Friday, 30 March 2012
Posted by Zahra Yamani at 20:55
Request for Expression of Interest (RFEOI) for AECL/Chalk River Labs: submit your ideas directly to the Minister of Natural Resources Joe Oliver
you may remember the deadline for the Request for Expression of
Interest (RFEOI) for future of AECL/Chalk River Labs by the government
is fast approaching! it is in fact April 2... there are still a few days
remained and you could make a difference. Here is a link to the local
MP's website in which you could directly "send your comments, ideas,
responses or any information you would like to share, to Minister of
Natural Resources Joe Oliver before April 2, 2012. All submissions are
confidential." ... As the MP says: "this is your chance to be part of the
re-structuring process. You can either sit back and let others
determine your future, or you can play a part. Share your first-hand
knowledge of potential opportunities."... "If you do nothing else
except express your confidence in the future of science and technology
in Canada’s nuclear industry, you will have played an important part in
this process." it is our responsibility to take part in shaping the
future of this important national treasure, so please send your
ideas/comments as to what you'd like to see happen at CRL ASAP: http://www.cherylgallant.com/
Posted by Zahra Yamani at 20:16
CINS submits expression of interest in AECL: http://www.cins.ca/news.html
"March 30, 2012 - CINS has responded to Natural Resources Canada's
consultative process on the restructuring of AECL, known as a Request
for Expressions of Interest. The following is a summary of the
submission. The document may be downloaded here.
CINS would seek to
contribute to an oversight role so as to restore CRL to its proper
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 users.
Our members are active users of the Canadian Neutron Beam Centre that is
based around the NRU reactor at Chalk River. Our organisation seeks to
promote the use of neutron beam research techniques and our members have
been involved in research at Chalk River Laboratories almost since the
facility was created. 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. Furthermore,
in order to fully realise the scientific and technical potential of
Chalk River Laboratories, a major shift in culture will be needed so
that research is identified as a laboratory priority, and external users
from academia, government and industry are both welcomed and supported
in their research.
The National Research Universal (NRU) reactor and
the associated facilities at Chalk River Laboratories represent the
largest national investment in research infrastructure in Canada.
Despite decades of worldclass contributions to research in all aspects
of nuclear science and technology, the site was allowed to decay from
the mid-90s and it has become a pale shadow of its former self. With
investment in a new research reactor, and active promotion of a new
research-centred mission for the laboratory, a revitalised 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. 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."
this is the link to the full document submitted: http://www.cins.ca/docs/
Posted by Zahra Yamani at 19:59
This is a good read: Shunning nuclear power will lead to a warmer world: http://e360.yale.edu/feature/
shunning_new_nuclear_power_plan ts_will_lead_to_warmer_world/ 2510/
..."A physicist argues that if we allow our overblown and often
irrational fears of nuclear energy to block the building of a
significant number of new nuclear plants, we will be choosing a far more
perilous option: the intensified burning of planet-warming fossil
fuels." ... "These blows to the world’s nuclear industry will have
severe unintended consequences, most notably because they will
inevitably lead to more burning of fossil fuels. Over the past
half-century, wherever a nuclear reactor was not built, a coal-fired
power plant usually was constructed to supply the necessary electricity.
In future decades, the fewer nuclear reactors, the more coal, natural
gas, and oil will be consumed. To be sure, there are promising
alternatives like wind and solar, and increases in efficiency so that
fewer power plants will be needed. Yet realistically these cannot meet
the intense demand for rising economic prosperity, especially in China
and other developing nations. And while nuclear reactors make me
nervous, the consequences of fossil-fuel burning terrify me.
harm done to human health and the environment by all the nuclear
accidents and nuclear waste releases in history is minor compared with
the harm caused by the mining and burning of coal, with other fossil
fuels not far behind. And there is worse: global warming, caused largely
by the emission of heat-trapping gases from fossil fuels. If emissions
continue to increase in a “business as usual” fashion — let alone if
they increase even faster as reactors are phased out — future
generations will suffer as we destabilize the climate system that has
supported human civilization for thousands of years. Rising sea levels,
droughts in key agricultural regions, and ever-worsening heat waves will
threaten people just as the world’s population is projected to expand
from 7 billion today to 10 billion by 2100. We will see the
impoverishment of some of the ecosystems on which our society depends.
While nuclear power offers no magical solution, it could help us avoid
Posted by Zahra Yamani at 05:51
Wednesday, 28 March 2012
On anniversary of the Three Mile Island accident, here is the link to the PBS documentary chronicling it: http://www.youtube.com/
watch?v=eLPAigMuBk0&list=PL937B 0E873F58A3D7&index=1&feature=p lpp_video
Posted by Zahra Yamani at 21:41
There is another article on CBC that discusses the issue of whether Canada's federal scientists being 'muzzled'? http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/
... Well perhaps it is a good time to review the Communications Policy
of the Government of Canada that took effect on August 1, 2006
replacing the old one from 2002. Read for yourself and decide whether
there is a directive from the government that prevents the scientists to
talk to the media, especially note article 19 and 20, also copied
below:http://www.tbs-sct.gc.ca/pol/ doc-eng.aspx?id=12316§ion=t ext#sec5.20 "19. Media Relations
Journalists and other media representatives play an important role in
the democratic process - providing the public with news and information
about government, and reporting on the public's views and opinions of
government. Institutions must cultivate proactive relations with the
media to promote public awareness and understanding of government
policies, programs, services and initiatives.
operate and respond effectively in a 24-hour media environment. They
must be able, on short notice, to reach and inform the media on issues
of importance to decision-makers and the public. Institutions engage the
media using a variety of communication tools, including news
conferences, background or technical briefings, news releases, and
Institutions must facilitate information
or interview requests from the media, and manage plans and strategies
for communicating with the media. Institutions must consult their
minister's office when planning media campaigns or strategies that could
involve ministerial participation, or when preparing a response to a
media enquiry that could have implications for the minister.
Institutions must respect the authority and responsibility of
Parliament, whose members are entitled to learn about planned
legislative initiatives before information about them is released to the
Institutions must ensure the quality and consistency of
information services provided to the media in both official languages.
Media enquiries, whether by phone, email, letter or in person, must be
addressed promptly to accommodate publication deadlines.
Institutions must ensure processes and procedures are in place to assist
managers and employees in responding to media calls. Communication
specialists responsible for media relations ensure that media requests,
particularly for interviews or technical information on specialized
subjects, are directed to knowledgeable managers or staff designated to
speak as official representatives of their institution. (See Requirement
20 for policy direction on spokespersons.)
Ministers are the principal spokespersons of the Government of Canada.
They are supported in this role by appointed aides, including executive
assistants, communication directors and press secretaries in ministers'
offices, and by the senior management teams of government institutions,
which include deputy heads, heads of communications and other officials.
Ministers present and explain government policies, priorities and
decisions to the public. Institutions, leaving political matters to the
exclusive domain of ministers and their offices, focus their
communication activities on issues and matters pertaining to the
policies, programs, services and initiatives they administer.
institution's senior management must designate managers and
knowledgeable staff in head offices and in the regions to speak in an
official capacity on issues or subjects for which they have
responsibility and expertise.
Officials designated to speak on an
institution's behalf, including technical or subject-matter experts,
must receive instruction, particularly in media relations, to carry out
their responsibilities effectively and to ensure the requirements of
their institution and this policy are met. (See Requirement 19 for
policy direction on media relations.)
senior managers, are often called upon to represent institutions before
parliamentary committees and boards of inquiry. To ensure effective
communication that respects official protocol, spokespersons must be
familiar with Privy Council Office guidelines on appearing before
Parliament and other official bodies.
Spokespersons at all times
must respect privacy rights, security needs, matters before the courts,
government policy, Cabinet confidences and ministerial responsibility.
When speaking as an institution's official representative, they must
identify themselves by name and position, speak on the record for public
attribution, and confine their remarks to matters of fact concerning
the policies, programs, services or initiatives of their institution."
Posted by Zahra Yamani at 21:36
Tuesday, 27 March 2012
Ion Beam Laboratory performs research on advanced materials for future
reactors. A replacement for the aging NRU reactor will ensure that
Canada will be able to perform such research well into the future...
here is the link for Sandia's story at physorg: http://www.physorg.com/news/
"andia National Laboratories is using its Ion Beam Laboratory (IBL) to
study how to rapidly evaluate the tougher advanced materials needed to
build the next generation of nuclear reactors and extend the lives of
Posted by Zahra Yamani at 18:12
US president's speech at Hankuk University on the value of nuclear technologies: "http://www.whitehouse.gov/
the-press-office/2012/03/26/ remarks-president-obama-hankuk- university
..."And this brings me to the final area where we’ve made progress -- a
renewed commitment to harnessing the power of the atom not for war, but
for peaceful purposes. After the tragedy at Fukushima, it was right and
appropriate that nations moved to improve the safety and security of
nuclear facilities. We’re doing so in the United States. It’s taking
place all across the world.
As we do, let’s never forget the
astonishing benefits that nuclear technology has brought to our lives.
Nuclear technology helps make our food safe. It prevents disease in the
developing world. It’s the high-tech medicine that treats cancer and
finds new cures. And, of course, it’s the energy -- the clean energy
that helps cut the carbon pollution that contributes to climate change.
Here in South Korea, as you know, as a leader in nuclear energy, you’ve
shown the progress and prosperity that can be achieved when nations
embrace peaceful nuclear energy and reject the development of nuclear
And with rising oil prices and a warming climate, nuclear
energy will only become more important. That’s why, in the United
States, we’ve restarted our nuclear industry as part of a comprehensive
strategy to develop every energy source. We supported the first new
nuclear power plant in three decades. We’re investing in innovative
technologies so we can build the next generation of safe, clean nuclear
power plants. And we’re training the next generation of scientists and
engineers who are going to unlock new technologies to carry us forward.
One of the great challenges they’ll face and that your generation will
face is the fuel cycle itself in producing nuclear energy. We all know
the problem: The very process that gives us nuclear energy can also put
nations and terrorists within the reach of nuclear weapons. We simply
can’t go on accumulating huge amounts of the very material, like
separated plutonium, that we’re trying to keep away from terrorists.
And that’s why we’re creating new fuel banks, to help countries realize
the energy they seek without increasing the nuclear dangers that we
fear. That’s why I’ve called for a new framework for civil nuclear
cooperation. We need an international commitment to unlocking the fuel
cycle of the future. In the United States we’re investing in the
research and development of new fuel cycles so that dangerous materials
can’t be stolen or diverted. And today I urge nations to join us in
seeking a future where we harness the awesome power of the atom to build
and not to destroy."
Posted by Zahra Yamani at 18:06
Monday, 26 March 2012
birthday Tony Leggett! Leggett was born on March 26, 1938 in London, he
had almost finished his bachelor's degree in classics and philosophy at
Oxford when he decided to switch to physics. About 15 years later, he
did the work that would earn him the 2003 Nobel physics prize: on the
phase diagram of superfluid helium-3: http://www.nobelprize.org/
is the link to an interview Richard Feynman had with historian Charles
Weiner when he spoke about his life and work in length: interesting to
note is the role played by Feynman's dentist in the great physicist's
early science education!: http://www.aip.org/history/
Posted by Zahra Yamani at 20:59
Earth warming faster than expected: http://news.sciencemag.org/
sciencenow/2012/03/ earth-warming-faster-than-expec ted.html
"By 2050, global average temperature could be between 1.4°C and 3°C
warmer than it was just a couple of decades ago, according to a new
study. That's substantially higher than estimates produced by other
climate analyses, suggesting that Earth's climate could warm much more
quickly than previously thought."
Posted by Zahra Yamani at 20:54
Saturday, 24 March 2012
Helium shortage: http://www.redorbit.com/news/
science/1112497113/ helium-shortage-leaves-scientis ts-in-no-mood-to-celebrate/:
perhaps recycling helium in all research labs should also be attempted!
"According to some, the world may run completely out of helium gas
within 30 years. Such an outage could have major implications on space
travel and exploration, scientific and nuclear research, and even
medical advances and early detection of diseases.
To make the
situation all the more frustrating is the way we are depleting this
resource: selling the gas at unbelievable low prices for party balloons
and other uses. The writing on the wall is clear: the world is running
out of the precious gas at an alarming rate, and scientists worry if
current conditions continue, we may have to travel, quite literally, to
the ends of the Earth to find more.
Helium is a natural byproduct of
petrochemicals and therefore, is a non-renewable resource. The gas is
released during natural gas and oil drilling. Therefore, most of the gas
are found in the mineral-rich south and southwest. If the gas is not
captured, it is released into the air, making it impossible to recover."
Posted by Zahra Yamani at 21:51
Friday, 23 March 2012
Magnetic cloak? yes!!! http://physicsworld.com/cws/
"Researchers in Europe have built a magnetic cloak that, in theory, is
reasonably practical to manufacture. An object concealed by the new
cloak, the researchers claim, is magnetically undetectable, while the
cloak itself is made from materials available in many physics labs the
world over. This means that it is, in principle, the first cloak that
should be reasonably practical to manufacture. "
Posted by Zahra Yamani at 20:30
Thursday, 22 March 2012
This is a nice writeup about BTI company (http://www.bubbletech.ca/) which began in April 1988 a startup that spun out of AECL: http://ontarioeast.ca/content/
... "In the 1980s, Harry Ing was looking for more effective ways to
measure radiation dose from potentially harzardous radiation particles
called neutrons. He developed a device called the bubble detector, which used bubbles trapped inside a gel to take a quantitative measurement of neutron radiation exposure.
The company has grown steadily over the last two decades and now offers
a wide range of radiation and explosives detection technologies to
clients. It also performs cutting-edge contract research with its team
of scientists, engineers, and support staff."
Posted by Zahra Yamani at 19:08
students in the field of neutron scattering, this is how NRU has
enabled that for many years, a new research reactor replacing it will
ensure that this could go on for many more years... http://www.nrc-cnrc.gc.ca/eng/
Posted by Zahra Yamani at 18:56
video from Barry Brook of Brave New Climate stating a much needed
perspective as to why we need nuclear energy!, please share: http://www.youtube.com/
"Climate change and sustainability of the global human enterprise are
two of the most critical issues of the 21st Century. If we are to tackle
these problems effectively, we need to make prudent, evidence-based
choices about energy."
And another short video this one from Nuclear Energy Institute: "Nuclear Energy: Cleaner, Safer and Made in America": http://www.youtube.com/user/
... and here a couple more ads from Nuclear Energy Institute: http://us.arevablog.com/
2012/03/23/ whats-the-value-of-nuclear- energy/
Posted by Zahra Yamani at 18:43
and note that the collaboration is also with colleagues from Atomic
Energy of Canada’s Chalk River Laboratories: New nuclear institute
fosters collaborations in advanced materials research: http://news.thinksask.ca/2012/
03/ new-nuclear-institute-fosters-c ollaborations-in-advanced-mate rials-research/
"Most people are familiar with cubic zirconia as a more economical
alternative to diamonds in jewelry, but for University of Saskatchewan
researcher Andrew Grosvenor, the interest lies in its remarkable
properties beyond its ability to sparkle.
Cubic zirconium is hard,
durable, resists corrosion, and has a high melting point – more than
2,750 degrees Celsius. These qualities make it ideal for use in nuclear
reactors or to sequester nuclear waste products.
“This material has a
large number of current and potential applications,” Grosvenor says.
“In this case, it could be used to store radioactive waste elements or
to act as a host for neutron absorbers, which would be placed in a
Grosvenor, assistant professor of chemistry at the
University of Saskatchewan, is exploring cross-country collaboration
with colleagues from Atomic Energy of Canada’s Chalk River Laboratories
to look at ways of combining zirconium with other elements to create new
materials with a range of uses."
Posted by Zahra Yamani at 18:25
Wednesday, 21 March 2012
neat! would you like to have a clock accurate to within a tenth of a
second over 14 billion years – the age of the universe? here is the "the
blueprint for a nuclear clock that would get its extreme accuracy from
the nucleus of a single thorium ion."... and you wonder what use that
would have? it could be used for "certain forms of secure communication –
and perhaps of greater interest – for studying the fundamental theories
of physics. A nuclear clock could be as much as one hundred times more
accurate than current atomic clocks, which now serve as the basis for
the global positioning system (GPS) and a broad range of important
Posted by Zahra Yamani at 18:39
Tuesday, 20 March 2012
wondered how Albert Einstein proved the existence of atoms in 1905?
here is a great read by Paul Bowersox at the ANS Nuclear Cafe
commemorating Einstein's 133nd birthday: http://ansnuclearcafe.org/
2012/03/20/ albert-einstein-and-the-most-el emental-atomic-theory/
Posted by Zahra Yamani at 20:36
China grabbing up uranium to secure nuclear lead: http://www.smartplanet.com/
blog/intelligent-energy/ china-grabbing-up-uranium-to-se cure-nuclear-lead/14149
... well I think it is called planning ahead! "More signs that China
will lead the world in nuclear power: The country is snapping up a
significant chunk of the world’s supply of uranium in part by buying
mines in Africa and making deals with Canada to secure the nuclear fuel.
China is on track to build up to 100 nuclear reactors by 2030. It
already has 27 of those under construction, as a path away from the
polluting, CO2-emitting coal-fired plants that supply 80 percent of its
electricity. The country looks likely to vault into the top position of
nuclear generating nations - 100 new reactors would be nearly a quarter
of the 435 nuclear power reactors that are commercially generating
electricity in the world today."
Posted by Zahra Yamani at 20:31
good read: "A silly claim is now making the rounds the United States
that a supply of natural gas that – at unchanged production – could last
a hundred years. Until I see more evidence of a scientific nature, I
intend to believe that, with luck, the present production of natural gas
in that country could be continued for at most 50 years. On the other
hand, it is certain that there is enough uranium and thorium to supply
every reactor being constructed (or for that matter contemplated) for at
least a hundred years. This is because, as I pointed out in my latest
Energy Tribune article, it is nuclear and not natural gas or anything
else that will benefit the most from the march of technology."... "The
most expensive nuclear equipment now being purchased or contemplated is,
in reality, less expensive than the least expensive alternatives that
are presently available!" http://www.energytribune.com/
Posted by Zahra Yamani at 05:17
Friday, 16 March 2012
A must read: Now is the Time for Canada to Invest in Nuclear Energy: http://
prosperitysaskatchewan.wordpres s.com/2012/03/16/ now-is-the-time-for-canada-to-i nvest-in-nuclear-energy/
"Canada has an opportunity to regain a leadership position in the one
of the world’s pre-eminent clean energy technologies. But to do this,
our leaders must take courageous, long-term decisions to invest in new
nuclear energy projects today. As a proud Canadian and nuclear industry
employee, I look forward to seeing the next new nuclear plant under
construction in Ontario. While this may not be the easiest course of
action, our leaders will find that new investment in nuclear energy is
good for Canadians’ electricity rates, Canada’s industrial base, and
Canada’s clean energy future."
Posted by Zahra Yamani at 20:08
The winners of the 2nd "Illustrating NMI3" picture competition are announced: http://nmi3.eu/news-and-media/
winners-of-the-2nd-illustrating -nmi3-picture-competition-anno unced-.html?back=yes
... Love the photo which won the second prize (by Holger Kohlmann from
Universität des Saarlandes in Germany): a picture of a sapphire gas
pressure cell, on the high-intensity diffractometer D20 at the Institut
Laue Langevin (ILL).
Posted by Zahra Yamani at 20:04
CNSC allows the restart of the Bruce A Unit 2: Duncan Hawthorne, President and CEO's on youtube: http://www.youtube.com/
watch?v=HUIfQh5fn8M&feature=you tu.be "The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission has given Bruce Power the go-ahead to power up its Unit 2 reactor.
Today's permission to remove reactor shutdown guarantees from Unit 2,
which has been shut down for nearly 20 years, means it is now a live
reactor and Bruce Power can complete final safety checks in preparation
for synchronization to Ontario's electricity grid.
approval clears the way for our staff to take the reactor to power
operation and complete the remaining commissioning and start-up tests on
the unit," said Duncan Hawthorne, President and CEO. "Operations staff
will complete a number of tests that will clear the way for Unit 2
deliver to low-cost, clean, reliable power to the provincial grid."
Innovation has been a key theme of the refurbishment program on Unit 2,
with many complex maneuvers being completed, when previously they were
thought to be impossible.
"A project of this magnitude has never
been done before on a CANDU reactor and that cannot be overlooked,"
Hawthorne said. "We have learned many lessons from our work on Unit 2
and have implemented them on Unit 1 which is following very closely
behind Unit 2 and should achieve a similar milestone in a few short
The next step will be to synchronize Unit 2 to the Ontario
electricity grid. The 750 megawatt unit will produce enough electricity
to power approximately 500,000 homes which is roughly the size of the
city of Hamilton." this is the link to the CNSC's announcement: http://
www.nuclearsafety.gc.ca/eng/ mediacentre/updates/2012/ March-16-2012-bruce-a-2.cfm
Posted by Zahra Yamani at 19:58
Thursday, 15 March 2012
Robert Birgeneau, UC Berkeley Chancellor, will receive the Cliff Shull
Prize for his research in the field of neutron scattering at the ACNS
meeting in June (http://www.mrs.org/acns-2012/).
The award is given to a leading researcher who has made lifelong
contributions to the field of neutron science every two years. This is
richly deserved for Prof. Birgeneau considering his extensive and
continuing record of high important scientific articles and a remarkable
track record of supervising students and post-docs... In this great
interview, the chancellor talks about juggling the chancellorship and
staying on the cutting edge of physics research: http://
newscenter.berkeley.edu/2012/ 02/06/ for-chancellor-birgeneau-resear ch-is-for-life/ "Q: What work of yours is the Neutron Scattering Society of America recognizing?
It’s actually more of a career award. In trying to understand these
exotic materials, it turns out that using beams of neutrons from either
accelerators or nuclear reactors is particularly important. I have a
longtime investment in the basic science in this field, plus have
chaired DOE (Department of Energy) committees that assessed both the
field and the facilities that are available nationally and
internationally. So, the award also recognizes the leadership that I
provided on the administrative side. In addition, the award recognizes
my success in graduate student mentoring. Former students of mine are
now professors at Harvard, MIT, Yale, UC Santa Barbara, Cambridge and
many other leading universities nationally and internationally." ... "Q:
What kinds of experiments do you do?
Our goal is to identify
materials that have unusually interesting properties, such as
high-temperature superconductors. The Shull Prize recognizes my use of
neutron beams to probe the properties of these materials at the atomic
level. The neutron beam scatters off the atoms collectively and tells us
about the electron spins and the nuclear positions.
As I noted
before, our aim isn’t for practical devices; it is to understand
materials at the most fundamental level. When I began my research
program here at Berkeley, we focused on traditional high-temperature
superconductors, which are based on two-dimensional sheets of copper
oxide. But I had a stroke of luck. In 2007 and 2008, a completely new
and unexpected class of materials was discovered based on sheets of iron
arsenide – iron plus arsenic. This was a boon for me because, when I
switched to studying these materials, which have quite exotic
properties, I was really starting up a new research program from scratch
at Berkeley. Instead of just continuing old lines of research going
back to my MIT days, I had the opportunity to participate in a
completely new field.
Now, we’re just working away at trying to
characterize the materials and to elucidate the basic properties, so we
know how to think about them. This field is at a very early stage of
development, which is the most fun for me, my students and my postdocs."
Posted by Zahra Yamani at 17:30
Wednesday, 14 March 2012
Bob Walker, President and CEO of AECL, speaks at
the 2012 Canadian Nuclear Association Conference: "Dr. Bob Walker on how
Atomic Energy of Canada Limited's (AECL) Nuclear Labs are applying
their resources, knowledge and unique nuclear research facilities to the
benefit of Canada and the world. He describes AECL's role as an advisor
to, and agent of, the Canadian Government for public policy purposes.
He goes on to explain how to participate in the Nuclear Labs' business
innovation initiatives, and how the Labs can assist your company with
technology transfer, to boost competitive advantage and commercial
Posted by Zahra Yamani at 19:33
Tuesday, 13 March 2012
cool! superconducting maglev track could launch spacecraft into
orbit!!! another example of how fundamental research in one area of
science could be used in different areas and remove important obstacles!
Posted by Zahra Yamani at 07:16
Monday, 12 March 2012
A must read: http://www.forbes.com/sites/
christopherhelman/2012/03/10/ fukushimas-refugees-are-victims -of-irrational-fear-not-radiat ion/print/
Fukushima's Refugees Are Victims Of Irrational Fear, Not Radiation:
"The radiation in those potato chips isn’t going to kill me. Likewise,
no one is going to die from Fukushima radiation. Cancer rates are not
going to increase in Japan. The disaster wasn’t hidden like the Soviets
did, so that people unknowingly ate iodine-131 for two months before it
decayed away to nothing. No one threw workers into the fire like
lemmings because they didn’t know what to do."
Honourable Rob Norris on Saskatchewan's nuclear investments, a must
watch video: "2012 Canadian Nuclear Association Conference and Trade
The Honourable Rob Norris on the Government of Saskatchewan's plan for the future of the province's nuclear industry." http://www.youtube.com/
paraphrasing: "we are working to adding value through innovation, we
are very focused and energized to adding value to uranium though nuclear
research in medicine, materials science, small reactor modules... we
have been working on CLS in producing medical isotopes ($12M
investment), Canadian Centre for nuclear innovation has been established
and funded, research cyclotron, partnership with Hiotachi GE in nuclear
research allowing us to make real progress, and recent announcement for
uranium sale to China... SK intends to gain leadership role in nuclear
R&D and we know we need partnerships as these could not be done
Posted by Zahra Yamani at 06:45
Saturday, 10 March 2012
Science policy decision making, it could be difficult at times, this paper (http://www.plosone.org/
article/ info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal. pone.0031824)
addresses questions such as: “understanding the role of scientific
evidence in policymaking” and “democratic governance of scientific
advice”. The questions themselves include “Under what conditions does
scientific evidence legitimise political decisions?” and “What impact
has research on the relationship between science and policy actually had
on science policy?” but are the "science" and "policy" separable? a
thought provoking article in any case...
Posted by Zahra Yamani at 08:01
US DOE makes a commitment for advancing Small Modular Reactors: http://energy.gov/articles/
energy-department-announces-sma ll-modular-reactor-technology- partnerships-savannah-river ... also see: http://www.examiner.com/ nuclear-energy-in-national/ doe-signs-agreement-to-move-for ward-on-small-modular-reactor- testing
: "SMR’s have been a hot topic in the nuclear industry for a while now
and were developed to solve three large issues that face the industry as
it stands today. The first is cost. With a new, large-scale plant
costing somewhere in the six to eight billion dollar range, power
companies are having a tough time finding the financing to pay for them.
A large part of the construction cost comes from building and
certifying the reactor. In contrast, SMRs could be built and certified
in a factory and shipped to the actual power plant site, greatly
reducing the costs involved. Also, since SMRs are smaller than their
larger brothers, they are much cheaper, meaning smaller power companies
will be able to bring the capital together to build them. The second
issue is refueling. Refueling a large reactor takes a great deal of
time, during which electricity is not being provided to the public.
Nuclear fuel has to be transported to the site, the reactor has to be
disassembled, and the fuel swapped out. Then the old fuel has to be
stored somewhere. SMRs deal with this problem by being a total-package
deal. The reactor is shipped to the site, and once it runs out of juice,
the reactor is shipped back. No on-site refueling, no interruption of
power production (as long as you got your new reactor in before you ship
the old one back), and no on-site storage of spent nuclear fuel. The
third issue is size. Nuclear power plants up till now have been big,
base load providing, power plants. These days the DOE is moving toward a
distributed approach to energy, meaning lots of smaller power plants
spread out along the grid, and SMRs are the nuclear industry’s answer to
that approach. Beyond just their application in the power industry
though, SMRs could also be used to provide process heat for industrial
applications, such as hydrogen production.
Up till now though SMRs
have been a nice thought, with some Autocad drawings and a few
calculations done, but they remain untested. With access to a test
facility, the three companies named above will be building their designs
for actual use. Hopefully through testing they’ll discover that the SMR
concept is still feasible and doable, while still solving the cost and
refueling issues of the past."
Posted by Zahra Yamani at 07:34
High optimism for nuclear power on Fukushima anniversary: http://
www.world-nuclear-news.org/ NP_Optimism_from_industry_on_Fu kushima_anniversary_0903121.ht ml
"Industry leaders remain bullish on nuclear power's prospects in coming
decades, in part because of the high priority that has been placed on
identifying and addressing potential weaknesses such as were revealed
last year at Fukushima Daiichi.
"Very little has changed... in
respect of the future utilisation of nuclear in the energy mix," said
the World Energy Council (WEC) in a perspective document: Nuclear Energy
One Year After Fukushima. After surveying its members in 94 countries,
WEC found that "The Fukushima accident has not led to any significant
retraction in nuclear energy programs in countries outside Germany,
Switzerland, Italy and Japan," said senior project manager Ayed
Al-Qatani. Progress in some countries' programs has been delayed, but
"there is no indication that their pursuit of nuclear power has declined
in response to Fukushima."
This global stability in nuclear policy
stems from the unchanged nature of the drivers behind nuclear power's
use in the first place: The world still has an increasing need for
reliable, affordable and secure energy sources that can also help
achieve a lower-carbon mix. And while the accident at Fukushima Daiichi
"shocked not only world opinion, but also the nuclear industry ...
people can draw confidence from the absence of any health harm even from
this extreme, highly unusual event," said the World Nuclear Association
"Countries like Germany will soon demonstrate the economic
and environmental irresponsibility of allowing politicians to set
important national policies in the middle of a panic attack." John
Ritch, World Nuclear Association
Nevertheless, the accident has had
"severe social and economic consequences," said WNA, due to the
prolonged evacuation of Fukushima residents. One year after the tsunami
and several months after stability was restored at the power plant site,
the evacuation remains the principal impact of the accident.
"Countries like Germany will soon demonstrate the economic and
environmental irresponsibility of allowing politicians to set important
national policies in the middle of a panic attack," said John Ritch,
WNA's director general. "In contrast, many national leaders who soberly
reviewed their energy strategies have reaffirmed the conclusion they
reached before Fukushima: that nuclear power is a uniquely reliable and
expandable source of low-carbon energy that can be safely used to meet
This is where the full report could be found: http://
Posted by Zahra Yamani at 07:25
Thursday, 8 March 2012
wanted to explore the scale of universe from nuclear particles to far
edge of the observable universe? this is pretty cool tool for it!!! 10^
-24 m to 10^ +27 m should cover it all, just use scroll bar to explore
the scale of our universe from smallest to largest distances!!! http://htwins.net/scale2/
Posted by Zahra Yamani at 06:48
Monday, 5 March 2012
Significant increase in science (including basic science) funding in China announced in the draft budget today: http://news.sciencemag.org/
scienceinsider/2012/03/ another-bumper-year-for-chinese -.html
"Another year, another chance for scientists here to pop the champagne
corks. In a draft budget released today at the opening session of the
annual National People's Congress, China has earmarked 32.45 billion
yuan ($5.14 billion) for basic research in 2012—up 26% from last year's
Overall, central government spending on science and
technology is slated to rise 12.4%, to 228.54 billion yuan ($36.23
billion). Scientists will also benefit from a 24% jump in funding for
Project 985 and Project 211, which funnel money to elite universities.
In a 2-hour speech at the Congress, comparable to the U.S. State of the
Union address, Premier Wen Jiabao dwelled primarily on China's economic
health. Many economists expect growth to slow in China this year, and
the central government has set humbler goals. Wen announced that the
target for GDP growth in 2012 would be lowered from 8% to 7.5%. Chinese
scientists are expected to do their part to fan the embers. Echoing a
theme of last year's speech, Wen pledged to "more closely integrate
science and technology with the economy." "
If you are wondering where
Canada stands, it ranks 9th overall behind US, China, Japan, Germany,
South Korea, France, UK and India: http://en.wikipedia.org/
wiki/ List_of_countries_by_resear ch_and_development_spendin g
Posted by Zahra Yamani at 18:10
Saturday, 3 March 2012
Saskatchewan's nuclear research funding will have benefits in a wide range of applications including agriculture
Saskatchewan's nuclear research funding will have benefits in a wide range of applications including agriculture: http://www.producer.com/2012/
03/ nuclear-research-funding-may-be nefit-agriculture%E2%80%A9/
"New funding from the Saskatchewan government will assist nuclear
research at the University of Saskatchewan, part of which could go to
Innovation minister Rob Norris signed a
multi-year agreement last week for the province’s Innovation
Saskatchewan agency to provide $30 million in funding for the Canadian
Centre for Nuclear Innovation at the university.
And when the
research centre puts out the call for proposals later this year, the
CCNI’s interim director John Root said there could be interest from the
Western College of Veterinary Medicine and the College of Agriculture
“Part of what we’re doing is to help set up a lab
to enable medical imaging research and development, and one of the
applications there could be in getting a better idea about imaging in
plants,” said Root, also the director of the National Research Council’s
Canadian Beam Centre."
Posted by Zahra Yamani at 10:28
the wind power industry the greatest scam of our age? here is an
article about the UK that could also easily be applied to other
news/article-1361316/ 250bn-wind-power-industry-great est-scam-age.html#ixzz1o4EbkPQ r
"Scarcely a day goes by without more evidence to show why the
Government's obsession with wind turbines, now at the centre of our
national energy policy, is one of the greatest political blunders of our
Under a target agreed with the EU, Britain is committed
within ten years — at astronomic expense — to generating nearly a third
of its electricity from renewable sources, mainly through building
thousands more wind turbines.
But the penny is finally dropping for
almost everyone — except our politicians — that to rely on windmills to
keep our lights on is a colossal and very dangerous act of
Take, for example, the 350ft monstrosity familiar
to millions of motorists who drive past as it sluggishly revolves above
the M4 outside Reading.
This wind turbine performed so poorly
(working at only 15 per cent of its capacity) that the £130,000
government subsidy given to its owners was more than the £100,000 worth
of electricity it produced last year.
Meanwhile, official figures
have confirmed that during those freezing, windless weeks around
Christmas, when electricity demand was at record levels, the
contribution made by Britain’s 3,500 turbines was minuscule.
To keep our homes warm we were having to import vast amounts of power from nuclear reactors in France.
Wind turbines are so expensive that Holland recently became the first
country in Europe to abandon its EU renewable energy target, announcing
that it is to slash its annual subsidy by billions of euros.
unpopular are wind turbines that our own Government has just offered
'bribes' to local communities, in the form of lower council tax and
Posted by Zahra Yamani at 10:22
Acidic shift may be fastest in 300 million years: http://www.abc.net.au/science/
"The world's oceans are turning acidic at what could be the fastest
pace of any time in the past 300 million years, even more rapidly than
during the rapid emission of carbon 56 million years ago, say
scientists."... "Quickly acidifying seawater eats away at coral reefs,
which provide habitat for other animals and plants, and makes it harder
for mussels and oysters to form protective shells. It can also interfere
with small organisms that feed commercial fish like salmon.
phenomenon has been a top concern of Jane Lubchenco, the head of the US
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, who has conducted
demonstrations about acidification during hearings in the US Congress.
Oceans get more acidic when more carbon gets into the atmosphere. In
pre-industrial times, that occurred periodically in natural pulses of
carbon that also pushed up global temperatures, the scientists write.
Human activities, including the burning of fossil fuels, have increased
the level of atmospheric carbon to 392 parts per million from about 280
parts per million at the start of the industrial revolution. Carbon
dioxide is one of several heat-trapping gases that contribute to global
Posted by Zahra Yamani at 10:16
Thursday, 1 March 2012
$600-million contract for SNC-Lavalin and Aecon for refurbishment of Darlington nuclear plant: http://www.thestar.com/
business/article/ 1139270--snc-lavalin-aecon-win- darlington-nuclear-contract?bn =1
"SNC-Lavalin Nuclear and Aecon Construction have been awarded a
$600-million contract for the overhaul of the four reactors at the
Darlington nuclear plant.
The contract is the first of seven that
will make up the multi-billion-dollar refit of the giant nuclear
station, which is due for a mid-life refurbishment.
Previous nuclear projects in Ontario have gone badly over budget, and opposition New Democrats criticized the contract award
But Energy Minister Chris Bentley says this time meticulous planning and preparation will keep costs in line.
“What was announced today was a different approach,” said Bentley in an interview.
Planners will map out the work into 30-minute segments, Bentley said.
And a training centre with mock-ups of complex components of the nuclear
station will allow crews to practice tasks before they start on the
“One of the reasons they’re doing such an extensive
design, planning preparation exercise is so they can map out the
construction, and transfer any risks of missing those construction
timelines to the contractor,” he said.
The initial $600 million contract will cover the planning phase of the project.
The price for the second phase – executing the work – will be
determined once the plan has been completed. Planning should be finished
by 2016, and work completed by 2023. "
Posted by Zahra Yamani at 21:04
hmmm interesting, let's see whether the insurance company pays anything for the delays! http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/
new-brunswick/story/2012/03/01/ nb-point-lepreau-lawsuit-1137.h tml
"NB Power and Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd. are suing an insurance
company for $524 million to help cover some of the costs related to the
delayed refurbishment of the Point Lepreau Nuclear Generating Station.
The companies have filed documents in a Saint John court claiming
they're entitled to payments for damage and delay during the
refurbishment of the nuclear plant.
The project is three years late and more than $1 billion over budget.
NB Power is seeking $320 million in damages and AECL is after $204 million in damages.
NB Power and AECL allege that their insurance policy with Lloyd's of
London covers the reactor tubes that were damaged during the rebuild.
The Crown corporations also claim that the insurer should pay for
hundreds of millions of dollars in extra costs caused by delays.
The insurance company denied a previous claim by NB Power and AECL last year."
Posted by Zahra Yamani at 20:58