Skip to main content

Nuclear Ingots from Canada, Pakistan, UAE

From Canada, the least unexpected news of the day:

The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) has completed a ground-breaking study on populations living near Ontario's three nuclear power plants (NPPs). The most important finding of this study is no evidence of childhood leukemia clusters in the communities within 25 km of the Pickering, Darlington and Bruce NPPs.

Fine for the kids. What about the rest of us?

Overall, the study found that all cancers are well within the natural variation of the disease and there is no consistent pattern across the three facilities studied. When looking at all age groups, some cancers were higher than expected and some cancers were lower than expected. The most likely causes of cancer in the communities are a number of known health risk factors.

There have been a fair number of these studies and the result has invariably been the same. We should wave these in front of the Cape Codders (in the post below) and do some unseemly crowing. A Canadian would never do something like that, though.

I was curious about those known health risks.

"Sixty percent of all cancers in Ontario are due to smoking, obesity, poor diet and physical inactivity," said Rachel Lane, epidemiologist and lead researcher on the RADICON study.

Sounds like an unusually honest dating site profile, doesn’t it?

---

Oddest comment of the day:

"It is sad that a nuclear power is without power for up to 20 hours (a day). Are other nuclear powers in the same state as Pakistan? We should look into the reasons why the country doesn't even have electricity," Sharif said while addressing a function here to commemorate "Youm-e-Takbeer", which marks the nuclear tests conducted by Pakistan in 1998.

Sharif is Nawaz Sharif, the next (and past, two terms in the 90s) Prime Minister of Pakistan. I agree – he should look into it and right away, too. If he were an American politician, I might read his reference to “nuclear power” as an oddly phrased endorsement of, well, nuclear power (Pakistan has three relatively small reactors, with the last opened in 2011), but the article suggests he is in favor of opening coal plants with any eye to switchgrass-style biomass down the road.

As long as Pakistan is a “nuclear power,” perhaps a megatons to megawatts program is called for.

---

As long as we’re on the international beat, let’s mark a milestone:

With the construction of a second nuclear plant now under way, the UAE has reached another important milestone in its mission to generate safe, clean, reliable and efficient nuclear energy, a senior official said yesterday.

I think they mean reactor – it’s the second one at the Barakah facility. Some of the earlier builds (in other countries) had some delays, but more recent build seems to have learned the lessons and stamped out the issues. Barakah is going up exceptionally fast.

---

We sometimes point you to the NEI Network, NEI’s YouTube channel – nicely curated and updated on a regular basis (not by me, so no self-back patting here). But there are other good videos lurking about: the Science Channel’s “How It’s Made” series is one such. It currently has a short segment up on the manufacturing of used nuclear fuel storage containers. Nicely done in 5 minutes or so – well worth a quick watch.

---

From the Motley Fool:

Is Nuclear Energy's Lightbulb Dimming?

No, not even for the sake of nuclear link bait. Next question.

Comments

Anonymous said…
The Canadian study is hardly "groundbreaking".

It is incorrect to state that many of these studies have been done invariably with the same results. Similar French (Geocap) and German (KiKK) studies were done and showed an increased risk of childhood leukemia. However, the increased risks did not correlate with the estimated doses, so they were largely dismissed.

Even at excess doses of 5 rem/year, it is very hard to discern an excess risk with epidemiology. That's because your body undergoes about 1E19 cellular lesions per DAY with background radiation, metabolism, other carcinogens, etc. and 5 rem only adds about 6E17 lesions (ion pairs) per YEAR.

Bob Applebaum
jimwg said…
It'd seem to me that if hot arch-antinukers New York/L.A. Times and Washington Post saw a credible silver nine-inch nail to hammer into nuclear plants they'd been stomping the child leukemia 'round nuke plants angle like white on rice. That they don't even use it to disaffect people over Indian Point and Vermont Yankee tells me something.

James Greenidge
Queens NY

Popular posts from this blog

How Nanomaterials Can Make Nuclear Reactors Safer and More Efficient

The following is a guest post from Matt Wald, senior communications advisor at NEI. Follow Matt on Twitter at @MattLWald.

From the batteries in our cell phones to the clothes on our backs, "nanomaterials" that are designed molecule by molecule are working their way into our economy and our lives. Now there’s some promising work on new materials for nuclear reactors.

Reactors are a tough environment. The sub atomic particles that sustain the chain reaction, neutrons, are great for splitting additional uranium atoms, but not all of them hit a uranium atom; some of them end up in various metal components of the reactor. The metal is usually a crystalline structure, meaning it is as orderly as a ladder or a sheet of graph paper, but the neutrons rearrange the atoms, leaving some infinitesimal voids in the structure and some areas of extra density. The components literally grow, getting longer and thicker. The phenomenon is well understood and designers compensate for it with a …

Missing the Point about Pennsylvania’s Nuclear Plants

A group that includes oil and gas companies in Pennsylvania released a study on Monday that argues that twenty years ago, planners underestimated the value of nuclear plants in the electricity market. According to the group, that means the state should now let the plants close.

Huh?

The question confronting the state now isn’t what the companies that owned the reactors at the time of de-regulation got or didn’t get. It’s not a question of whether they were profitable in the '80s, '90s and '00s. It’s about now. Business works by looking at the present and making projections about the future.

Is losing the nuclear plants what’s best for the state going forward?

Pennsylvania needs clean air. It needs jobs. And it needs protection against over-reliance on a single fuel source.


What the reactors need is recognition of all the value they provide. The electricity market is depressed, and if electricity is treated as a simple commodity, with no regard for its benefit to clean air o…

Why Nuclear Plant Closures Are a Crisis for Small Town USA

Nuclear plants occupy an unusual spot in the towns where they operate: integral but so much in the background that they may seem almost invisible. But when they close, it can be like the earth shifting underfoot.

Lohud.com, the Gannett newspaper that covers the Lower Hudson Valley in New York, took a look around at the experience of towns where reactors have closed, because the Indian Point reactors in Buchanan are scheduled to be shut down under an agreement with Gov. Mario Cuomo.


From sea to shining sea, it was dismal. It wasn’t just the plant employees who were hurt. The losses of hundreds of jobs, tens of millions of dollars in payrolls and millions in property taxes depressed whole towns and surrounding areas. For example:

Vernon, Vermont, home to Vermont Yankee for more than 40 years, had to cut its municipal budget in half. The town closed its police department and let the county take over; the youth sports teams lost their volunteer coaches, and Vernon Elementary School lost th…