Friday, 29 June 2012
Thursday, 28 June 2012
Two companies (Westinghouse and SNC-Lavalin/Candu Energy Inc.) could build new Darlington reactors: http://www.durhamregion.com/
news/article/ 1382924--two-companies-could-bu ild-new-darlington-reactors
..."Ontario Power Generation has signed service agreements with two
companies to design a pair of reactors next to the Darlington nuclear
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."
Posted by Zahra Yamani at 21:42
Argonne National Lab: Nuclear fuel recycling could offer plentiful energy: http://www.anl.gov/articles/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
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."
Posted by Zahra Yamani at 21:39
Nuclear helped UK cut emissions in 2011: http://
www.world-nuclear-news.org/ EE-Nuclear_helped_UK_cut_emissi ons_in_2011-3003125.html#.T-xY etFkzoI.facebook
..."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
"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
Posted by Zahra Yamani at 21:36
Wednesday, 27 June 2012
Candu Energy Inc. (Candu) works with UK Nuclear Decommissioning Authority to study deployment of EC6 reactors
there is hope for EC6 reactors: Candu Energy Inc. (Candu) works with UK
Nuclear Decommissioning Authority to study deployment of EC6 reactors: http://www.newswire.ca/en/
story/1000343/ candu-works-with-uk-nuclear-dec ommissioning-authority-to-stud y-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.
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."
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.
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."
Posted by Zahra Yamani at 23:10
Calculating the economic impact of basic science: http://
www.symmetrymagazine.org/ breaking/2012/06/26/ the-unreasonable-tevatron-calcu lating-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!
Posted by Zahra Yamani at 05:58
Tuesday, 26 June 2012
A good book to read: The Rise of Nuclear Fear: http://www.physicstoday.org/
"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.”"
Posted by Zahra Yamani at 20:37
Monday, 25 June 2012
SPEA bargaining update: http://www.spea.ca/media/
spea-news/ 210-june-25-2012-strike-flyer-b argaining-update.html
Posted by Zahra Yamani at 19:55
Some movement on new builds at Darlington: http://www.opg.com/news/
releases/ 20120622Press%20Release%20Signi ng%20of%20the%20SLA%20--%20New s%20Release%20--%20June%2022%2 0FINAL.pdf
"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."
Posted by Zahra Yamani at 18:30
British businesses remain hungry for nuclear: http://
www.world-nuclear-news.org/ NP-British_businesses_remain_hu ngry_for_nuclear-2506124.html
"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."
Institute of Directors"
This is direct link to the press release by IoD related to the report: http://press.iod.com/2012/
06/22/ new-nuclear-power-clean-che ap-safe-and-popular-with-b usiness/
And this is the direct link to the full report in pdf: http://www.iod.com/
mainwebsite/resources/ document/ britains-nuclear-future.pdf
Posted by Zahra Yamani at 18:20
A must read article: The economics of wind power: http://ansnuclearcafe.org/
..."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
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."
Posted by Zahra Yamani at 18:16
Sunday, 24 June 2012
Japan cautiously returns to nuclear power: http://www.washingtonpost.com/
opinions/ japans-cautious-return-to-a-nuc lear-powered-future/2012/06/ 22/gJQAQZK4vV_story.html
..."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
A good resource for nuclear energy in America: http://www.nei.org/
resourcesandstats/ documentlibrary/ reliableandaffordableenergy/ factsheet/ nuclear-energy-quick-facts/
Posted by Zahra Yamani at 06:59
Saturday, 23 June 2012
Candu Energy grapples with strike and soft markets: http://www.thestar.com/
business/article/ 1214610--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
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
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.” "
Posted by Zahra Yamani at 06:16
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: http://
www.hispanicbusiness.com/2012/ 6/21/ jordan_in_talks_to_select_techn ology.htm
..."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
Posted by Zahra Yamani at 06:11
Monday, 18 June 2012
Saturday, 16 June 2012
New U.S. anti-terrorism measure could hurt Canadian isotope maker: http://www.ottawacitizen.com/
mobile/news/latest-updates/ anti+terrorism+measure+could+hu rt+Canadian+isotope+maker/ 6771465/story.html
..."“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.
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.”
separate statement, Nordion said it actively supports non-proliferation
efforts, including conversion of isotope production facilities from HEU
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."
Posted by Zahra Yamani at 06:40
Britain aims to lead on nuclear energy: http://www.aftenbladet.no/
energi/aenergy/ Britain-aims-to-lead-on-nuclear -energy-2989235.html#.T9uhkVLz EYk
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
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
Posted by Zahra Yamani at 06:33
Friday, 15 June 2012
Another missed opportunity by the government, when they went against the recommendations of the Expert Panel, and decided against a multi-purpose reactor: http://www.cmaj.ca/site/earlyreleases/14june12_uncertainties-shroud-medical-isotope-supply.xhtml
"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 (www.cmaj.ca/lookup/doi/10.1503/cmaj.109-3127). 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 (www.cmaj.ca/lookup/doi/10.1503/cmaj.109-3187).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?
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” (www.cmaj.ca/lookup/doi/10.1503/cmaj.109-4174).
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.”"
Posted by Zahra Yamani at 05:14
Wednesday, 13 June 2012
Nuclear fuel cycles: to close or not to close? http://
analysis.nuclearenergyinsider.c om/operations-maintenance/ nuclear-fuel-cycles-close-or-no t-close?utm_source=http%3A%2F% 2Fuk.nuclearenergyinsider.com% 2Ffc_nei_decomlz%2F&utm_medium =email&utm_campaign=NEI+e-brie f+1306&utm_term=Nuclear+fuel+c ycles%3A+to+close+or+not+to+cl ose&utm_content=151899 "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
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
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
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: http://web.mit.edu/mitei/
Posted by Zahra Yamani at 18:21
MENA offers over $300 billion to contractors: http://
analysis.nuclearenergyinsider.c om/new-build/ middle-east-and-north-africa-nu clear-construction-industry-of fers-over-300-billion-contrac? utm_source=http%3A%2F%2Fuk.nuc learenergyinsider.com%2Ffc_nei _decomlz%2F&utm_medium=email&u tm_campaign=NEI+e-brief+1306&u tm_term=Nuclear+fuel+cycles%3A +to+close+or+not+to+close&utm_ content=151899
..."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
Posted by Zahra Yamani at 18:12
New milestone for nuclear power in China: http://
www.world-nuclear-news.org/ NN_Latest_Chinese_nuclear_miles tone_1306121.html
..."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."
Posted by Zahra Yamani at 18:08
Need for a national energy policy in US? http://
theenergycollective.com/ jesse-parent/87121/ does-us-need-national-energy-po licy
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
A good read: Medical isotopes – the Coming crisis in supplies for Technetium-99: http://www.kidela.com/columns/
medical-isotopes-the-coming-cri sis-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
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. 
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..
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."
Posted by Zahra Yamani at 06:24
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: http://
nuclearhitchhiker.blogspot.ca/ 2012/06/ energy-top-trumps-style-card-ga me.html
Posted by Zahra Yamani at 06:12
Saturday, 9 June 2012
Canadian Centre for Nuclear Innovation website is now launched: http://ccni.nu/index.php
... 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
Advancing nuclear medicine, instruments and methods;
Advancing knowledge of materials through nuclear techniques for
applications in energy, health, environment, transportation and
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: http://
Posted by Zahra Yamani at 09:27
Friday, 8 June 2012
Japan’s PM says 2 nuclear reactors must be restarted to protect livelihoods, economy: http://www.washingtonpost.com/
world/asia_pacific/ japans-pm-says-2-nuclear-reacto rs-must-be-restarted-to-protec t-livelihoods-economy/2012/06/ 08/gJQAyK5ANV_story.html
...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."
Posted by Zahra Yamani at 07:08
Wednesday, 6 June 2012
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": http://www.prairiedogmag.com/
..."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, http://
... "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."
Posted by Zahra Yamani at 18:34
More opposition to federal science cuts: http://www.vancouversun.com/
technology/ Scientists+protest+federal+cuts +water+research/6737553/ story.html
..."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."
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."
Posted by Zahra Yamani at 18:17
China moves ahead with its plans for producing nuclear energy: http://online.wsj.com/article/
..." 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.
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."
Monday, 4 June 2012
Canada Celebrates 50th Anniversary of Nuclear Power Generation: http://www.newswire.ca/en/
story/986277/ canada-celebrates-50th-annivers ary-of-nuclear-power-generatio n
..."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.
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
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: http://www.cna.ca/
curriculum/ cna_can_nuc_hist/ first_generator-eng.asp?bc= Canada%27s+first+nuclear+p ower+generator-NPD&pid=Can ada%27s+first+nuclear+powe r+generator-NPD
Posted by Zahra Yamani at 20:55
See also: http://www.bbc.co.uk/
Posted by Zahra Yamani at 20:45
Saturday, 2 June 2012
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": http://ansnuclearcafe.org/
2012/06/01/ how-the-laws-of-physics-constra in-our-sustainable-energy-opti ons/#comments
Posted by Zahra Yamani at 15:26
Members of the Society of Professional Engineers and Associates begin job action Monday, June 4th at 6:30 AM
Posted by Zahra Yamani at 15:17