Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Nuclear Power in Canada: Perception and Promise

A great read: Nuclear Power in Canada: Perception and Promise: "The Allies’ main concern at the time was racing Hitler to the Bomb, but the science – only uncovered in 1939 – promised so much more: unprecedented medicines and disease-fighting techniques, stronger and cheaper materials, seemingly boundless energy. Nuclear fission was fast becoming a revolutionary discovery of humankind, and by war’s end, Canada had the jump on the rest of the world in exploring its non-military potential.
 This happened at Chalk River Laboratories, about two hours west of Ottawa, in the middle of what many Canadians would have considered “nowhere”. Here the National Research Council built (and later turned over to a new crown corporation, Atomic Energy of Canada Limited) the world’s best-equipped nuclear laboratory in its day, sparking a journey of discovery that led to cancer therapy, nuclear medicine, a long list of scientific firsts, and a made-in-Canada nuclear power reactor that today leads the industry for fuel efficiency and safety.
 The most remarkable thing about this Canadian achievement is perhaps that hardly anyone in Canada knows about it. In its day it made a splash, but for a long list of reasons this field of endeavour has slipped into a form of faux-obscurity: anonymously underpinning a large segment of Canadian industry, science and medicine, while gaining the limelight only when there’s bad news to tell.
 This is not to whine, since the nuclear community in Canada has done quite well for itself: the CANDU reactor, one of two fundamental reactor concepts in commercial operation around the world, powers half of Ontario with technological distinctiveness that can only be compared to this country’s aerospace triumphs: it is the Avro Arrow that flew.
As an economic engine this invisible industry keeps about 70,000 Canadians employed and pumps $7 billion per year into the GDP – long eclipsing its historical investment from Canadian taxpayers. As a source of medical innovation, Canadian nuclear technology has revolutionized clinical diagnosis, and armed doctors with one of the most formidable weapons against cancer." ...."From wartime expedient to sustainable innovator, Canada’s nuclear venture has brought dividends in world-leading science, revolutionary medicine, and diverse energy options. Canadians are privileged to face multiple choices in mapping our economic future, and energy is at the heart of this process. It is also our ethical responsibility to ensure that developing nations have as much choice as possible, for as long as possible. Critical thinking today will ensure that at least as many options are open to our grandchildren, from whom we borrow our world. "

1 comment:

  1. Why are your comparing the Avro Arrow to the Canadian nuclear industry?

    The real Arrow was made by always British owned Avro Canada and was cancelled for sensible reasons of economy and performance. The Arrow would have cost nearly five times as much as a Voodoo. The ferry range of the Arrow with Iroquois engine was only 1254 nm compared to the Voodoo's 1930+ nm. The Liberals decided to cancel the Arrow program in 1957 and the military recommended cancellation in 1958. At the time all knowledgeable parties, including the Liberals, were agreed the Arrow program should end.

    Do you really want to say the Canadian nuclear industry is also a giant 'white elephant'?