’s PM says 2 nuclear reactors must be restarted to protect livelihoods, economy

Japan’s PM says 2 nuclear reactors must be restarted to protect livelihoods, economy: ...perhaps there is hope reason and not unfounded fear can prevail... "Nuclear energy is crucial for Japanese society, Noda said in a news conference broadcast live. The government wants the reactors to be operational to avoid a summertime energy crunch.
“We should restart the Ohi No. 3 and No. 4 reactors in order to protect the people’s livelihoods,” Noda said. “The Japanese society cannot survive if we stop all nuclear reactors or keep them halted.”
Local consent is not legally required for restarting the reactors, though government ministers have promised to gain understanding from the prefecture.
Noda’s speech Friday was possibly the last obstacle before a resumption of the Ohi reactors. The Fukui governor made Noda’s public appeal conditional to his consent for the startup. With the governor’s consent, Noda is expected to make a final go ahead as early as next week, so the restart could take place within days."

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

A war on science?

A must read interview with Andrew Weaver, Canada Research Chair in Climate Modelling and Analysis at the University of Victoria, about the recent science cuts and on the possible closure of the Experimental Lakes Area, but also more broadly at what it is dubbed as "the Harper Government’s war on science": ..."But the problem is, of course, that what’s happened with NSERC, is the government has moved towards enforcing research that has more industrial applications. So I do have some grants that have industrial partners because it’s the only way to get funding. And there’s some areas that are conducive to that. For instance, when you’re working in climate it’s kind of okay to work with a hydro company — Hydro Quebec and BC Hydro — who are looking for information to inform them about changing precipitation patterns. But it’s totally not okay for me to accept money to do my climate research from an oil and gas company. So it’s very difficult to force industry and universities to work together. That has to come spontaneously. And it can’t be mandated. It shows another misunderstanding of how science is done. Science can’t be mandated. It has to happen through curiosity, through people coming together to explore questions they come up with."
And this is an interview with Thomas Duck, an atmospheric scientist from Dalhousie University, ... "One of the main funders of research in this country is NSERC, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council. They have a couple of key programs that they had to shut down in light of the recent cuts. One of them is the Major Research Support program the MRS program. So the MRS program supported that fungal program. It supported an incredible number of programs across this country, including PEARL.
Basically, these guys at the MRS program support any major project in this country. So, it’s incredible. There was a letter from all of the MRS principle investigators for all the different projects which really outlined how many there were. It’s astonishing.
So yes, the cuts that they had. You know, it’s always portrayed as a reorganization. But you know the facts on the ground are that’s not what’s going on. We’re losing major support programs that really keep the activity of science going in this country. It’s falling down around us right now."

More opposition to federal science cuts

More opposition to federal science cuts: ..."Steve Perry, dean of science at the University of Ottawa, told Harper the recent developments at NSERC "represent a 'perfect storm' of program changes and cancellations that will jeopardize Canada's international reputation and competitive edge as well as Canada's ability to respond to present and future challenges."
Perry noted the NSERC cuts "are in opposition to the stated priorities of the Government of Canada to foster knowledge and innovation."
Gary Goodyear, the minister of state for science, was not available to comment on the cuts at NSERC."

China moves ahead with its plans for producing nuclear energy

China moves ahead with its plans for producing nuclear energy: ..." China's latest step toward relaunching its nuclear-power ambitions could play into its efforts to stimulate the country's economy, according to analysts, even as officials face a public that has demonstrated worries about nuclear safety.
China's cabinet said late last week that leaders had approved the country's 2020 nuclear-safety strategy and had completed inspection of existing nuclear reactors. The comments, while expected, offer a sign that China's leaders could soon begin the approvals process for new reactors, which was suspended in March 2011 amid public concern over nuclear safety following Japan's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster.
Energy experts and the nuclear-power industry are watching for when approvals might resume or whether the government could adapt different nuclear technologies as a result of the Fukushima disaster. Economists and investors also are watching because many of them see a potential Chinese nuclear build out as a part of a package of targeted stimulus efforts undertaken by Beijing amid slowing economic growth.
"The size of China's nuclear program is too big to ignore as a tool to create jobs in a potential fiscal stimulus" if problems in the euro-zone worsen, said Guo Shou, a Barclays energy analyst, in an email.
China has 15 nuclear-power reactors in operation, with a total generating capacity of around 11.9 gigawatts, according to the World Nuclear Association. Before Fukushima, China's nuclear capacity was expected to reach 80 gigawatts by 2020. As a result of the post-Fukushima slowdown, many analysts say China's expected capacity likely will be lowered to 60 to 70 gigawatts by 2020.
China's state-owned nuclear-equipment providers could see billions of dollars in revenue when the country resumes taking on new projects, just as China's biggest nuclear companies are increasingly seeking business with governments across the developing world interested in building reactors. Analysts say Chinese companies have the advantage in producing some nuclear-reactor technology at large scale as they seek to become globally competitive and support jobs at home."
The story at WNN:

Monday, 4 June 2012

Canada Celebrates 50th Anniversary of Nuclear Power Generation

Canada Celebrates 50th Anniversary of Nuclear Power Generation: ..."On June 4th, 1962, in Rolphton, Ontario, the Nuclear Power Demonstration (NPD) reactor began supplying electricity to the Ontario grid, producing enough electricity to power 10,000 homes. Today, nuclear power generation supplies 15 % of Canada's safe, clean, and reliable electricity, and almost 60% in Ontario alone.
"This historic achievement marks an important milestone in Canada's leadership in nuclear energy and technology," said Denise Carpenter, CNA President and CEO. "The NPD was made possible through the combined expertise and innovation of several companies we know today, such as AECL, and with the support and direction of the National Research Council."
One of NPD's essential roles was as a prototype for Canada's homegrown CANDU technology as it was the first heavy-water power reactor in the world. It used Canadian natural uranium and assumed the horizontal pressure-tube arrangement, which is characteristic of all CANDU units to this day. This made NPD the first commercial power reactor to have a completely replaceable core, and the first to refuel while operating at full power - both signature CANDU traits.
In the five decades since, Canada's CANDU nuclear fleet has grown to include 20 reactors with two more planned at Darlington in Ontario to help the province achieve its clean energy goals - similarly, this was the goal when nuclear energy was developed 50 years ago to compete with coal.
"Today also marks the kick-off of Canadian Environment Week," added Carpenter. "This is particularly significant since nuclear energy provides a clean and reliable source of power that is an important part of Canada's clean energy portfolio."
The role of nuclear in Canada goes far beyond being a safe, clean, affordable, available, and reliable source of energy. Nuclear has an important role to play in medicine, research, food safety, highly-skilled jobs, and makes crucial contributions to other industries across the Canadian economy.
The NPD was shut down in 1987 after having exceeded its operational goals. Our thanks to the women and men who brought us this strong symbol of Canadian innovation for a powerful, clean energy future. "
 here is a bit more about the NPD reactor:

ILL celebrates the neutron’s 80th birthday   ..."1st June 2012: Today marks 80 years since Cambridge Physicist James Chadwick’s famous Nobel Prize winning paper proving the existence of the neutron was published by the Royal Society. Chadwick's discovery led to the development of neutron research which has been making breakthroughs across the sciences.This year also marks the 40th anniversary of the use of Chadwick's famous particles at the Institut Laue-Langevin."

See also:

Saturday, 2 June 2012

How the laws of physics constrain our sustainable energy options

This is a must watch video of a very interesting and informative talk given by Professor David MacKay, chief scientific adviser to the Department of Climate Change in UK, taking "a pro-arithmetic view of the future of sustainable energy":

Members of the Society of Professional Engineers and Associates begin job action Monday, June 4th at 6:30 AM

I wonder whether this is just a labour dispute or goes way more than that as the future may still be uncertain... ... ""Ever since SNC-Lavalin bought Atomic Energy of Canada Limited (AECL) from the Government of Canada for a bargain basement price they have targeted employees with a campaign of misinformation and disrespect," says White. "Over 200 employees have fled the company since the sale was announced, representing some of the best, brightest and most experienced workers. They have voted with their feet and yet the company continues to employ labour relations tactics more common to third world countries.""