CNS Response to Media Articles and Reports on Nuclear Science and Technology
It is difficult to communicate the facts of any complex subject, such as nuclear technology, via the popular media (newspapers, television, radio, internet, etc.). This is often due to restrictions of time, space, and publication deadlines. An unfortunate result of this process may be information containing errors and generalizations, resulting in misrepresentation of the subject under discussion. In some cases, conflicting interests or editorial bias can flavour the reports.
Dr. Bernard L. Cohen, professor of physics and radiation health at the University of Pittsburgh, remarked: “Suddenly, we find our highly complex scientific and technical issues being judged by the man in the street. Our forums for technical discussion are no longer scientific journals but newspapers and TV programs that demand three sentence explanations of every issue, and even these are often edited before reaching the public. … The public gets its input from TV and newspapers, so effectively our scientific and technical decisions are being made by TV producers and newspaper editors.” [The Radiation Controversy, by Dr. R.E. Lapp, June 1979]
Letters by experts are frequently written in response to media articles, but often are not printed or aired. This may be due to the length of the responses, for it is often difficult to respond accurately in a few sentences to a single statement made in a media report.
The Canadian Nuclear Society (CNS) is attempting, with this page, to address this problem by posting factual responses to particular media articles, reports or quotes. The CNS is a technical society representing individuals who work, teach, or have a particular interest in the field of nuclear science and technology. One of the mandates of the CNS is to encourage and enhance public dialogue and education on this subject.
Every effort is made to ensure the CNS responses are timely, factual and devoid of unsupported opinion, and are presented with sufficient detail and references to allow the reader to research the responses further. The responses below have been refereed and approved by the Canadian Nuclear Society.
The following articles were written by CNS members and published by the media.
The Canadian Nuclear Society assumes no responsibility for the accuracy, opinions or completeness of information in these articles. La Société Nucléaire Canadienne nassume aucune responsabilité pour lexactitude, les opinions ou létat complet de linformation dans les bulletins suivants.
Nuclear Power Demonstration 2012 was the 50th anniversary of the start-up of Canada’s first power reactor – the Nuclear Power Demonstration (NPD) reactor near Rolphton, Ontario. In 2002 the Canadian Nuclear Society, on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of nuclear power in Canada, unveiled both a historic plaque and an interpretive sign, in cooperation with the Ontario Heritage Foundation. The following articles on NPD are available on the internet:
The Douglas Point Song (6.3 MB mp3) written and performed by DP retirees Frank Baker and Doug Stewart, to commemorate the 40th anniversary of Douglas Point. This song (and interview) is reproduced with permission from Frank, Doug, and “The Coast” 95.5 FM, Kincardine.
The essay in support of the Ontario Heritage Foundation plaque commemorating Douglas Point.
The Canadian postage stamp issued July 27, 1966, commemorating peaceful applications of nuclear technology and featuring Douglas Point.
CBC Archives A fascinating collection of video and audio material on nuclear topics is available from the archives of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, available at http://archives.cbc.ca/300c.aspIDCat=75&IDDos=104&IDLan=1&IDMenu=7. If this link fails, go to the CBC Archives and select “Science and Technology” on the side bar (also known as “Science and Innovation”), then “Candu: The Canadian Nuclear Reactor”.
CANTEACH The CANTEACH project is an AECL – CNS Universities Committee initiative, begun in January 2000, to produce technical educational material on CANDU reactors. Many thanks to McMaster University Engineering Physics professor and CNS member Bill Garland for spearheading and maintaining this initiative. There are six reports (PDF format), in the extensive Technical Documents Library, describing the evolutionary history of CANDU reactor systems:
“CANDU origins and Evolution”, paper in 5 parts, by Gordon L.Brooks and John S. Foster, CTTD-0003;
Part 1 of 5 – “An Overview of the Early CANDU Program, Prepared from information provided by John S. Foster”, by John S. Foster and Gordon L. Brooks, 2001 February, (50 kB pdf), CTTD-0003-01-r1. Summary: While the name ‘CANDU’ was not adopted until the 1960’s, the CANDU program can be considered to have started in early 1954. At that time, a team, called the Nuclear Power Group, was established to undertake studies intended to identify a potential Canadian nuclear power system. While the team operated under the auspices of AECL and was located in Building 456 at AECL’s Chalk River Laboratory, its membership was drawn from a cross-section of Canadian utility and industrial organizations supported, as required, with “nuclear” expertise provided by AECL staff.
Part 2 of 5 – “Why CANDU”, prepared by Gordon L. Brooks, 2001 February, (30 kB pdf), CTTD-0003-02-r1 .Summary: This monograph is intended to answer, in simple terms, the question of “Why CANDU”; that is, why the CANDU nuclear power reactor is the way it is and why it differs from other commercially developed nuclear power reactors, particularly the light water type of reactors originally developed in the United States and now used in many countries.
Part 3 of 5 – “Figure of 8”, prepared by Gordon L. Brooks, 2001 February, with note added by Daniel Meneley discussing the Darlington and CANDU 9 heat transport system, (30 kB pdf), CTTD-0003-03-r2. Summary: This monograph discusses the origins and early evolution of the basic “figure of 8” heat transport system arrangement that has been employed in most CANDU reactors to date.
Part 4 of 5 – “Emergency Core Cooling System”, prepared by Gordon L. Brooks, 2001 February, (40 kB pdf), CTTD-0003-04-r1, . Summary: This monograph discusses the origins and evolution of the emergency core cooling systems provided for CANDU reactors.
Part 5 of 5 – “The Origin and Evolution of the Second Shutdown System “, prepared by Gordon L. Brooks, 2001 February, (45 kB pdf), CTTD-0003-05-r1. Summary: The historical origins of the second shutdown system, as applied to Bruce-A and all subsequent CANDU reactors, are discussed in two parts. The first deals with the evolution of licensing requirements for a second shutdown system and the second deals with the origins of the fast liquid poison injection system chosen for the second shutdown system.
A Short History of the CANDU Nuclear Power System, prepared by Gordon L. Brooks, (150 kB pdf), CTTD-0010.Summary: This paper provides a short historical summary of the evolution of the CANDU nuclear power system with emphasis on the roles played by Ontario Hydro and private sector companies in Ontario in collaboration with Atomic Energy of Canada limited (AECL).