Cigar Lake Faces New Delay

Poor Cameco!  Only a $91,000,000 third quarter profit as opposed to $95,600,000 last year.  And delays at Cigar Lake threatening fourth quarter profits.  It’s tough being a global greed, isn’t it?

Cameco Says Sales to Fall; Cigar Lake Faces New Delay (Update5)
By Christopher Donville and Yuriy Humber

Oct. 31 (Bloomberg) — Cameco Corp., the world’s largest uranium supplier, said fourth-quarter revenue will be squeezed by lower prices and production at its Cigar Lake mine in Canada will be delayed until at least 2011.

Sales will decline about 10 percent from the third quarter, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan-based Cameco said today in a statement. Uranium spot prices have declined 39 percent since June as some nuclear utilities suspended purchases.

Cigar Lake, which was originally scheduled to begin operations this year and supply about a 10th of global consumption, or 18 million pounds of uranium, flooded a year ago after a rock fall. Draining and repairs to the mine, the world’s biggest untapped source of uranium, are taking longer than forecast because of the need to dig a second shaft, Cameco said.

The delay is “a slight negative for Cameco and a slight positive for the price of uranium,” Kenneth van der Vlugt, a senior vice president with Raymond James Financial Inc., which brokers uranium, said by phone from Dusseldorf, Germany.

Cameco fell C$1.63, or 3.4 percent, to C$46.55 at 4:24 p.m. in Toronto Stock Exchange trading. The shares have fallen 1.4 percent this year, valuing the company at C$16.5 billion.

Cameco’s third-quarter profit climbed to C$91 million ($95.6 million), or 25 cents a share, from C$73 million, or 20 cents, a year earlier, the company said in the statement. Sales rose 89 percent to C$681 million.

Sales Outlook

The company expects fourth-quarter sales will be less than the third quarter’s because of a likely drop in uranium sales volumes and a decline in the average price, Cameco said. Sales were expected to rise to C$686.7 million, based on the average estimate of four analysts surveyed by Bloomberg.

Sales in the fourth quarter of 2006 were C$512 million.

Couldn’t happen to a more unethical bunch!


Radiation Leak at Russian Plant

Safe as a chicken when a fox is in the henhouse, isn’t it?

From the inbox:

Begin forwarded message:


Date: October 29, 2007 5:12:57 PM GMT-06:00

Subject:  BBC E-mail: Radiation leak at Russian plant


** Message **

Nobody harmedby radiation release? Whom are they kidding??

Cheers, Z.


** Radiation leak at Russian plant **

Russia reports a radiation leak at a nuclear plant in the Urals, but says that nobody was hurt.

< >



Nukes and Nuns

From Common Dreams

Nukes and Nuns

by Olga Bonfiglio

I first met Sisters Carol Gilbert and Ardeth Platte at a gathering for young nuns in March 1980. Their task was to help us understand the ways in which the Gospels called us to work for justice in our communities and our world.

Carol and Ardeth were two of the three nuns who were convicted and imprisoned in July 2003 for breaking into the N-8 Minuteman III nuclear missile site in Colorado and symbolically spilling their blood on it. A Denver federal court sentenced them to 30 and 41 months, respectively.

Back then I didn’t care much for their message. It contradicted my own uncomplicated understanding of the world and questioned the purposes and practices of the U.S. government. What they said seemed convoluted, overwhelmingly, and just plain nutty.

The next time I saw the sisters was 27 years later. They had come to my town to give a presentation about their arduous trial.

The nuns’ protest at the missile site was not an off-the-cuff act. They are members of Plowshares, a worldwide peace organization that calls attention to the dangers of militarism and seeks the dismantling of all nuclear weapons. The sisters’ hammers and wire cutters served as symbols of disarmament and referred to Isaiah 2:4 which reads: “They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks.” This time I found the nuns truly inspiring and courageous.

So what had transpired to me during those 27 years that caused me to change my outlook toward these nuns-and indeed the social justice movement? Quite simply, I witnessed people’s struggle for truth and justice.

I first learned about this struggle when I visited Nicaragua in 1985 as I stood on the blackened ground of the port of Corinto where several huge oil storage tanks had once sat before they were blown up by the CIA. Ronald Reagan wanted to neutralize the Sandinistas, who were deemed Communists, in order to clear the way for comfortable trade arrangements U.S. corporations had been enjoying under the deposed dictator Somoza.

In 1986 in Lima, Peru, I saw how desperate peasants tried to make a life for themselves after they left their mountain farms, which had been run over by armed insurgents. These people came to the city to sell plastic combs, laundry buckets, and toys. They were part of the city’s rapid six-fold increase in population which until the 1980s had been stable for 300 years.

My trip to Cochabama, Bolivia, during the Christmas 1985 was delightful. I stayed with a congenial family who taught me in Spanish language. However, two images stick in my mind from that trip. One is of the poor peasant woman on New Year’s Day who was sleeping on the street with her child by her side. Her head poked up for a minute when my companions and I walked near her and then went back down. Sleep often helps to forget hunger. Another woman I saw wore a cracked, light brown, faux leather jacket. The calculator that dangled from a chain on her wrist helped her figure out the exchange of dollars to bolivianos. The Bolivian economy was so inflationary that one dollar would get you one million bolivianos; 750,000 bolivianos would get you a Coke. And speaking of coke, I saw the coca fields. Turns out that the reason the peasants cultivated it was because the world demand for cocaine earned them enough money to feed their families.

As I flew across the ocean to the former Soviet Union on April 26, 1986, little did I know that a nuclear reactor was melting down in a small town called Chernobyl. Little did the people of the Soviet Union know either, especially those who were participating in the festive May Day celebration in Kiev on May 1, just 50 miles from Chernobyl. I witnessed how the Soviet government didn’t care enough to tell its people that they were in danger. I also witnessed how the U.S. embassy not only denied me or my fellow travelers any help but refused to acknowledge that there was an emergency.

Read the full piece here

Thanks to sparqui for the catch!

Navajos seek funds to clear uranium contamination

It’s kinda like radioactive racism, eh? From the LA Times

Navajos seek funds to clear uranium contamination


Tribal officials ask Congress for $500 million to deal with wastes left by mining for bombs, nuclear power plants.

By Judy Pasternak, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
October 24, 2007

WASHINGTON — Navajo tribal officials asked Congress on Tuesday for at least $500 million to finish cleaning up lingering contamination on the Navajo reservation in the American Southwest from Cold War-era uranium mining, an industry nurtured by its only customer until 1971: the United States government.

The tribe also sought a moratorium on new mining in Navajo country, which extends beyond the formal reservation borders into New Mexico, until environmental damage from the last round is repaired.

The requests came at a hearing of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, marked by angry exchanges between the members and officials from five federal agencies with varying degrees of responsibility for protecting Navajo health and the environment.

Committee Chairman Henry A. Waxman (D-Beverly Hills) instructed the agencies — the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Energy, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the Indian Health Service and the Bureau of Indian Affairs — to return in December with a list of the money and authority they need to finally finish the job.

“It’s been a bipartisan failure for over 40 years,” Waxman said. “It’s also a modern American tragedy.”

The full article is here.

For a bit of perspective take a look at extracts from Memories Come To Us In the Rain and the Wind: Oral Histories and Photographs of
Navajo Uranium Miners & Their Families
, from the Navajo Nation, Arizona and New Mexico.

I’m not well-versed in this story and I can’t help but think of what’s going on uranium-wise with First Nations communities at Sharbot Lake.

No Nukes Rockers Rock On

From the Inbox:

October 22, 2007

No Nukes’ rockers renew fight decades later

WASHINGTON ­ Jackson Browne says he thought his group of politically active musicians “really dealt the nuclear industry a blow” with a series of 1979 concerts opposing nuclear power.

Nearly three decades later, Browne and fellow Rock and Roll Hall of Famers Bonnie Raitt and Graham Nash are in Washington to resume the fight. The three, all founders of the Musicians for Safe Energy group that organized the No Nukes concerts, are delivering petitions to Congress today urging lawmakers not to make it easier to finance nuclear reactors.

In a 21st century update on the concert series, the trio created a website,, featuring a YouTube video. It asks viewers to sign a petition opposing a provision in an energy bill before Congress that would expand federal loan guarantees for nuclear plants. Raitt isn’t ruling out an encore of the concerts ­ which produced an album and a movie ­ but said the Internet got the word out quickly.

The group says it collected more than 120,000 supporters.

The musicians’ effort comes as the industry is enjoying what Nuclear Energy Institute spokesman John Keeley calls “a renaissance.”

Last month, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission accepted its first application to build a nuclear power plant since 1978, the year before an accident at the Three Mile Island reactor in central Pennsylvania. Three or four more applications to build reactors could be filed by year’s end, says Scott Peterson, a vice president at the Nuclear Energy Institute. He credits a 2005 bill that streamlined the licensing process for reactors and provided loan guarantees.

The musicians were galvanized into action by new energy legislation that House and Senate negotiators are trying to hammer out. A provision backed by Sen. Pete Domenici, R-N.M., would exponentially increase the amount of federally backed loans.

This year, Congress has provided $4 billion for loan guarantees, which Peterson says is enough for one plant. He says the industry requires about $25 billion for reactors now on the drawing board.

Browne is shocked by nuclear’s comeback. “I thought it was a rotting corpse of an industry,” he says.

The Nuclear Energy Institute says 104 reactors in 31 states provide one-fifth of the USA’s electricity without carbon fuels, which contribute to global warming.

Browne says heightened terrorism concerns bolster the argument for looking other sources of power. “The consequences of blowing up a field of wind generators would not be the same as blowing up a train full of nuclear waste,” he says.

The anti-nukes musicians have at least one friend in the corridors of power: Songwriter and guitarist John Hall, who helped found Musicians for Safe Energy, was elected to Congress last year. Hall, D-N.Y., arrived in Washington just in time to perform with his friends at a VIP reception on Capitol Hill Monday night.

On the proposed playlist: “Plutonium is Forever,” a Hall song about the difficulties of disposing of nuclear waste. Browne described it as “rock music for policy wonks.”

Before the show, Browne said Hall’s lack of practice wasn’t a concern “as good a musician as he is.”


Panties for Peace!

This is too, too good! Grrls, package those panties and ship them away!

From the Inbox:

Women in several countries, including Australia, have begun sending their underpants to Burma embassies in a culturally insulting gesture of protest against the recent brutal crackdown. “It’s an extremely strong message in Burmese and in all Southeast Asian culture,” said Liz Hilton, who supports an activist group that launched the “Panties for Peace” drive earlier this week.

The group, Lanna Action for Burma, says the country’s superstitious generals, especially junta leader General Than Shwe, also believe that contact with women’s underwear saps them of power, even if the panties are clean & laundered.

To widespread international condemnation, the military in Burma crushed mass anti-regime demonstrations recently and continues to hunt down and imprison those who took part.

Hilton said women in Thailand, Australia, Singapore, England and other European countries had started sending or delivering their underwear to Burma missions following informal coordination among activist organisations and individuals.

“You can post, deliver or fling your panties at the closest Burmese Embassy any day from today. Send early, send often!” the Lanna Action for Burma website urges.

“So far we have had no response from Burmese officials,” Hilton said today.


From: Lana Action for Burma
Breaking News

After a day of tri-panty dialogue, deep in the golden triangle due to the popular demand, the panties are back. Make sure your panties reach the intended target, SPDC. You can post, deliver or fling your panties at the closest Burmese Embassy any day from today. Clean panties are fine. Or those worn for an hour or two as well. Send early, send often!

This is your chance to use your Panty Power to take away the power from the SPDC and support the people of Burma.

Address For Thailand:
Myanmar Embassy
132 Sathorn Nua Road

Tel : (613) 232-6434
Fax : (613) 232-6435
Send Email

Head of Mission:
U Nyunt Tin (Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary)

Deputy Head of Mission:
Daw Yin Yin Oo (First-Secretary)

Nuclear watchdog too close with industry

Regulatory Independence: Law, Practice and Perception is an independent study of the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission prepared by the Institute on Governance (IoG). The report suggests that Canada’s nuclear watchdog agency is sleeping with the industry players. The CNSC “has in the past put more focus on communicating with licensees than with non-government organizations and the broader public.”

And we’re supposed to trust the CNSC???

The report recommends that

…in order to function as an effective independent authority, there must be clear separation of the regulatory body from government and industry interests. [emphasis mine] Maintaining the integrity of the regulator through appropriate mechanisms and guidelines is essential to ensure the independent authority remains insusceptible to unwarranted external influences…

A Globe and Mail article suggests that what has been happening in the past isa host of private, informal meetings with industry personnel but never with NGO representatives:

Duff Conacher of Democracy Watch says there’s no need for Ms. Keen to risk even the perception of unfairness by seeing applicants who may later seek favourable rulings.

“Holding meetings outside of a formal commission hearing, that’s like a judge meeting with a plaintiff or the defence and saying: ‘Here’s how it’s likely to go, and what I need from you in order to give you the decision that you want.’ ” Potential applicants who need information can read statutes online or public records of past decisions, he added.

Doesn’t that just make you feel all snug as a bug in a rug? NOT!

David Martin, energy co-ordinator for Greenpeace, says his group has never had the benefit of a private audience with Ms. Keen.

“Oh, never. No. The only time we’ve had any direct contact with Linda Keen has been through the regulatory processes where she’s sat on the commission.”

The watchdog only recently started a consultation process with public interest groups in the face of growing pressure, Mr. Martin said.

That said, there’s legitimate concern over the extent to which Ms. Keen and senior staff are privately meeting with nuclear interests, he said.

This is all happening as the industry holds a “full-court press” to expand operations – while pushing for more lenient environmental assessments – in several provinces, Mr. Martin said.

“When you understand that they’re conducting these meetings effectively in secret, and you combine that with the increasing regulatory leniency that [the commission] is showing to the nuclear industry, I think two and two make four. This is an agency that has been seriously co-opted, and is in serious need of reform.”

So, my question is, just how safe are we, really?

CD Launch

My Heart is Moved


Photograph by Cherie Westmoreland

CD Launch

This project,
My Heart is Moved, is deeply local,
circles of women caring for the global and local
possibilities in their lands and communities.

~ Carolyn McDade

In early June 2007, seven Saskatchewan women traveled to Boston to record the vocal tracks for My Heart Is Moved, a new CD of music by Carolyn McDade & Friends. In all, 85 women from 10 different bio-regions of North America — many of whom had never before met — gathered to sing! All who were there brought with them the breath and life of their local communities, the voices of all in their circles, the amazing preparation and intention of the local group, into the focused work of rehearsals and recording. Songs shaped collaboratively in word and sound by beloved artists, given instrumental voice by exquisite musicians were further shaped as they were sung in community.


Please join Carolyn McDade & Friends and the Saskatchewan Singers of the Sacred Web to listen to, sing and celebrate this new release of songs that gives us an emotional entry into the profound and urgent wisdom of the Earth Charter.

7:30 pm Thursday, October 25, 2007
St. Andrews College
1121 College Drive
University of Saskatchewan

7:30 pm, Friday, October 26, 2007
Sunset United Church
177 Sunset Drive




This music, drawn from the heart and words of The Earth Charter, pulls us to where waters run. . . seep. . . pool. . . We need these songs if we are ever to rudder ourselves through the narrows to a deeper understanding of who we are as planetary and cosmic beings, intent on the wellbeing of the community of life of which we are inextricably a part. ~ Carolyn McDade

The Earth Charter is a global People’s document that addresses how we, Earth’s people, need to exist in relationship with one’s self, with others, with Earth, and the larger whole if we are to sustain human life on this planet. Current work on the Charter began in 1994 with Maurice Strong, Chair of the 1992 Rio Summit, and former USSR President Mikhail Gorbachev, Founder of Green Cross International. The aim of the movement is to have the Charter officially recognized by the United Nations.

The project title, My Heart Is Moved, comes from an Adrienne Rich poem, Natural Resources, published in her1978 book, The dream of a common language.

My heart is moved by all I cannot save:
so much has been destroyed

I have to cast my lot with those,
who age after age, perversely,

with no extraordinary power,
reconstitute the world.

We invite you to let your heart be moved by this beautiful music, to cast your lot with ours as we move from the aquifer of our hearts and souls to reconstitute the world. If you are not in Saskatchewan, you may be able to take in other launch celebrations in Canada and the USA. CDs will be available for sale at the launches and can be purchased in Regina at Bach & Beyond or online.

For additional information, please visit, email

Employees Recount Stories of Radiation Exposure

From the Pittsburg Tribune

The 1960s and 1970s was a time when some workers for the former Nuclear Materials and Equipment Corp. (NUMEC) were so contaminated by radiation, health and safety technicians stripped them and scrubbed their bodies for hours. Often, their clothes were bagged and buried at the nuclear waste dump in Parks.

Now, doesn’t that sound like fun?

But they didn’t complain to the boss:



Back then, most of the workers at NUMEC and later Babcock & Wilcox (B&W) — the former nuclear fuel processing plants in Apollo and Parks, didn’t tell their stories publicly. They feared retribution, loss of their jobs or compromising loyalty to the company and their co-workers.


 But some had courage.

Two decades ago, the workers who channeled company documents and government reports on the hazardous conditions at NUMEC and B&W to Leechburg environmental activist Patty Ameno insisted on meeting her in places at night where they could not be seen — in parking lots and along the dark and winding Dime Road in Parks.


 They had to expose the shit that was going on.


“With regard to health and safety of the workers and the community, the Apollo plant was an abomination,” Ameno said. “NUMEC’s laundry area was a nightmare,” Ameno said in her testimony citing a company confidential document stating, in 1968: ” … health and safety problems are becoming critical … the exposure problem is serious … high plutonium levels in the laundry means someone is being exposed at the plutonium plant (Parks).”

[T]he company was plagued by typical product development issues.

“Through the course of these activities as in any development, occurrences such as spills, overflows on floor, lab benches, hoods, etc., overheats, crusty hot plates and the like contaminated the area and personnel,” according to Haley.

“Health and safety rules were in place but often circumvented by workers to meet priorities,” Haley said. For instance, it was common for a worker, who knowingly was contaminated, to use a family member or a co-worker who wasn’t contaminated to provide a urine or a fecal sample so the employee could continue to work to earn money, according to Haley. “And sometimes the guy in the glove box heard the annoying sounds of the air sampler and unplugged it,” he added. Many of the workers were more accustomed to handling steel than uranium, and that contributed to the contamination,” Haley added.