Thursday, May 15, 2008

This Island Earth: Following Up on Some Recent Stories

One thing journalist types like to do is follow up on previous stories to see where they've gotten to, if anywhere. It provides continuity for the reader and, yes, fills space in the newspaper. So, if Mayor Jones decides everyone should have a monkey, then let's see if everyone has gotten one (though avoid monkeys named Caesar - only grief will come from it.) If a cat was a rescued from a tree, let's check up on that darn cat and see if he learned his lesson.

So, without further ado:

We wrote recently that Bruce Power is looking to build a nuclear power plant in Alberta, though the provincial government is going to convene an expert panel to offer advice on how to proceed. Now, some University of Calgary students have beaten the panel to the punch and stirred up a little controversy:

A group of University of Calgary students are causing a stir over their recent conclusion that nuclear energy is a safe and viable option for Alberta. The fourth-year environmental science students completed their comprehensive research project which studied site selection, background radiation, media perception, modeling worst case scenarios, comparing technology sources and risk assessment.

They don't think the Peace River site chosen by Bruce Power is the best:

"When it comes to technical feasibility and the Alberta landscape, nuclear is a competitive option," said Kowalewski. "The biggest limitation for what we looked at was the actual feasibility of the Peace River [site] that is currently proposed, based on soil stability, proximity to vaults and water balance issues."

Well, okay. Our old friend The Pembina Institute also weighs in, but it's boilerplate nuclear-is-bad stuff.


We wrote recently about Vietnam's intention to move forward with nuclear energy. Nothing new on that front, but Hanoi is now hosting The third international nuclear power exhibition. Here's what it's about:

It is designed to provide [the] Vietnamese [information] about the world development of the industry.

The exhibits include displays of Japan's advanced pressurised water reactor and France's third-generation pressurised reactors.

(I've helped the translation here a bit.)

Sounds like AREVA and Toshiba are exhibiting. We wondered if France was going to weigh in here - looks like the answer is yes.


We've written several times about the growing interest in nuclear energy in the Arab world, but have always read that the go-to partners were France and the United States, with Russia darting about. Now, score one for the British:

United Arab Emirates and the United Kingdom signed here today a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) concerning cooperation in peaceful uses of nuclear energy.

We suspect that "peaceful uses" phrase will be used a lot as Iran's neighbors will very much want to avoid the taint of Iran's activities. Here's a little more, from the British side:

Asserting that nuclear power can make a real contribution to meeting UK's commitments to transition to a low carbon economy whilst enhancing energy security, the Minister pledged his country's support to the development of safe, secure, and economically viable civil nuclear power generation and research programmes.

And no Pembina Institute to pour vinegar on the good times.

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