media release

Conference zeroes in on radiation risk

May 23, 2014

Contact: Marianne Meadahl, PAMR, 778.782.9017;

Media: RSVP conference chair to attend sessions below:

Radiation risk professionals and researchers, including several from Simon Fraser University, will meet next week (May 26 – 29) for the Canadian Radiation Protection Association annual conference, Managing the Risk: Perceptions and Realities at the Sheraton Wall Centre in Vancouver.

Among session speakers is Anne-Marie Nicol, an assistant professor in SFU’s Faculty of Health Sciences who studies environmental carcinogens. She will speak on the risks of Radon, a radioactive gas found naturally in the environment.

Nicol is the principal investigator for CAREX Canada, a comprehensive resource that maps exposure to cancer-causing agents in workplace and community environments nationwide (see related story). Earlier this year she was part of the Royal Society of Canada panel that made recommendations to Health Canada on its Safety Code 6, which sets out limits on exposure to radio frequency fields to protect public health.

The conference will also feature a pair of sessions (Wednesday) related to the effects of the 2011 Fukushima disaster on Canada, led by Abderrachid Zitouni of the BC Centre for Disease Control (10:30 a.m.) and Julie Burtt of the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (2 p.m.), along with a presentation by Robin Brown of the Institute of Ocean Sciences in Sidney, B.C.

Conference co-organizer and SFU chemistry PhD student Aaron Chester will be among those attending the sessions. Chester is part of an SFU team, working with chemistry professor Krys Starosta, which continues to study the potential environmental impact of Fukushima on B.C.’s coast.

The conference opens with David Ropiek, an instructor at Harvard University, blogger, former TV journalist and consultant on risk perception, communication and management, who will speak on fear and radiation, and why perceptions don’t always match the real risk.

Paul Shaffer, head of nuclear medicine at TRIUMF and an adjunct professor at SFU, will speak on research in nuclear medicine related to the production of medical radioisotopes.

The CPRA is a group of radiation safety professionals representing universities, hospitals, uranium mining and refining industries, nuclear power plants, radiation safety consulting and government agencies.

The group’s mandate is to ensure the safe use of radiation by providing scientific knowledge and education, expertise and policy guidance for radiation protection. It is also an associate society of the International Radiation Protection Association, networking with more than 20,000 members in 60 countries.

Simon Fraser University is consistently ranked among Canada's top comprehensive universities and is one of the top 50 universities in the world under 50 years old. With campuses in Vancouver, Burnaby and Surrey, B.C., SFU engages actively with the community in its research and teaching, delivers almost 150 programs to more than 30,000 students, and has more than 125,000 alumni in 130 countries.


Simon Fraser University: Engaging Students. Engaging Research. Engaging Communities.

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