Positive Energy

Friday, June 23, 2006

Nuclear Power in Canada and Beyond

Nuclear Power in Canada and Beyond
by Roger Steed

Roger Steed needs your help to get his book published - a book that will increase public understanding and acceptance of nuclear power.

Mr. Steed is collaborating with General Store Publishing House (GSPH) in Renfrew, Ontario. Their senior editor has reviewed the manuscript and recommended to Tim Gordon, the publisher, that they publish the book. The publisher is willing to "co-publish" Roger's book, and will contribute 1/4 of the $40,000 (plus GST) cost for 2,000 copies. Roger has to find sponsors willing to contribute the remaining 3/4 of the publishing cost. Accordingly, I would like to ask you, Dear Reader, to contribute to the sponsorship fund. The publisher will progressively and proportionately return your funding, so that, should all 2,000 copies of the book be sold, each sponsor will receive back the total amount originally contributed.

You can also support this project by pre-purchasing copies of Roger's book. GSPH's publisher, Tim Gordon, has informed Roger that the retail purchase price of the book would be $40.00, but the total pre-purchasing price for purchasers in North America, including shipping and GST, will be only $33.00. For pre-purchase copies contact

General Store Publishing House

Telephone: 1-800-465-6072
E-mail: orders(at sign)gsph.com [Change (at sign) to @ for actual address.]
Snail Mail:
499 O'Brien Road, Box 415
Renfrew, Ontario
K7V 4A6

Payment can be made by cheque, VISA, or Mastercard which will not be cashed or processed until sufficient pre-publishing orders and funding donations have been received to equal 3/4 of the $40,000 publishing cost.

Persons wishing to order more than one book should contact Tim Gordon, who will revise the total price in accordance with the different shipping cost.

The author, Roger Steed, would greatly appreciate your e-mailing him, at

rgsteed(at sign)nbnet.nb.ca [Change (at sign) to @ for actual address.]

so he can monitor the funding donations and pre-purchase orders to predict when the publishing will "go critical"! He will also be pleased to answer any questions.

You may also like to look at General Store Publishing House's website:

"Since 1981, General Store Publishing House, located in the historic Ottawa Valley, has published more than 500 titles for the enjoyment of millions of readers around the world."


This book's purpose is to show you how nuclear power stations work, what their equipment looks like, and why they're safe. You don't need an engineering or science degree, or even any university degree at all to understand it!

It begins by explaining how nuclear fission works, how nuclear reactors are controlled, how their safety systems protect us, and then after outlining the world's reactor types, it launches out into describing Canadian nuclear power stations' equipment, with many excellent drawings and photographs. Because Canadian reactors are re-fuelled while they are operating at high power, unlike most of the world's other reactors, which must be shut down to be re-fuelled, the fuel handling equipment of Canadian reactors is fully described, together with how it works.

Since it's most important to prevent a nuclear power station's reactor having a meltdown, a chapter entitled 'Keeping Your Fuel Cool' then explains how this is most reliably achieved. Because many people are very concerned that nuclear power will lead to countries having nuclear weapons, a full description of the relations between nuclear power and nuclear weapons is given, including how the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons is enforced.

The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission's control of nuclear power in Canada is frequently mentioned, showing how the safety of nuclear power is maintained, and how radioactive nuclear waste is handled and stored to ensure that nuclear power station workers' and the entire Canadian public's safety is ensured.

As many people have had no opportunity to visit a power station at all, the conventional, or non-nuclear, side of a nuclear power station is described and fully illustrated. You'll see what is inside turbines and generators.

To address many of your concerns, radiation protection, the economy of CANDU reactors, the life span of nuclear plants, plant decommissioning, and things that can go wrong are all discussed. Very significantly, nuclear reactor accidents are explained, including the Three Mile Island and Chernobyl events, which you have all heard of.

Finally, in appendices, the particulars of all Canadian reactors, including Canadian off-shore reactors, are listed, as well as the particulars of our American neighbours' nuclear power stations, together with many other details, including the performance of all the world's nuclear power reactors. And to ensure that you don't get confused by words you might not use frequently, the book ends with a glossary!

In short, this book's intention is to give you a very good understanding of nuclear power, and why it is indeed very safe, in the hope that you will be much more content that it is used, and that its increased use will protect our environment, and decrease global warming.


Having been in the nuclear industry since 1969, Roger retired almost three years ago from NB Power's Point Lepreau Generating Station, where he then was the technical supervisor, nuclear materials management.


Foreword by Elgin Horton
1. Nuclear Fission Explained
2. Reactor Control
3. Reactor Protection
4. Emergency Core Cooling and Containment Systems
5. World's Major Reactor Types
Magnox Reactors
Advanced Gas Cooled Reactors - AGRs
Pressurized Water Reactors - PWRs
Boiling Water Reactors - BWRs
Pressurized Heavy Water Reactors - CANDUs - PHWRs
Graphite Moderated Boiling Water Reactors - RBMKs
Miscellaneous Reactor Types
High Temperature Gas-Cooled Reactors - HTGRs
Fast Breeder Reactors - FBRs
6. Nuclear Reactor Fuel - the CANDU Fuel Bundle
Canadian Fuel Manufacturing
Uranium Mining, Concentrating and Refining
Reactor On-power Fuelling
7. Detailed Views of Canadian Nuclear Power Stations
Pickering Nuclear Generating Station
Control Room
Reactor Building Cutaway
Heat Transport in the Boiler Room
Primary System Boilers and Pumps
Heat Transport Pump
Reactor Building Elevation
Reactor Assembly
Fuel Channel Cutaway
Feeder Tube Arrangement
Vacuum Building and Relief Duct
Vacuum Building Spray System
Reactivity Control Devices
Zone Control and Flux Detector Rods
Hybrid Encapsulated Straight Individually
Replaceable (HESIR) flux detector assemblies
Adjuster and Shut-off Rods
Shutdown Systems
CANDU 6 Reactor and Reactivity Mechanisms
Reactor Assembly
Reactor General assembly - Section
Reactor General assembly - Plan
Reactor Layout - Elevation
Flux Detector Unit
Typical Ion Chamber Arrangement
Uncompensated Tri-axial Ionisation Chamber
Adjuster Unit, Zone Control Unit, and Shut-off and Control Absorber Units
Horizontal Flux Detector Units
Fuel Handling System
Pickering GS Fuel Transfer Flow Diagram
New Fuel Loader
New Fuel Loading Area (East)
Fuel Transfer Room
New Fuel Magazine
Fuel Transfer Mechanism
Fuel Transfer Mechanism Telescopic Ram
Fuel Transfer Port
Spent Fuel Elevator - Complete
Spent Fuel Elevator - Details of Top and Bottom Housings
Pickering GS General Layout of Fuelling Machine Facilities
Fuelling Machine Bridge
Fuelling Machine Carriage
Fuelling Machine Head
Snout and Magazine Assembly, Fuelling Machine Head
Fuelling Machine Magazine Drive
Fuelling Machine Separators
Operation of Side Stops, Sensor and Pusher - 1
Operation of Side Stops, Sensor and Pusher - 2
Fuelling Machine Ram - Front of Ram Assembly
Fuelling Machine Head - Rear of Ram Assembly
Fuelling Machine Tape Drive
Fuelling Machine Snout Plug
Operation of Snout Plug
Coolant Channel Closure
Fuelling Machine Guide Sleeve
Coolant Channel Shield Plug
Ram Adapter
Fuel Handling Console
Fuel Handling - On-Power Fuelling
8. Standby and Emergency Power Supply Generators
9. Keeping Your Fuel Cool
10. Nuclear Power and Nuclear Weapons
Safeguards, Non-Proliferation and the Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy
Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (1968)
Situation on 31 December, 1999 with Respect to the Conclusion of Safeguards Agreements between the Agency and Non-Nuclear Weapons States in Connection with NPT
Situation on 31 December, 1999 with Respect to the Conclusion of Safeguards Agreements between the Agency and States party to the Treaty of Tlatelolco
Non-Proliferation Issues, by Dr Jeremy Whitlock, PhD
11. Heavy Water Management
12. Radioactive Emissions to the Environment
13. Radioactive Waste from Nuclear Power
Canadian Wet Spent Fuel Storage Facilities
Canadian Dry Spent Fuel Storage Facilities
14. Radiation Protection
15. The Conventional Side of a Nuclear Power Station
16. Things that can Go Wrong
17. The Economy of CANDU Reactors
18. The Life Span of Nuclear Plants
19. Plant Decommissioning
20. Photographs and Drawings of various Canadian Nuclear Facilities
Chalk River Nuclear Laboratories
Bruce Nuclear GS
Reactor Building (Cutaway View)
Darlington Nuclear GS
Darlington cutaway drawings
Darlington Turbine Hall
Darlington Unit 4 Turbine
Darlington Reactivity Mechanism Deck
Darlington East Spent Fuel Bay
Gentilly Nuclear Power Station
Point Lepreau Nuclear Generating Station
Main Control Room Panels
Equipment Airlock
Personnel Airlock
600 MW Reactor Building Cutaway
21. Drawings and Descriptions of Reactors Other than CANDUs
Magnox Reactors
Calder Hall and Chapel Cross
Hunterston "A"
Advanced Gas-Cooled Reactors
Dungeness "B"
Pressurized Water Reactors
Sequoyah Nuclear Power Station
Boiling Water Reactors
Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Station
Advanced Boiling Water Reactor
Fast Breeder Reactors
Enrico Fermi, Unit 1
RBMK Light-Water Graphite Reactor
Positive Void Coefficient
A table listing the World's RBMK reactors
Post Accident Changes to the RBMK, including
Immediate safety changes
Control rod redesign, and Backfitting
22. Reactor Accidents
Fuel Meltdown Incidents, by Kursat Burak Bekar
The NRX Incident (12 December, 1952), by Peter Jedicke
Windscale (10 October, 1957)
Three Mile Island
The Three Mile Island 2 (TMI-2) Reactor Accident, compiled by Dr. Tony Baratta
The Accident at Three Mile Island
What Happened at TMI-2 on 28th March 1979
The Accident at Chernobyl Unit 4 (26 April 1986)
Chernobyl - A Canadian Perspective, by Dr. V.G. Snell and J.Q.
Cross-section drawing of destroyed Chernobyl Unit 4 reactor
Chernobyl - Assessment of Radiological and Health Impacts -
2002 Update of Chernobyl: Ten Years On. Reference to this 157 page paper on the Internet
A Canadian Power Reactors
B Off-Shore CANDU Power Reactors
C Canada's Nearest Nuclear Neighbours - Power Reactors in the United States
D Canadian Uranium Mines
E Uranium in Saskatchewan Uranium Reserves and Resources
F Uranium Milling, Refining and Conversion
G Canadian Heavy Water Production Plants
H Know Your Reactors
I Load Factors to end December, 2004, courtesy of Nuclear Engineering International
J Nuclear Power Plants and Their Fuel as Terrorist Targets

Thursday, June 08, 2006

The New Nuclear Debate (Version 2)

I've read enough anti-nuclear web sites to recognize the patterns in their writing. A few themes appear repeatedly, sometimes with almost the same wording, providing a mantra for the faithful. Constant repetition keeps these memes alive, shoring up the spirits of the environmentalist foot soldiers sent out into the dangerous world to collect donations. The principal hooks are:
  • waste
  • cost and subsidization
  • terrorism
  • uranium shortage
  • accidents
  • wind
These ideas are favoured because they put the onus for doing anything on other organizations. The environmentalist donation seeker picks up the cash without picking up any responsibilities, other than to continue complaining and ask for more cash in six months. Not a bad job if you can get it.

Some posts on "iNuclear" such as "California Part II -- The Shifting Debate" made me realize that this situation is changing. The discussion is moving away from the above cliches. You know that you have come across a significant piece of writing about nuclear energy if it addresses:
  • cleanliness and global heating
  • reuse of slightly used uranium
  • fast reactors
  • stockpiling energy
  • radiation hormesis
  • liquid fuel as apposed to solid fuel
  • life cycle expenses
  • conflict reduction associated with energy sources
  • energy stability
  • thorium
  • safety statistics, safety culture
  • lessons learned (e.g. Chernobyl)
  • skills and expertise
  • religion, ethics, and values associated with an energized life style
  • the French success
The above topics need to be reported, debated, and widely understood if we expect the public to have a role in energy supply decisions.