Positive Energy

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Canadian International Activities

Participating in the nuclear renaissance involves a lot more than building and operating fission based electricity generators. Many international collaborative projects are taking place, all aimed at improving nuclear technology. Canada has a leadership role in a number of these initiatives, and provides key research in other areas. The following list summarizes what I have been able to find out about Canada's international activities:

World Nuclear University (WNU)
The WNU is a global partnership committed to enhancing international education and leadership in the peaceful applications of nuclear science and technology. The central elements of the WNU partnership are:
o The global organizations of the nuclear industry: WNA and WANO
o The inter-governmental nuclear agencies: IAEA and OECD-NEA
o Leading institutions of nuclear learning in some thirty countries.

Canada's institutional partnership in the WNU is implemented through the University Network of Excellence in Nuclear Engineering (UNENE).

The 2008 WNU Summer Institute will be held at the University of Ottawa, Canada from July 5 through 2008 August 15, hosted by Atomic Energy of Canada Limited, Bruce Power, Cameco Corporation, and Ontario Power Generation.

Advanced Reactor Technology Development
An MOU for this work has been signed between China and Canada to develop low uranium consumption CANDU technologies. Press release.

World Association of Nuclear Operators (WANO)
WANO was created to improve safety at every nuclear power plant in the world.

International Nuclear Worker's Union's Network (INWUN)
INWUN ensures that the views of Nuclear Worker Unions are heard by international labour and nuclear related organizations.

Canadian Nuclear Workers Council

Euratom Treaty
The treaty outlines its purpose as:
- recognizing that nuclear energy represents an essential resource for the development and invigoration of industry and will permit the advancement of the cause of peace,
- resolved to create the conditions necessary for the development of a powerful nuclear industry which will provide extensive energy resources, lead to the modernization of technical processes and contribute, through its many other applications, to the prosperity of their peoples,
- anxious to create the conditions of safety necessary to eliminate hazards to the life and health of the public,
- desiring to associate other countries with their work and to cooperate with international organizations concerned with the peaceful development of atomic energy

Canada has a number of bilateral agreements with the Euratom community.

Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG)
The NSG was created following the explosion in 1974 of a nuclear device by a non-nuclear-weapon State, which demonstrated that nuclear technology transferred for peaceful purposes could be misused.

The Right Way to End India's 'Nuclear Apartheid'

Zangger Committee
This committee maintains a trigger list of items that have to be safely controlled when they are exchanged between states that have signed the Non-Proliferation Treaty. The committee works informally and its decisions are not binding on its members. This approach has allowed it to take a leadership role at times when a formal approach would be too restrictive.

Nuclear Fuel Waste Bureau
The Bureau maintains bilateral relations with its counterparts in other countries to exchange information and share in developing solutions to common challenges. Bilateral dialogue has already been initiated with the United States, the United Kingdom, and Sweden.

The Burr Amendment
USA legislation that allows highly enriched uranium to be shipped to Canada for medical isotope production. This is supported by diplomatic notes from Canada that assure proper protection will be provided. The situation is summarized here.

Global Partnership Against the Spread of Weapons and Materials of Mass Destruction
Canada is doing its part as a member of the Global Partnership.

The USA Department of Energy has an agreement with Russia that allows the USA to pay for the closure of three nuclear power plants that can also produce weapons grade plutonium. Canada has contributed $7M to this project. More details here.

Global Nuclear Energy Partnership (GNEP)
Statement of Principles
Note that this statement has been endorsed by
Gary Lunn, Minister of Natural Resources, Canada, 2007 Dec 04
A good review of the situation can be read here.

Generation IV International Forum (GIF)
The GIF was organized in 2001 as a collaborative research program aimed at developing the next, the IV, generation of nuclear power. Canada has participated from the beginning. Canadian work is coordinated by the Office of Energy Research and Development. Canada is concentrating on the Supercritical-Water-Cooled Reactor (SCWR), the Very-High-Temperature Reactor (VHTR), hydrogen production, and other co-generation applications. An outline of Canada's program is available here.

Hydrogen Production Project Management Board
processes for thermochemical hydrogen production
part of GIF
Canada is represented by AECL

Energy R&D MOU - 1998 Mar 18

Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA)
The NEA is a specialised agency within the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). It assists member countries in maintaining and developing the scientific, technological, and legal basis of nuclear energy. The NEA's current membership consists of 28 countries, in Europe, North America and the Asia-Pacific region. Canada is a member. The NEA works closely with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) - a specialised agency of the United Nations - and with the European Commission in Brussels. Within the OECD, there is close co-ordination with the International Energy Agency and the Environment Directorate.

International Nuclear Energy Research Initiative (I-NERI)
I-NERI is a USA initiative, part of the Generation IV program, and it is currently the only vehicle for international research collaboration in Generation IV technology. It enables collaboration with the GIF countries on a bilateral basis until multilateral agreements are established. Canada has been involved since 2003 in the areas of Hydrogen Production by Nuclear Systems, Sustainable and Advanced Fuel Cycles, and Super-Critical Water-Cooled Reactor Concepts.

Nuclear Energy International Research Agreement
On February 28, 2005, the Government of Canada signed an international agreement on nuclear energy that will help shape the direction of the industry for the next 20 years. The framework agreement, supported by Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, Japan, France and six other countries, is part of the Generation IV International Forum (GIF) that advances long-term multilateral research and development of nuclear energy systems. In 2006, Canada established the GenIV National Program in order to support Canada’s commitments in advanced nuclear energy systems R&D. On November 30, 2006, Natural Resources Canada signed two systems arrangements of GIF to enable multilateral R&D collaborations in two nuclear reactor systems – the Super Critical Water Cooled Reactor (SCWR) and the Very High Temperature Reactor (VHTR). For further details on Canada’s signing of the agreement, please go here.

AECL – China National Nuclear Corporation Agreement on Nuclear Energy Cooperation
On September 29, 2005, Atomic Energy of Canada Limited (AECL) and China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) signed an agreement that specifies a number of nuclear-related projects on which AECL and CNNC will collaborate. These include joint work on the design of the Advanced CANDU Reactor for China, advanced work on CANDU materials, waste management, CANDU fuel cycles, computerized operations support tools, as well as collaboration in developing advanced technologies including hydrogen production. Further details on the agreement may be found here.

AECL - CNNC - Nucleoelectrica Argentina CANDU Agreement - 2007 Sep 04

International Project on Innovative Nuclear Reactors and Fuel Cycles (INPRO)
INPRO brochure dated 2007. INPRO is one of many projects managed by the International Atomic Energy Agency. Its place within the IAEA is described here.

Very High Temperature Reactor (VHTR)
In the US, the VHTR is more widely known as the Next Generation Nuclear Plant (NGNP)

Nuclear Legislation: Analytical Study
This report summarizes Canada's legal framework as it applies to nuclear industry obligations both domestically and internationally.


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