Sharbot Lake Uranium Mystery

Hey Ontario, before you go to the polls maybe you should read up on the Sharbot Lake mystery, starting with this:

Frontenac never specifically stated how they got this permit from the Ontario government or how this colonial interloper ever gained the right to give anyone such a permit. Even in cases where there have been treaties, Canada’s Indian Affairs department has usually recognized that the indigenous peoples retain underground mineral rights. In this case, the Algonquins never surrendered the land in question. Ontario’s authority is based on pure presumption. It looks like outrighttheft from the Algonquins, who are being kept in the dark.

from:  The Answer, My Friend, is Glowing in the Wind…unravelling the Sharbot Lake Uranium mystery over at Harper Valley

We Are Moving Rapidly to an Abyss

From a September 3 interview posted on France’s, Action As Citizens for the Total Dismantling of Nukes website and which makes me think that the Bush-ites are really trying to create the conditions to go into Iran:

SPIEGEL INTERVIEW WITH MOHAMED ELBARADEI
’We Are Moving Rapidly Towards an Abyss’

Publication date : 13 September 2007

United Nations chief weapons inspector Mohamed ElBaradei spoke to SPIEGEL about Iran’s last chance to convince the world of the peaceful nature of its nuclear program, his problems with the US government and his fear of nuclear weapons falling into the hands of terrorists.

ElBaradei, 65, an Egyptian diplomat with a law degree from New York University, has been the Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) since 1997. Working on behalf of the UN, Baradei’s job is to prevent the further proliferation of nuclear weapons.

 

SPIEGEL: Mr. ElBaradei, the international community suspects that Iran aims to build nuclear weapons. Tehran denies this. Have we now reached the decisive phase in which we will finally get an answer to this central question of world politics?

Mohamed ElBaradei: Yes. The next few months will be crucial for the overall situation in the Middle East. Whether we move in the direction of escalation or in the direction of a peaceful solution.

SPIEGEL: You have been given a central role. The new report on Iran by your International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) could lead to more severe sanctions against Tehran.

ElBaradei: The international community will have to make that decision. We can only deliver the facts and our assessment of the situation. There are hopeful and positive signs. For the first time, we have agreed, with the Iranians, to a sort of roadmap, a schedule, if you will, for clarifying the outstanding issues. We should know by November, or December at the latest, whether the Iranians will keep their promises. If they don’t, Tehran will have missed a great opportunity — possibly the last one.

SPIEGEL: The US government has described Iran’s new willingness to cooperate as a transparent attempt to distract from its true intentions and from its continued development of the capabilities to produce a nuclear weapon. Is the IAEA too gullible?

ElBaradei: I am familiar with these accusations. They are completely untrue. It’s not possible to manipulate us. We are not na�ve and we do not take sides. Our new Iran report also shows that the Iranian government is not adhering to the requirements set forth by the UN, which demanded an immediate stop to uranium enrichment.

 

GNEP: A Risk for Canada

From the Inbox:

Begin forwarded message:


From: Northwatch

Date: September 13, 2007 8:15:53 AM GMT-06:00

Subject:Fwd: Global Nuclear Group a Risk for Canada: Critics

 

Embassy, September 12th, 2007
NEWS STORY

Global Nuclear Group a Risk for Canada: Critics

By Christopher Guly

It’s an international group few Canadians had heard about until last week when news broke that the country had received an invitation to join.

But signing onto the U.S.-led Global Nuclear Energy Partnership could lead to dire consequences, say critics of the Bush administration’s nuclear-power expansion plan, which is being promoted as a way to reduce both greenhouse gas emissions and the risk of nuclear weapons proliferation.

Critics also called on the Canadian government to hold a national debate on the benefits and drawbacks of joining the partnership, rather than making a decision they allege could have significant ramifications for the country behind closed-doors.

It was revealed last week that Canada has been invited to join the one-year-old partnership, which aims to spread nuclear power to ensure energy security and fight climate change while ensuring the technology can’t be used by third parties to develop nuclear weapons.

The federal government has not yet announced whether it will do so, or whether it would send a representative to attend a GNEP meeting in Vienna on Sunday, despite Foreign Affairs Minister Maxime Bernier saying in Australia last week that the government would “have a decision in the near future about our participation.

Australia has also received an invitation to the group, which lists the United States, China, Japan, France and Russia as members, and Australian Prime Minister John Howard indicated that his country, which is the second-largest producer of uranium after Canada, would join.

During an address last week to the 2007 World Nuclear Association’s annual symposium in London, U.S. Assistant Secretary for Nuclear Energy Dennis Spurgeon said that “candidate countries” could be invited to participate in the GNEP for several reasons, including expressing an interest to join as a member or observer and nomination by GNEP partner countries.

At the conclusion of last week’s APEC ministerial meeting in Sydney, Mr. Bernier acknowledged that as the world’s top uranium producers, Canada and Australia “have considerable interests in whatever the United States and the international community have in mind in terms of future uranium development and production and marketing.”

Interest in GNEP since 2006

According to censored documents obtained by The Canadian Press through an access-to-information request, the federal government has been “very interested” in the GNEP since 2006 when Canadian and American officials began discussions “to consider possible parameters of Canadian involvement.”

However, when asked about Canada joining the GNEP at last week’s APEC summit, Mr. Harper said the government had not “felt pressured to make a determination by any particular timeline.”

He said that Canada’s priorities were to ensure the country’s uranium and nuclear industries “are not left out of any of the international opportunities that other countries may take advantage of,” and that any international agreement “fully respects the non-proliferation agreements…and objectives that Canada and other major countries have long subscribed to.”

But Liberal Natural Resources critic Mark Holland accused Mr. Harper in a statement of “having closed-door discussions [at the APEC meeting] to potentially broker a deal that would have all the waste generated from the uranium Canada sells to the world brought back on our doorstep for disposal.”

“The debate needs to happen here at home before we make promises internationally,” Mr. Holland added. “Mr. Harper is handling this critical issue with the same secrecy and lack of transparency that has been the hallmark of this government.”

In addition to calling for a national debate, Mr. Holland’s statement raised a major concern: that nuclear fuel exported from Canada for use by other countries would be repatriated for disposal in Canada after being used.

Last week, Liberal leader Stéphane Dion warned that Canada could become a “global nuclear waste garbage dump” if it signs onto GNEP, and called for a debate in Parliament before the government commits to joining.

“This is an enormous legacy problem and an issue that could last centuries, and I don’t believe the Conservative government has the mandate or the responsibility to just arbitrarily choose Canada to be a toxic dumping ground for other nations’ waste,” NDP environment critic Nathan Cullen said.

Should the government bypass Parliament and have Canada join the GNEP, Mr. Cullen vowed opposition members would seek to “un-sign” the agreement.

“If they think this is a good idea, they should put it in the public,” he said. “If they don’t, then it’s going to be open to all kinds of challenges, both in Parliament and in the courts.

Plan Would Boost Nuclear Exports

There’s no question, however, that the government is taking a long look at the potential economic benefits.

Canada signing onto GNEP would be a “wet dream” for the country’s nuclear industry, said Dave Martin, energy co-ordinator for Greenpeace Canada.

“It would mean a dramatic increase in nuclear exports and reprocessing, which is something they’ve wanted for a long time,” he explained from Toronto.

“But the cost in terms of proliferation and security risks is going to be enormous.”

In a statement, Greenpeace Canada said that although the international initiative is promoted as an anti-proliferation measure to prevent the reprocessing of radioactive waste to obtain plutonium for nuclear bombs, GNEP would worsen proliferation through the spread of nuclear power and the increase of plutonium reprocessing.

“I don’t think there’s any way to keep the genie in the bottle,” said Mr. Martin.

On the eve of Mr. Harper’s Tuesday address to Australia’s Parliament, Green Party leader Elizabeth May and Australian Greens Leader Sen. Bob Brown issued a joint statement accusing both countries’ leaders of “obstructing real action on climate change while promoting dangerous policies on nuclear energy and uranium exports,” and said that last week’s APEC summit “had made the world a more dangerous place.”

“For a long time, the two biggest threats to the survival of the planet have been nuclear war and climate change–and now they’re together, and that’s what’s troubling,” Ms. May said, adding the Green Party plans to raise the issue in the next election.

She said that with plutonium being transferred around the world as fuel, the world would be less secure in terms of terrorist threats and the risk of nuclear accidents.

Rather than joining the GNEP, Canada should re-embrace its traditional role supporting nuclear disarmament, in Ms. May’s view.

Waste Storage a Tricky Issue

One obstacle to membership in the GNEP, Mr. Martin pointed out, is that Canada has a long-standing policy against repatriating radioactive waste–which contains plutonium–from the sale of uranium and CANDU reactors, designed and marketed by Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd.

“Historically, AECL wanted to be able to offer to take back that waste from countries not wanting to deal with the long-term management of the waste,” he said.

But while Canada reprocessed uranium to provide the U.S. and United Kingdom governments with plutonium for their respective nuclear-weapons programs, the complex practice ended in the late 1960s.

“It’s very expensive and very messy, and produces a large volume of highly radioactive liquid and acidic waste. From an environmental standpoint, it’s extremely problematic,” said Mr. Martin.

“Radioactive waste remains toxic for about a million years and needs to be sequestered from the environment for that period of time, which is arguably impossible.”

Ms. May said the Nuclear Waste Management Organization, created five years ago under former prime minister Jean Chrétien’s watch, proposes to store nuclear waste in a specific underground–as yet unknown–location.

“The final decision as to whether to permanently dispose of that waste would be made in 300 years,” she said. “That’s like having an envelope waiting for us from Oliver Cromwell saying, ‘Open now, you have further instructions.'”

In June, Natural Resources Minister Gary Lunn said the government accepted the NWMO’s recommendation for managing used nuclear fuel in which it would be kept at a reactor site for 30 years, then transported to a centralized storage facility in “an informed and willing community” before being buried deep underground.

But last week, the Globe and Mail reported that Mr. Lunn acknowledged that spent fuel could also be reprocessed in Canada.

“There is no question that as the technology evolves, it’s something we’ll see in the years ahead,” the paper quoted Mr. Lunn as saying.

As for the GNEP, he said, while it’s not practical to require uranium-producing countries to accept nuclear waste from nations that use the reactor fuel, “there could be some advantages for Canada to be an official member of the GNEP.”

In tackling climate change, Canada has to consider various energy options, including “clean coal” and “clean and safer nuclear solutions,” Liberal Industry critic Scott Brison said recently while attending a World Economic Forum meeting in China.

And AECL nuclear engineer Jeremy Whitlock explained that a “reliable” base-load power supply to run an electricity grid requires a conventional source, such as nuclear.

“If you have that foundation, you can be branching out and building wind farms,” said Mr. Whitlock, past president and the current chair of the Canadian Nuclear Society’s education and communication committee.

But Mr. Cullen said countries like Germany are using alternative sources, where 20 per cent of its energy comes from wind power.

“You get where you aim, and where this government is aiming is on reliance on dirty fuels and nuclear.”

editor@embassymag.ca

_______________________________________________


NAFTA Superhighway: Fact or Myth

Updated to add this story, North American Union Drivers License Created  which quite nicely fits with this piece I posted last night.

As a means of maintaining my sanity, I have been trying to focus my blogging on the uranium issue. But this, from the Financial Post, just begs for a response (and the two issues are probably interconnected, if you dig deeply enough).

Anyway, the President of the NASCO SuperCorridor is so desperate to keep that project separate from NAFTA that he has had to denounce people like me. Apparently, by linking NAFTA and the NASCO SuperCorridor, I am perpetrating a myth. I think he is trying out a new adaptation of a trick the former Saskatchewan Tory cabinet minister and convicted murderer, Colin Thatcher, used: deny, deny, deny.

 

Highway myths

Fringe Groups Cultivate The Myth Of A Planned ‘NAFTA Superhighway,’ Diverting Attention From The Crumbling Highways That Already Exist

George Blackwood, Financial Post

Published: Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Well, if he and the Financial Post say so, then by gosh and by golly, it must be true!

Interestingly, there is a letter on a listserv archive which calls said highway the NAFTA Superhighway. That letter is dated June 1998.

My heartiest congratulations go out to the North America's Superhighway
Coalition, its Board of Directors

There is another letter just a little further down on the same archive page:

        Dear Fellow Former Colleagues at David A. Dean & Associates/Dean

International, Inc.         Founding Consultants to the North America's Superhighway Coalition, formerly

known as

        The Interstate Highway 35 Corridor Coalition

Now really, what’s a girl to think? Especially when she reads further in that letter and sees this:

the trade corridor program was funded with $700
million in Contract Authority (these are "real dollars" as opposed to a
simple authorization which must go through the appropriations process).

        The I-35 corridor is the strongest and most organized of the corridor
initiatives so, if we play our cards right, we stand to get a part of the $700
million.

One has to wonder if Mr. Blackwell is more concerned about his own pocketbook than he is about what is best for the citizens in each of the countries involved in this project. How stupid do they really think we are?

Hmm…we have the NAFTA Superhighway head honcho, the President of the United States of America, and Prime Minister Harper all in some kind of deny, deny, deny mode since their love-in in Montebello. Kinda makes you wonder, doesn’t it?

Canada’s Deadly Secret

Finally, the true story of Saskatchewan’s uranium will be out there for all to read, thanks to dedicated no-nukes activist, Jim Harding. Canada’s Deadly Secret: Saskatchewan Uranium and the Global Nuclear System, has been a long time coming and chronicles 30 years of intense struggle. It comes at a time when the nuclear industry is trying to make a comeback: a uranium refinery proposed for SK, nuclear plants for the AB oilfields, and Bush’s global nuclear pact which would force us to accept nuclear wastes from abroad.

Helen Caldicott, who wrote the Foreward to Jim’s book, says,

“Harding exposes the role the government played in perpetuating nuclear propaganda through the disinformation of campaigns of its covert Uranium Secretariat and penetration of the public education curriculum…He also explores the deadly corporate planning processes that reveal the growing partnership between the oil and nuclear industries.” Harding “unveils the dark side of nuclear politics in his home province, which bears the distinction of of being the largest uranium-producing region in the world and he challenges us to explore how Canada has consistently been complicit and instrumental in the expansion of the global nuclear system.”

Jim is a retired professor of environmental and justice studies. He is a founding member of the Regina Group for a Non-Nuclear Society and International Uranium Congress and was director of research for Prairie Justice Research at the University of Regina, where he headed up the Uranium Inquiries Project. Jim also acted as Prairie Corresponent for Nuclear Free Press and consultant to the NFB award-winning film Uranium.

Fernwood, a non-profit publisher, cannot compete with the nuclear industry’s expensive PR, but we can build grass-roots networks here and abroad to counter the pro-nuke propaganda. If you can help to organize a reading in your area, post here, and I’ll let Jim know.

Upcoming SK Book Launches

1. Sat. Sept. 29th, PCTC, Fort Qu’Appelle, 7:00 p.m. (as part of the KAIROS Prairie Conference).

2. Tuesday Oct. 16th, McNally Saskatoon Bookstore, 7 p.m.

3. Sun. Oct. 28th, Regina Exchange, 7 p.m. (as part of a Non-Nuclear Benefit).

4. Sun. Nov. 11th, Regina Unitarian Hall, morning service (still to be confirmed).

Labrador – Canada’s Nuclear Waste Dump?

Labrador, desperate for employment is diving into the nuclear industry.  And, apparently willing to take on waste.  Here’s the story.  Here’s an excerpt:

With new discoveries in Labrador, the region is poised to become a major producer and supplier of uranium as new discoveries are brought online. If the government of Canada decides to join other nations in this nuclear initiative Labrador, with its massive land area and extremely small population, would likely become a preferred choice for the storage of international radioactive waste.

Doesn’t that just warm your heart?  NOT!!!

New job for former Liberal MP

So, get a load of this! The former Liberal MP for Desenthe-Missinippi-Churchill in northern SK, Gary Merasty, whose resignation took effect this past Tuesday, is a new VP at the multinational uranium giant based in Saskatoon. Yes, that’s right! CAMECO scooped him from federal politics into nuclear politics. The Star-Kleenex reports:

Cameco Corp. says Gary Merasty is well-suited to take on the uranium company’s newly created position of vice-president of corporate social responsibility because of his past experiences in First Nations and federal politics.

I think this could really be interpreted to read something like,

CAMECO Corp. needs a face that will make them look good, especially in the First Nations’ communities whose lands and lives are being devastated by uranium mining in northern Saskatchewan. And it’d be helpful if this person had some political connections, too.  Mr. Merasty fits the bill.

Gary Merasty:  willing participant in the promotion of ecological racism.  (For an excellent discussion of environmental justice, including ecological racism, read this.)