~ April 2009 Edition
~ This edition written by Don Sherwin~
and Glen Pettinger
Member at Large
Next month on May 6, Frank Roy will speak to us on the 100-year history of powered flight in Canada, from Alexander Graham Bell's Silver Dart in 1909, to the design, construction and ultimate demise of the Avro Arrow in the 1950's. His talk is titled, appropriately, "Darts to Arrows", and promises to be both enlightening and entertaining.
Vignettes from the April Meeting
Our speaker was Dr. Rudi Lepp, a nuclear physicist with 30 years of experience with Atomic Energy of Canada, Ltd. (AECL), now a consultant on nuclear matters for his former employer and the Federal Government. Rudi provided us with a fascinating and balanced perspective on where we really stand re electrical energy sources (Canada is the largest per capita consumer of electricity in the world), and the importance of nuclear energy in this mix. He noted that 51% of Ontario's electrical power generation is from nuclear, while 18% is from coal, and although Elizabeth May has pledged to phase out both these sources, it will be impossible to replace them with renewables (more hydro, wind, solar and biomass), as there are no more rivers to dam, wind and solar are intermittent and unreliable, and biomass (ethanol) is a non-starter, especially if it displaces valuable food supplies. He pointed out that only 9% of the world's electrical energy is derived from renewables, and that countries such as Sweden and Germany, who once pledged to wean themselves off nuclear, have quietly determined that these plants cannot be replaced by renewables, and therefore must remain in operation. In the meantime, peak oil is approaching (by 2026-2050), and oil supplies will need to be preserved for transportation uses. At the same time, he stressed the need to expand our wind and solar sources, and to exercise conservation. He described the NRU reactor at Chalk River where he spent his career, and noted its importance in supplying well over half the world's medical isotopes, as well as providing training to operators of CANDU systems all over the world. He explained the workings of the latter reactor, and we were surprised to learn that there are close to 50 CANDU reactors in operation today, with three in the planning stage, also the merits of private sector financing and operation. He described the four levels of measures in place to ensure CANDUs' safe operation, comparing the vast superiority of these procedures with those in effect at the Chernobyl site in Ukraine (1986 meltdown). Finally, he covered the disposal of spent fuel rods, and the probable need to access these in future to be reprocessed into plutonium fuel, as world reserves of natural uranium are exhausted by mining. In summary, he represented nuclear energy as clean and free of toxic and greenhouse gas emissions. Paraphrasing the famous words of John Lennon, he exhorted his audience to "give nuclear a chance".
Note: For all trips, the bus leaves from the Legion.
Self Introduction ~ David Crowley
Dave, a charter member of Probus Club of Perth, was born in Newfoundland of fisherman stock and emigrated to Ajax, Ontario as a young child with his family in 1943. His parents were teachers, which led them to several communities in Eastern Ontario, starting with Ompah in 1948 and ending up in Perth. Dave followed his parents into the teaching profession, opening the Glen Tay School in 1967, later moving to Queen Elizabeth School in Perth, and retired in 1999 from Montague Central School. During the course of his career, he served on Perth Town Council for five years, and in 1975, became Perth's representative to the Rideau Valley Conservation Authority. He also served for ten years on the board of the Federation of Ontario Cottage Associations (FOCA). His strong interest in environmental and lake management issues, before and after retirement, is revealed in his active involvement with the Friends of the Tay Watershed, and in Sustainable Forestry Management, having maintained a sustainable woodlot in the Ragged Chutes area for 34 years. Dave and wife Jean are winter residents of Perth, but spend most of the summer at their cottage on Grindstone Lake near Plevna.
Management Team Notes
The butcher backed into the meat grinder and got a little behind in his work.
I wondered why the baseball kept getting bigger. Then it hit me.