Wednesday, 28 November 2012
A great short video from CNSC: Understanding Nuclear Power Plants http://www.youtube.com/
"The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission has recently created a video
showing the progression of an accident scenario involving a total
station blackout at a nuclear power plant.
This video was designed
to help the public better understand the multiple layers of safety
systems at Canadian nuclear power plants. It highlights that even during
an extremely severe accident, nuclear reactors in this country will
safely shut down and contain radioactivity."
Posted by Zahra Yamani at 19:40
Nuclear energy can help cut down the greenhouse gas emissions!
New York City's greenhouse gas emissions as one-ton spheres of carbon dioxide gas: http://www.youtube.com/
"In 2010 New York City added 54 million metric tons of carbon dioxide
(equivalent) to the atmosphere, but that number means little to most
people because few of us have a sense of scale for atmospheric
Carbon Visuals (http://www.carbonvisuals.com/) and Environmental Defense Fund (http://www.edf.org/climate/
wanted to make those emissions feel a bit more real - the total
emissions and the rate of emission. Designed to engage the 'person on
the street', this version is exploratory and still work in progress.
Mayor Bloomberg's office has not been involved in the creation or
dissemination of this video."
Posted by Zahra Yamani at 17:11
Neat! Small Reactor for Deep Space Exploration: http://www.youtube.com/
"This is the first demonstration of a space nuclear reactor system to
produce electricity in the United States since 1965, and an experiment
demonstrated the first use of a heat pipe to cool a small nuclear
reactor and then harvest the heat to power a Stirling engine at the
Nevada National Security Site's Device Assembly Facility confirms basic
nuclear reactor physics and heat transfer for a simple, reliable space
Posted by Zahra Yamani at 17:08
Stop the War on Science: http://www.youtube.com/
"It's time to stop the war on science. Since Prime Minister Harper
came into power, Canada has been subjected to a ruthless assault on its
science capacity. This attack has been systemic and strategic, targeting
science that seeks to understand the impacts of industry on the
environment -- information the Harper Government considers inconvenient
to their economic agenda. These actions will result in the significant
and widespread degradation of our country's environment and natural
The crippling of Canada's public science capacity under
the guise of austerity measures, coupled with the weakening of federal
environmental laws in the absence of open debate, is a blatant
desecration of science, nature, and democracy. We need to stop this war
on science, and let's start by saving the ELA.
Help spread this video in the name of ending the Harper Government's war on science. Go to http://www.saveela.org/ for more information on how YOU can take action!"
Posted by Zahra Yamani at 17:07
Monday, 26 November 2012
UK grants first nuclear site licence for 25 years: http://
www.powerengineeringint.com/ articles/2012/11/ uk-grants-first-nuclear-site-li cence-for-25-years.html
"The UK’s Office for Nuclear Regulation today granted the first new
site licence for a nuclear power station in Britain for 25 years.
The licence has been granted to NNB Generation Company, a subsidiary of
EDF (Euronext: EDF), which wants to build a new nuclear plant at Hinkley
Point in Somerset."
Posted by Zahra Yamani at 18:53
French state has authorised full construction of the world's largest
tokamak nuclear fusion reactor with a formal decree to allow creation of
a 'basic nuclear installation': http://
www.world-nuclear-news.org/ NN-State_blessing_for_ITER_cons truction-2011127.html
Posted by Zahra Yamani at 18:41
Friday, 23 November 2012
Why this is not surprising!??? Gas industry joins anti-nuke movement: http://www.pennenergy.com/
wirenews/powernews/2012/11/22/ gas-industry-joins-anti-nuke-mo vement-nl-corporate-lobbyists- pose-hard-questions-about-cost -of-nucle.html "A new nuclear debate is starting to percolate in Ontario.
At industry conferences and in the corridors of Queen's Park, energy
activists are questioning whether Ontario should invest billions in new
nuclear energy units.
But these activists aren't the longtime foes
of the nuclear industry, who based their arguments on moral and
They're working for corporate clients and
asking hard questions about the economics of nuclear power, given the
alternatives, like plentiful natural gas.
They're suggesting that producing electricity with gas may be cheaper, faster and less risky than building new nuclear units.
"In our view it's going to be extremely challenging for any government
in the future in this province to do new nuclear," Jason Chee-Aloy of
consulting firm Power Advisory LLC said in a recent presentation. "From a
pure dollars and cents cost point of view, there are real issues with
it," he told the Association of Power Producers of Ontario (APPrO).
Chee-Aloy is not a fringe player. He's an economist and former senior energy bureaucrat with the Ontario Power Authority.
The skepticism is a direct challenge to Ontario Power Generation's
proposal to build two new reactors, each capable of producing 1,000
megawatts, at its Darlington nuclear station.
Bruce Boland, senior vice-president of OPG, makes the case for building new nuclear units.
"Same reason we've done nuclear in the past," he said in an interview. "Reliable, relative low cost power, and very clean." "
Posted by Zahra Yamani at 17:37
A good read: Why Communicate Science? People Need What Scientists Have; Scientists Need People to Have it... http://www.aps.org/
"By “communicate science,” I mean professional scientists explaining
something about science to non-scientists. My question is, “Why?” But
many scientists are still debating whether we should; many see why they
Communicating science takes time away from research,
from teaching, from being home; from something else we need to be doing.
The time is not adequately compensated. Doing interviews with
reporters, or visiting legislators, has no assigned “impact factor” that
boosts vitae-value. Appearing on the radio or TV or in the news, giving
talks to civic groups, writing op-eds or articles geared to “popular”
audiences, or even a translational book for the general public; all
count little, sometimes nothing, towards tenure. Sometimes they actually
hurt. Communicating science can be seen as unprofessional. Peers may
think less of you. It may seem absurd that many scientists would think
it unprofessional to explain science, but that thinking is a fact in
academia. And anyway, communicating is the job of communicators such as
professional science writers.
All the above reasons not to
communicate science are valid. Next question: Are those reasons
sufficient? Charles Darwin and Albert Einstein apparently didn’t think
so. Granted, we’re not them. We all juggle priorities and make
compromises on how we can and must spend our time. But it’s my
conviction that scientists should elevate communicating science as
something important and worthwhile. That brings us to “Why.”
scientists believe we should communicate because public support is
crucial for continued public funding. That’s circular and self-serving.
In the long run, it’s likely self-defeating. Simply explaining that the
space program resulted in such marvels as Tang and Teflon–two oft-cited
benefits of science that, in fact, everyone can live without–doesn’t
adequately elevate the power of science above everything else vying for
public money, such as military spending, bank-bailouts, infrastructure,
I believe it’s important for people to get to know
scientists as people, as members of civil society in their communities.
And I believe the message is not one of facts, nor reports about the
latest research, but of the overarching and deeply penetrating grandeur
of science: how it uniquely has the power to unlock the secrets of life
and the universe–and how scientific thinking can help people evaluate
claims, think for themselves, and demand proof."
Posted by Zahra Yamani at 17:30
Korea invests big in basic research, really amazing that such
recognition for support of basic research is done by a country
that is traditionally big in industry, it is a simple but important
fact: The countries that lead in science and technology have “not only
produced numerous Nobel laureates but also generated colossal national
wealth on the strength of the achievements of basic research.” yet why
is Canada moving in the opposite direction???: http://www.physicstoday.org/
"When times are tough, the tendency among Western countries is to
knuckle down and demand that research produce results fast. South Korea,
with its new Institute for Basic Science (IBS), is doing the opposite.
Starting with 15 or so research centers this year, the IBS is on an
ambitious track to grow by 2017 into a network of 50 centers with a
total annual budget of $600 million.
At the 17 May IBS inauguration
ceremony, South Korean president Myung-bak Lee said, “We have thus far
only emulated advanced technologies of other countries and traced their
footsteps. In order for us to emerge as an advanced, leading nation,
however, we need to become a creative pacesetter based on basic science
and original technologies.”
The countries that lead in science and
technology, he said, have “not only produced numerous Nobel laureates
but also generated colossal national wealth on the strength of the
achievements of basic research.” With the launch of the IBS, Lee said,
“the nation is marking a new beginning. Our future depends heavily on
the science community.”"
Posted by Zahra Yamani at 17:26
Open letter from the eight EIROforum directors general, preparatory to
the European Council summit on the EU Multiannual financial framework.
The letter is signed by - among others - the ILL Director, Andrew
Harrison: We need a similar letter for Canada! http://www.ill.eu/en/
news-events/news/ open-letter-from-eiroforum-dgs- about-the-future-of-european-r esearch/
"We call on you – the Heads of State or Government of the EU Member
States and the Presidents of the European Council, the European
Parliament and the European Commission – to reconfirm your collective
support for science so that it can continue to make a significant
contribution to Europe’s economic recovery and beyond."
Posted by Zahra Yamani at 06:22
Thursday, 22 November 2012
Uranium Moratoriums Are Not Supported by Science: CNSC President http://
www.nuclearsafety.gc.ca/eng/ mediacentre/issues/ letters_to_the_editor/ 20121122-uranium-moratoriums.cf m
"Following the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission’s (CNSC) recent
decision to license a uranium exploration project in Quebec, I’m
dismayed that recent statements and discussions over the safety of
uranium mining have been based neither on fact nor science. Uranium
mining and milling in this country is tightly regulated by the CNSC.
Canada is a world leader in responsibly developing this resource. This
is largely attributable to a solid safety track record.
mining is the only type of mining that has a dedicated federal regulator
that oversees all aspects of operation on an ongoing basis. Provincial
oversight is also strictly applied. In fact, uranium mining is the most
regulated, monitored and understood type of mining in Canada.
Activists, medical practitioners and politicians who have demanded
moratoriums may have various reasons for doing so, but their claims that
the public and environment are at risk are fundamentally wrong. The
provincial governments that have decided to ban uranium exploration have
done so ignoring years of evidence-based scientific research on this
The CNSC would never compromise safety by issuing a
licence or allowing a uranium mine or mill to operate if it were not
safe to do so. All monitoring data shows that uranium mining is as safe
as other conventional metal mining in Canada. "
Posted by Zahra Yamani at 17:22
Very cool! How cosmic ray muons could reveal hidden nuclear waste? http://
www.technologyreview.com/view/ 429607/ how-cosmic-ray-muons-could-reve al-hidden-nuclear-waste/
"Muons were once used to "X-ray" an Egyptian pyramid. Now physicists
hope to use a similar method to peer inside old nuclear waste
Posted by Zahra Yamani at 05:50
Recycling spent nuclear fuel: the ultimate solution for the US? http://
analysis.nuclearenergyinsider.c om/operations-maintenance/ recycling-spent-nuclear-fuel-ul timate-solution-us?utm_source= http%3A%2F%2Fuk.nuclearenergyi nsider.com%2Ffc_nei_decomlz%2F &utm_medium=email&utm_campaign =NEI+e-brief+2111&utm_term=Rec ycling+spent+nuclear+fuel%3A+t he+ultimate+solution+for+the+U S&utm_content=151899
"Unlike Russia, Japan and several European countries, the United
States does not recycle its used nuclear fuel. But new, advanced drivers
are reviving the possibility of recycling the nation’s spent nuclear
fuel. What will influence this decision and what conditions will need to
be met first?"... "Through Areva, France has been at the forefront in
UNF recycling and has reached an industrial maturity that lends itself
well to use elsewhere. Areva has undertaken de-conversion of enrichment
tails at Pierrelatte since the 1980s, and today, at its La Hague site,
it operates the MELOX plant; a used-fuel recycling facility with
capacity of 1,700 tons per year that has been working since 1995. It is
also the world’s only operational large-capacity MOX fuel production
Areva has proposed building a $20bn plant in the US with a
similar technology to the one it uses in France, where 17 per cent of
electricity is derived from recycled UNF. According to Areva, the group
has joined with Duke Energy, one of America's largest nuclear power
producers, to submit a proposal to the Department of Energy for the
construction of an MOX-fuel fabrication plant to supply MOX fuel to
reactors in the US.
“A common question raised during discussions on
reprocessing is, ‘If the French are reprocessing used fuel, why isn’t
the US?’. In many ways, the U.S. and France represent opposite ends of
the spectrum,” notes Sowder.
“In France, the recycling of MOX in
light-water reactors is a mature, ongoing commercial practice supported
by an existing industrial, commercial, and regulatory infrastructure.
This situation has resulted from a deliberate, multi-decade national
energy policy prioritizing energy security for a country with limited
domestic natural energy resources. Accordingly, there would need to be a
compelling reason for France to abandon its recycling programme,” he
Posted by Zahra Yamani at 05:46
Wednesday, 21 November 2012
US government to fund up to half the cost of a five-year project to
design and commercialize small modular nuclear power reactors: http://www.usatoday.com/story/
news/nation/2012/11/20/ obama-doe-fund-modular-nuclear- reactors/1717843/
"o develop a new generation of nuclear power, the Obama administration
announced Tuesday that it will fund up to half the cost of a five-year
project to design and commercialize small, modular reactors for the
The Department of Energy said it aims to have these
reactors, which have attracted private funding from investors including
Bill Gates, in operation by 2022. It said it will negotiate the
project's total cost with Babcock & Wilcox, an energy technology
company based in Charlotte, that will lead the project in partnership
with the Tennessee Valley Authority and Bechtel International.
"Low-carbon nuclear energy has an important role to play in America's
energy future," Energy Secretary Steven Chu said in announcing the
award, citing President Obama's push for an all-of-the-above energy
strategy that reduces greenhouse gas emissions. He said DOE will accept
funding requests from other companies developing such technology.
Small modular reactors (SMRs) are typically about one-third the size of
current nuclear power plants. Although some of the technology has been
used in naval propulsion plants, DOE says it's not been commercialized
yet in the United States but could offer lower upfront costs, improved
safety and greater flexibility. It says SMRs could be made in U.S.
factories and moved to sites, including remote or small areas that
cannot support large reactors, where they would be ready to "plug and
play" upon arrival."
Posted by Zahra Yamani at 04:52
Monday, 19 November 2012
Astronauts Could Survive Mars Radiation, Curiosity Rover Finds: http://www.space.com/
Mars rover Curiosity's radiation measurements - the first ever taken on
the surface of another planet - appear to be roughly similar to those
of low-Earth orbit. "Absolutely, astronauts can live in this
Posted by Zahra Yamani at 17:43
Saturday, 17 November 2012
Nano insights could lead to improved nuclear reactors: http://www.rdmag.com/news/
2012/11/ nano-insights-could-lead-improv ed-nuclear-reactors
"In order to build the next generation of nuclear reactors, materials
scientists are trying to unlock the secrets of certain materials that
are radiation-damage tolerant. Now researchers at the California
Institute of Technology (Caltech) have brought new understanding to one
of those secrets—how the interfaces between two carefully selected
metals can absorb, or heal, radiation damage.
"When it comes to
selecting proper structural materials for advanced nuclear reactors, it
is crucial that we understand radiation damage and its effects on
materials properties. And we need to study these effects on isolated
small-scale features," says Julia R. Greer, an assistant professor of
materials science and mechanics at Caltech. With that in mind, Greer and
colleagues from Caltech, Sandia National Laboratories, UC Berkeley, and
Los Alamos National Laboratory have taken a closer look at
radiation-induced damage, zooming in all the way to the nanoscale—where
lengths are measured in billionths of meters. Their results appear
online in the journals Advanced Functional Materials and Small."
Posted by Zahra Yamani at 06:41
Wednesday, 14 November 2012
Quebec latest decommissioning supply chain opportunity: http://
analysis.nuclearenergyinsider.c om/supply-chain/ quebec-latest-decommissioning-s upply-chain-opportunity?utm_so urce=http%3A%2F%2Fuk.nuclearen ergyinsider.com%2Ffc_nei_decom lz%2F&utm_medium=email&utm_cam paign=NEI+e-brief+updated+1411 &utm_term=Quebec+latest+decomm issioning+supply+chain+opportu nity&utm_content=151899
"In Canada’s largest province of Quebec, Hydro Quebec has announced
that the only nuclear power plant that exists there is to be shut down
in a $1.8m project, where the decommissioning process will take up to 50
Quebec Hydro recently revealed that the Gentilly-2
generating station that has been in reliably in operation since 1983
will stop producing electricity on December 28 this year.
decided that the plant will cease to be in operation due to financial
reasons, after an audit revised refurbishment cycle costs up to $4.3bn,
which was a significant increase on the original cost of rebuilding.
Hydro Quebec has said that it will release further detailed analysis of why they decided to pull the plug on the plant.
When the plant becomes dormant, plans are in place of how stage by
stage the building will be decommissioned. Initially there will be an
18- month period where staff will be involved in defueling the reactor,
treating the heavy water and deactivating several systems."
Posted by Zahra Yamani at 10:37
Very cool: Isotope analysis provides clues in crime case: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/
11/13/science/ isotope-analysis-provides-clues -in-a-florida-cold-case.html?p agewanted=1&_r=0
Posted by Zahra Yamani at 06:26
Tuesday, 13 November 2012
Bragg Centenary: http://crystallography.org.uk/
"In 2013 it will be 100 years since the pioneering work undertaken by
William Henry Bragg and his son, William Lawrence Bragg, which
underpins the discipline of X-ray crystallography, and for which they
were jointly awarded a Nobel Prize in Physics in 1915. By formulating
the relationship between a crystal’s atomic structure and its X-ray
diffraction pattern they provided a tool which has revolutionised our
understanding of the structure of matter ranging from minerals,
pharmaceutical materials, and catalysts to DNA, proteins and viruses."
For those who could also access Nature Magazine: http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v491/n7423/full/491186a.html
Posted by Zahra Yamani at 18:03
Here is your chance to comment on CNSC's Draft GD-384, Site Access Security Clearance for High-Security Sites: http://
www.nuclearsafety.gc.ca/eng/ readingroom/infobulletins/ view_bulletin.cfm?bulletin_id=3 18
... it also has the link to the full draft pdf document... "The
Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) has released for a second
round of public consultation draft guidance document GD-384, Site Access
Security Clearance for High-Security Sites.
GD-384, Site Access
Security Clearance for High-Security Sites, sets out the guidance of the
CNSC for processing a site access security clearance. The document was
developed to address key considerations for licensees of high-security
sites and nuclear facilities within Canada who will be authorizing
unescorted access to protected areas, as defined under the Nuclear
Security Regulations. The purpose of the Site Access Security Clearance
(SASC) is to prevent unreasonable risk to high-security sites. This
includes risks to operations, personnel, safety and national security
from an insider threat.
The document has undergone significant
revisions as a result of the first round of public consultation. The
revised draft of GD-384 includes additional details on the screening and
interview processes (including managing risk), and on granting a SASC.
Guidance on reporting to the CNSC and the need for an appeal process has
also been added. Furthermore, three appendices with process maps have
been inserted into the document to clarify and provide step-by-step
instructions on the SASC process."
Posted by Zahra Yamani at 17:49
Neat! Optical atomic clocks could redefine unit of time: http://physics.aps.org/
articles/v5/126 "Optical atomic clocks now outperform the best microwave cesium atomic clocks in terms of precision.
Never measure anything but frequency!” was the advice  of the late
Arthur Schawlow, the 1981 Nobel Prize winner in physics. Frequency is,
in fact, the physical quantity that can be measured with by far the
greatest accuracy. This is because it can be referenced to a highly
accurate standard: the cesium atomic clock, in which a second is defined
as 9192631770 periods of the microwave radiation emitted by a
cesium-133 atom transitioning between two nuclear spin (hyperfine)
states . Now, in Physical Review Letters, Alan Madej and colleagues
at the National Research Council in Canada report they have greatly
increased the accuracy with which another atomic frequency standard, the
optical transition in an isolated strontium ion, can be measured.
Furthermore, the precision of their frequency measurement now supersedes
that of the existing cesium standard, which could lead to the adoption
of a new frequency standard for defining the second as the basic unit of
Posted by Zahra Yamani at 08:30
Reactor reuses nuclear waste: http://bostonherald.com/
jobfind/news/technology/view/ 20221112reactor_reuses_nuclear_ waste
"Two Massachusetts Institute of Technology doctoral candidates are
designing a nuclear power plant that would convert nuclear waste from
conventional reactors into electricity — a plant you could walk away
from, they said, without the risk of a radioactive leak like the
meltdown last year that crippled parts of Japan.
Leslie Dewan and
Mark Massie, co-founders of Transatomic Power, have developed the WAMSR,
or Waste-Annihilating Molten Salt Reactor, a 400- to 500-megawatt plant
that would convert high-level nuclear waste into electric power, at a
price competitive with fossil fuels."
Posted by Zahra Yamani at 07:47
Thursday, 8 November 2012
Federal scientists muzzled to protect tar sands reputation? read and decide for yourself: http://www.desmogblog.com/
2012/11/08/ stephen-harper-hates-science-fe deral-government-muzzles-scien tists-protect-tar-sands-reputa tion
Posted by Zahra Yamani at 16:28
Wednesday, 7 November 2012
birthday Marie Skłodowska-Curie! A French-Polish physicist and chemist,
famous for her pioneering research on radioactivity, she was the first
woman to win a Nobel Prize, the only woman to win in two fields, and the
only person to win in multiple sciences. She was also the first female
professor at the University of Paris (La Sorbonne), and in 1995 became
the first woman to be entombed on her own merits in the Panthéon in
Paris. Just a remarkable human being all around! Also see: http://www.nobelprize.org/
watch?v=JoLzG4Dc9tk&playnext=1& list=PL4CEE754050446883&featur e=results_main
Posted by Zahra Yamani at 16:21
A change in supply to meet isotope demand: http://seekingalpha.com/
article/ 976731-a-change-in-supply-to-me et-isotope-demand
"Nordion does not produce isotopes itself, but uses the NRU reactor in
Canada, which is scheduled to be shut down in the next four years. The
reactor is currently operating at full capacity, yet the demand is
greater due to a shortage in other regions. The company has had to
evolve over the years with more efficient means of producing medical
isotopes-- in other words, getting more bang for the buck. Nordion has
become the world leader in cobalt-60, which is used to produce gamma
radiation, and also in the creation of targeted therapies with
yttrium-90. Therefore, Nordion is a diversified company; but if the NRU
reactor were to close, it would be a huge hit to the company. The
company does have a backup isotope supply in Russia; but in terms of
supplying the U.S. (its largest market), the costs would drastically
rise if the NRU reactor closes because of the logistics involved in
transporting and producing various isotopes."
Posted by Zahra Yamani at 13:32
Mounting storage concerns in US: Who’s responsible? http://
analysis.nuclearenergyinsider.c om/decommissioning/ mounting-storage-concerns-who%E 2%80%99s-responsible?utm_sourc e=http%3A%2F%2Fuk.nuclearenerg yinsider.com%2Ffc_nei_decomlz% 2F&utm_medium=email&utm_campai gn=NEI+e-brief+0711&utm_term=M ounting+storage+concerns%3A+Wh o%E2%80%99s+responsible&utm_co ntent=151899
"After 50 years of generating nuclear power and with approximately
67,000 tons of fuel being temporarily stored at about 75 operating and
shutdown nuclear facilities, the United States is still at crossroads
regarding what will be the nation’s policy for the disposition of its
spent nuclear fuel.
Since 1987, Yucca Mountain in Nevada has been
the federal government’s primary choice for a nuclear waste repository.
But despite the $10bn spent on the project, doubts linger over the
Department of Energy’s (DOE) planned opening of the repository in 2017,
after it failed to open it in 1998 – the original deadline established
by the Nuclear Waste Policy Act.
A multitude of issues have delayed
the project, from Nevada’s opposition to building the repository in
their state, to President Obama’s withdrawal of the project’s license
application. The current debate is whether to link or one or more
short-term storage facilities or to build a permanent repository,
similar to Yucca Mountain. Until a decision is made, however, storage
concerns for utilities with used nuclear fuel (UNF) will remain. "
Posted by Zahra Yamani at 13:17
Friday, 2 November 2012
More cuts at NRC: Public science continues its downward spiral in Canada: http://www.pipsc.ca/portal/
"Over 90 National Research Council (NRC) employees across the country
represented by the Professional Institute of the Public Service of
Canada (PIPSC) were notified today that their services may no longer be
required. The 94 affected members include Scientists, Researchers and
Business Development Officers who work in the NRC’s Life Sciences,
Engineering, and Business Management divisions. They are located in
Halifax, Moncton, Fredericton, London, Regina, Winnipeg and Ottawa.
This is the second round of cuts at the National Research Council since
the tabling of the 2012 Budget. Earlier this year, some thirty PIPSC
researchers and scientists received similar notices. The NRC cuts
include the termination of all Medical Devices research activities
focused on neuroscience and MR, EEG and MEG-based imaging, spectroscopy
and data acquisition.
“This is another example of the government’s
wrong-headed approach to the NRC” said PIPSC President Gary Corbett.
“The important role that government-funded research plays in advancing
science for the Public Good continues to be eroded. Future NRC
activities will be dictated by market demands and by what can be
commercialized, instead of being focused on the benefits Canadians
receive from public research, and the economic spinoffs which can be
leveraged from cutting-edge studies”."
Some background on how the changes at NRC have come about: http://nghoussoub.com/2011/03/22/when-orwell-meets-baden-powell-at-the-nrc/ "Alberta Research Council culture goes National! Over the course of his 12-year tenure as President and CEO of the Alberta Research Council (ARC), John McDougall steered the organization towards “delivering and aligning science and technology solutions to industry’s needs”. Less than one year after his appointment as President of the National Research Council (NRC), McDougall “ordered all staff to direct research toward boosting economic development and technology, with less time for pure science”."
NDP's response when the cuts last March when the cuts were announced: http://www.danharris.ca/post/dont-gut-national-research-council-ndp
"With the federal budget being tabled tomorrow, economists aren’t the
only ones worried about how the Conservatives might affect the future of
our country. Canadian scientists and academics are also increasingly
worried that the main outlet of public science, Canada’s National
Research Council (NRC), might be the subject of radical restructuring.
critic for Science and Technology, Hélène LeBlanc says that many
science professionals she’s spoken to are fearful about where the
government will take the NRC.
spoken to many scientists, professors and researchers about the future
of the NRC and a lot of them are worried that the mandate for basic or
‘bluesky’ science will be stricken from the NRC’s mandate. That’s
something that would be harmful for the advancement of science as well
as the economy,” stated Ms. LeBlanc.
a speech given to the Economic Club of Canada in Ottawa on March 6th,
Minister of State for Science and Technology stated that the National
Research Council "...will be hopefully a one-stop, 1-800, 'I have a
solution for your business problem...”
Goodyear must understand that the NRC is more than just a Staples
outlet,” said Ms. LeBlanc. “The National Research Council has an immense
role to play in Canadian scientific culture. It is a symbol of our
commitment to the greater international movement for the advancement of
For more on research funding cuts also see: http://www.cautbulletin.ca/en_article.asp?articleid=3450
"The budget also imposes a dramatic restructuring of the National
Research Council. The NRC’s basic research program will be effectively
eliminated, and the agency will be “realigned” to meet business needs.
As part of this process, the NRC will receive $67 million in 2012–2013
to support the “refocusing on business-led, industry-relevant research.”
research increasingly to commercial interests, as this budget does,
will hinder real innovation,” Turk said. “The government ignores the
fact that most fundamental advances in knowledge leading to innovative
applications come from basic research guided by scientists, not
political or commercial interests.”"
Rick Mercer's take on the recent NRC cuts: http://www.cbc.ca/player/Shows/Shows/The+Rick+Mercer+Report/ID/2304539784/
Posted by Zahra Yamani at 08:07
Update on strike of Technicians and Technologists at AECL Whiteshell Labs: http://www.pipsc.ca/portal/
"A strike of Technicians and Technologists at Atomic Energy of Canada
Limited Whiteshell Laboratories set to commence today has been narrowly
averted. Last minute talks between the union and Company last week
successfully resolved the matters in dispute.
“Particularly in this
environment, where the ownership of the facility is imminently expected
to change hands, this was critically important. Having remained
non-unionized for decades, Technicians and Technologists join their AECL
colleagues with a solid Collective Agreement. I’m proud that our union
could assist at their time of greatest need”, said Gary Corbett,
President, The Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada."
Posted by Zahra Yamani at 08:03
Nordion seeks new Russian isotope supplier: http://www.obj.ca/Technology/
2012-10-29/article-3109534/ Nordion-seeks-new-Russian-isoto pe-supplier/1
"Medical isotope provider Nordion Inc. (TSX: NDN) is planning to enter
an agreement with a Russian research institute that will provide the
Ottawa-based company with a supply of isotopes, after ending an
agreement with another Russian supplier on Friday.
with the Research Institute of Atomic Reactors means that Molybdenum-99,
commonly referred to as Mo-99, would be produced by RIAR’s reactors in
Nordion says that it expects the agreement
could “potentially meet a portion of Nordion’s long-term supply
requirements,” according to a company release published Monday."....
"Currently, Nordion obtains most of its medical isotopes through Atomic
Energy of Canada Ltd., which owns and manages the National Research
Universal reactor that has been in service since 1957. The NRU, located
in Chalk River, has seen multiple scheduled shutdowns for maintenance as
To address long-term supply security, Nordion and AECL
entered a contractual agreement in 1996 that committed AECL to construct
and deliver two new nuclear reactors and a processing facility known as
the Maple project, to replace the aging NRU reactor.
was cancelled in 2008, however, and Nordion began a three-year battle
with AECL and the federal government, arguing that a flaw in the design
was “manageable.” An arbitrator ruled against Nordion on Sept. 10, which
led Nordion to suspend its quarterly dividend payments and halt a share
buy-back program, resulting in a 36 per cent plunge in Nordion stocks.
Those stocks rose by three per cent soon after when the company
announced that its primary customer, Lantheus Medical Imaging Inc., had
extended its deal with Nordion until 2015."
Posted by Zahra Yamani at 07:56