President, Women in Nuclear (WiN)
Why is this the nuclear industry so important?
The landscape in the nuclear industry is rapidly changing and presents unique opportunities for women. When we look at the effects of climate change, we need to look at solutions. Nuclear power presents a safe, carbon-free, reliable and affordable solution. Nuclear is helping Ontario and Canada reach our GHG targets. Canada is a long-time leader in nuclear energy research and development, dating back to the 1940’s. The employment possibilities in nuclear are endless, with the nuclear industry in Canada employing more than 76,000 people and contributing more than $17 billion to the GDP in the Canadian economy.
In addition, the Canadian nuclear industry makes a major contribution to our economy and society over and above the amazing benefits of clean energy. The industry in Canada is unique because it covers the full fuel cycle, uranium mining, power generation, nuclear research, industrial and medical applications and nuclear waste storage and disposal. Canada also hosts most of its own supply chain partners.
The nuclear industry in Canada is also making progress on deploying Small Modular Reactors, which is yet another way nuclear can provide Canada with clean, reliable energy. SMRs are a way for the nuclear industry to complement renewables, to meet the growing demand, while supporting climate change and environmental objectives. SMRs can be effective in helping meet Canada’s energy demands specifically in the heavy industry and mining sector, to reduce the use of diesel fuels. SMRs present a sound source of low-carbon energy.
Canada is also a world leader in isotope production, providing more than 60% of the world’s isotopes. And on top of all of that, the nuclear sector in Canada consistently finds ways to innovate and bring new technology into the industry.
What types of opportunities are available in nuclear right now?
The nuclear industry has unlimited possibilities for women. Here in Canada we are committed to the Equal by 30 campaign, an initiative aimed at equal pay, equal leadership and equal opportunities for women. There are more than 100 signatories to the campaign around the world, including representation from all G7 countries. Almost 90% of the jobs in the nuclear industry are highly skilled; either professional level or skilled technical jobs.
We’re busy with the refurbishment activities at OPG’s Darlington Nuclear and Bruce Power starting the Major Component Replacement, more than 20, 000 jobs will be available during the full life extension activities. We have lots of women working in skilled trades, in our control rooms, as engineers, in nuclear security, the list goes on. And we want more women in our workforce. There’s a place for everyone in this industry, which is what makes it a great opportunity for women.
How does WiN empower women in energy?
WiN offers a number of programs and initiatives available to help women succeed in the industry, with more new programs becoming available for our members in the near future. We host a number of professional development workshops to help members attain their career aspirations. We also offer a number of technical and experience exchange opportunities through technical tours and networking events.
In 2018, Lisa McBride, President of WiN Canada, established WiN Global’s first mentoring program. This was a joint partnership initiative with the International Youth Nuclear Congress and was rolled out at the WiN Global Conference in Barilaroche, Argentina. This pilot was incredibly successful and has been adopted into the WiN Global Conference program on an annual basis.
WiN Canada will be bringing this program to its 2020 WiN Global Conference, which is being hosted by WiN Canada in Niagara Falls from October 4–8, 2020. This will be the introduction of this program in Canada, where it is expected to become a core program within the WiN Canada framework.