Positive Energy

Sunday, December 16, 2007

IBM Nuclear Power Advisory Council

IBM has set up an advisory council for nuclear power - what does this mean?

The Industry Talk section of the World Nuclear News web site reported that such a council held its first meeting in 2007 December. The results of this meeting are summarized here: Key 2008 Issues for Nuclear Power.

The key concern is the aging of the nuclear industry work force, combined with the internet raised new workers who are not interested in demanding jobs such as the design and operation of nuclear reactors. IBM proposes to solve this problem by introducing better plant management software and asset control. I wonder....

The key idea is to use knowledge management tools to make it possible to introduce new staff into the operation with causing problems, as outlined in Donald R. Hoffman's keynote presentation.

Canada was there .... a representative from AECL attended the meeting.

It seems that Canada again has something to offer in this domain with "Smart CANDU".

The meeting took place at IBM's Global Center of Excellence for Nuclear Power. This centre was set up in July, 2007.

It looks like MRO was doing something like this before, so it became an IBM initiative when MRO was acquired by IBM.

Monday, December 03, 2007


Canada is joining the "Global Nuclear Energy Partnership" (GNEP):

Canada to join Global Nuclear Energy Partnership

One of the GNEP partners actually noticed this momentous decision and gave it a favourable nod:

DOE Statement on Canada Joining the Global Nuclear Energy Partnership

GNEP originally included: China, France, Japan, Russia, and the United States.

Eleven more countries signed up at the second meeting: Australia, Bulgaria, Ghana, Hungary, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovenia, and Ukraine. Italy joined in 2007 November.

A number of countries have been attending the meetings while they think about signing up: Argentina, Belgium, Brazil, Czech, Egypt, Finland, Germany, Mexico, Morocco, Netherlands, Slovakia, Spain, South Korea, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, and the United Kingdom.

You can get the official GNEP details at: GNEP Ministerial Meetings.

Canada's participation could be significant because we can offer a technical alternative that allows the GNEP principles to be practiced now instead of in the distant future. GNEP aims to make nuclear power generation technology widely available without spreading uranium enrichment systems. GNEP also wants to tightly control the disposition of spent fuel. The long term plan is to develop fast reactors and fuel processing plants that address these requirements. But we don't have to wait. We can begin this process today using "Direct Use of used PWR fuel in CANDU reactors" (DUPIC). Countries such as the USA can provide enriched uranium to smaller countries where Light Water Reactors are in use. After the fuel has been used in these smaller countries it can be returned to the selling country. There, instead of being a problem, it could be fissioned in a CANDU reactor. This would make it financially advantageous for the original seller of the fuel. GNEP can begin acting on its statement of principles today. Canada again holds open the door to a peaceful future!

More details about the use of CANDU reactors for this purpose can be seen at:

Better yet, Canada and the USA could begin exercising the GNEP concept immediately, without waiting for the construction of CANDU reactors in the USA. Canada can sell natural uranium to the USA. The USA can enrich it and fission it in their Light Water Reactors. Once it has gone through their system the spent fuel could be returned to Canada where it could be run through our CANDU reactors. That would give Canada free fuel for its electricity generation. This is a huge win-win opportunity for all, since it provides a practical demonstration of the benefits of GNEP.