Wednesday, May 29, 2013

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.


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