I was very pleased to see that the isotope panel’s report came up with the right answers and that I was wrong in my misgivings about its members.
Yes. We do need a new multi-purpose research reactor if Canada is going to stay in the nuclear game. That’s their main conclusion and I agree completely. I would have liked to have seen an additional statement that the new reactor should be at Chalk River. That would have finally killed the dangerous and naïve idea of locating an isotope processing facility with associated fission product storage on a university campus as has been suggested for Saskatchewan.
It’s great the panel also rejected the “full speed ahead and damn the torpedoes” attitude of the Maple resurrectionists. Macho doesn’t cut it when it comes to nuclear technology especially when the justification is simply commercial expediency. Speaking of money there was a clear statement that the Canadian taxpayer had long been subsidizing nuclear medicine in many countries around the world and by implication that it should stop. These subsidies end up in the hands of a long chain of middlemen and greedy medical specialists. They don’t do patients any good.
Hopefully we’ve seen the last of the loopy accelerator ideas and I certainly would like to think more about the cyclotron concept. I was a bit surprised they didn’t list all the submissions in an appendix of some kind but that doesn’t really matter all that much.
Now it all boils down to whether the government will ante up the cash for a new reactor and who could build one. There’s the Opal in Australia built by Argentina, the new research reactor just sold by Korea to Jordan and my favorite the Jules Horowitz reactor in France. Maybe we could clone one of them.
The key point is Canada must have access to a high flux multi-purpose research reactor, either our own or as a member of an international partnership.