Alternatives to HEU to produce medical isotopes

Dr. Dale Dewar, a long-time no nukes activist in SK, shares information about an alternative to using highly enriched uranium to produce Mo-99, the medical isotope that had Canadian Parliament declare itself a nuclear outlaw when it voted to restart the Chalk River reactor despite safety concerns expressed by Canada’s nuclear regulator.

While I don’t pretend to know the science of it, I would think it important that our Parliamentarians explore and contemplate any and all alternatives.

The Society for Nuclear Medicine published this little blurb (below) about a patent to develop a method that was not dependent upon highly enriched uranium (HEU) to produce Mo-99, the precursor of Tc-99m used in so many medical tests. Scientific American published a lengthy article in Feb 2006 arguing that all scientific and nuclear power reactors should change from HEU to decrease the international threat of nuclear terrorism (bombs). Good article. Buried by the nuclear industry community because the nuclear industry is actually based upon weapons production – all the rest, nuclides, power, are secondary.

An alternative method of producing Mo-99?

A method of producing molybdenum-99 comprising:

providing a target comprising molybdenum-100; and

directing a photon beam onto the target to isotopically convert at least a portion of the molybdenum-100 of the target to molybdenum-99 having specific activity of at least 1.0 curies/gram, the photon beam having intensity of at least 50 microamps/cm2 and photons of energy of at least 8 MeV.

More to think about.

Dale Dewar, BSc, MD, CFPC, FCFP

More to think about indeed!

Caldicott in SK [video]

A long time ago I promised readers at P’n’P some notes on Dr. Helen Caldicott’s speak at the University of Regina. Well, even better than my scratchy notes, here is a video of her presentation that night. (She begins around 4:55)

Radioactive Wall in SK

It seems Premier Wall is eager to increase activity in the uranium industry, according to his year-end interview with the Regina Leader Post

It will be a little different, because we are — I am — excited about uranium as part of that story, and value-added opportunities. And I know the NDP, they were just never very comfortable, they’re very conflicted by this, the party itself. So we never have done a good job of making the case nationally or internationally about what uranium means, economically and environmentally.

This is an important piece. I’ve asked ministry officials for some numbers and, I can tell you, the amount of greenhouse gasses displaced by our uranium, which is used to power plants, is a pretty important number. It’s near half a billion tones of GhGs. That message needs to get out in the context of the whole discussion about greenhouse gasses.

It seems, also, that Mr. Wall doesn’t get — or is willfully ignorant of — the fact that nuclear power is not a quick fix to our climate crisis. In fact, those who are wise about uranium say that nuclear power is a Con trick. Nuclear energy is of practically no significance to humanity’s energy needs.

Nuclear Power is a Con Trick

In order to claim more importance for nuclear power, the nuclear industry repeatedly overstates nuclear energy’s share of electricity generation. If one examines closely what contribution nuclear energy makes to total worldwide energy consumption, it becomes evident that nuclear power is of practically no significance for mankind’s energy needs. In 2001, nuclear electricity supplied only 2.3 percent of worldwide energy needs. Renewable energy’s contribution to world energy supply is already significantly greater. The human race can easily do without nuclear power’s marginal contribution. The risks of nuclear accidents, production of highly radioactive waste and the costs necessary for its disposal, bear no rational relationship to the slight short-term gain in energy that nuclear power provides. Nuclear power is both hazardous and superfluous.

So, Mr. Wall, do your homework!


Peacing things together

Too many people I converse with believe the human capacity for peaceful co-existence is not possible.  I disagree.  We do have a deep capacity for peace, but it has not been fostered in our competitive, consumerist and corporatist culture, one that mines uranium and builds bombs. From the John Lennon and Yoko Ono 1969 Bed-In, a version of Give Peace a Chance edited with images of the violence perpetrated against peaceful protesters.


And once you have one John Lennon piece, you might as well add another.  Imagine is probably my all-time favourite song.



Our capacity to imagine is weakened by the fast-paced and regulated lives we live, but when we do allow ourselves time and space to imagine all that Lennon talks about we can more easily climb on board Yusuf Islam’s (Cat Stevens’) Peace Train.


Here’s wishing you and yours a very merry Christmas and a happy new year.  My gift to you: Sarah McLachlan’s version of John Lennon’s, So this is Christmas.


Peace out!


With love,


Nuclear Power is a Dead End

Over the next week P’n’P will feature posters from the International Nuclear Power Fact File Poster Campaign.  The first is Nuclear Power is a Dead End.

dead end

Nuclear Power is a Dead End
Uranium will only last a few decades – what then?

Nuclear power – like the wasteful consumption of finite reserves of fossil fuels – is at a dead end. This is because the uranium, which is needed to operate nuclear power stations, is a scarce resource. “Fast breeder” reactors, with which it was hoped to stretch out the reserves for some time, have proven to be a failure on technical and commercial grounds. In just a few decades the nuclear power industry’s fuel reserves will run out Since oil and natural gas reserves will be used up in the foreseeable future, as well as uranium reserves, the human race can only meet its long-term energy needs by using forms of renewable energy and increasing energy efficiency.

Shut down nuclear power plants.


Olympics Sponsor Wants Nuclear Outlaw, AECL

The folks at Native Unity share their grave concerns about the use of weapons grade uranium at the Atomic Energy of Canada Limited (AECL) facility at Chalk River, Ontario, citing a noted Canadian no nukes activist.

Gordon Edwards, of the Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility, raised serious concerns about the “Maple” reactor delays at Chalk River.

“An important aspect of the isotope-production fiasco on Algonquin territory is being ignored. AECL Atomic Energy of Canada Limited uses 95 per cent highly enriched “weapons-grade” uranium HEU to make the main isotope (Molybdenum-99). This can be made using low-enriched uranium LEU which is NOT weapons-usable material, but is more expensive. Somebody wants to make isotopes and bombs cheaply.

He continued, “It’s easier to make a very powerful bomb with weapons-grade uranium like the one dropped on Hiroshima in 1945”. The only stockpile of weapons-grade uranium in Canada is at Chalk River, less than 200 kilometers up the Ottawa River from Canada’s capital. The Canadian public and Members of Parliament are told they are for “essential and life saving” medical isotope production. However, there’s enough there to build two or more atom bombs and the stockpile is increasing.

Why is the Canadian company, MDS Nordion, that sells the isotopes, ordering more of the risky weapons grade uranium from the U.S.? Why do Canada and the U.S. allow this hazardous material to be transported over regular highways, rails and air? The U.S. warns the towns where these materials are being transported. Not in Canada !


Prime Minister Harper is considering the privatization of more of AECL.  AREVA’s interest was known 18 months ago, just after Harper took office.  And now it is apparent that a sponsor of the Olympic Games (coming  to Canada in 2010), General Electric, has also expressed its interest.

General Electric Co. might be a suitor if Canada decides to sell a stake in state-owned Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd., as Prime Minister Stephen Harper hinted this week, a company spokeswoman said.

“If and when the federal government indicates it would like to change its model for AECL, we would be interested in talking,” said Kim Warburton, a spokeswoman for GE Canada, reiterating comments in September by General Electric Chief Executive Officer Jeffrey Immelt.

Areva SA, one of the world’s biggest builders of nuclear power plants along with GE, may also be among the bidders if the government decided to sell, analysts said. Atomic Energy’s commercial reactor and nuclear services businesses alone may fetch more than C$1 billion ($1 billion), said Catharina Saponar, head of European utilities and energy equity research at Nomura International Plc in London.


Why our governments and we, the world’s citizens, allow an unethical industry to kill the planet’s ecosystems and creatures so that corporate giants can rake in more profits is completely beyond me!

Pro-Nuke Propaganda Machine & Other Radioactive Tidbits

I’ve updated my previous post in a vain attempt to keep on top of the Chalk River “crisis.”  I am happy to see it has legs and thank all those who have contributed their information to the collective pool.  I thought I’d post a bit of a round-up on what else is going on in the nukes world.

Supply and demand: who’s calling the shots?
19 December 2007This year’s World Nuclear Association market report comes at a very interesting time for nuclear power and more particularly for the world uranium market. By Steve Kidd

The new World Nuclear Association (WNA) market report, The Global Nuclear Fuel Market – Supply and Demand 2007-2030, continues the long tradition of biennial reports from WNA and its predecessor organisation, the Uranium Institute, from the time of the latter’s foundation in 1975. As such, the report very much represents the views of industry participants on the likely future of the nuclear fuel market, but without being perceived as a lobbying document on behalf of the industry.

Here’s that lobby document. But you can’t have it unless you come up with £375!  (And if anyone has it, would you please share it?)


A chorus of Nuclear Optimism

IRVINE, Calif., Dec 19, 2007 (PrimeNewswire via COMTEX) — URRE | charts | news | PowerRating — “Despite the roller coaster in the 2007 uranium spot price that saw the resource rise from $72 at the beginning of the year to a zenith of $136 and a recent sell-off leading to yesterday’s price of $90, preeminent minds in the space have glittering expectations for uranium prices,” stated SmallCap Sentinel analyst D.R. Clark. “And these optimistic forecasts aren’t coming from random voices, they’re issued by a top CEO and a respected independent research firm.”

The informational report “Uranium for the SmallCap Investor” has been made available at and will address the rise of interest in uranium related equities such as Uranium Energy Corp. (AMEX:UEC), Denison Mines Corp. (AMEX:DNN), Uranium Resources, Inc. (NASDAQ:URRE) and Uranerz Energy Corp. (AMEX:URZ).

“Earlier this month, Salman Partners’ Senior Mining Analyst Ray Goldie and Research Associate Patrick Donnelly predicted that uranium prices could reach $200/lb in the next three to five years due to a lack of new mine supply, citing Russian uranium concerns,” Clark added. “This comes on the heels of a recent interview in which Uranium One CEO Neal Froneman made a bold declaration that uranium could hit $150 in 2008 and then supported the forecast with a battery of information,” Clark noted.

$200/lb? Maybe, if all the mines get shut down!  w00t!


Areva Share Sale Threatens Reactor Builder’s Revival (Update2)
By Anne-Sylvaine Chassany

Dec. 19 (Bloomberg) — Areva SA, the world’s largest builder of nuclear reactors, is heading for a meltdown from a share sale French President Nicolas Sarkozy is considering for early 2008.

Speculation about a buyout or a merger with Alstom SA, the biggest maker of coal-fired power plants, has helped drive a 32 percent rise in nonvoting certificates of the state-owned company this year. So has an increase in the spot price of uranium, which hit $138 a pound in June.

The Areva securities represent less than 5 percent of the company’s capital and are trading at 39 times estimated earnings. Five of nine analysts who cover the company recommend selling before the shares are diluted in an expanded pool of investors. Two analysts say “hold” and two “buy.”

“Areva’s certificate is largely overpriced, disconnected from the company’s fundamental value given its current contracts and midterm prospects,” said Clemence Bounaix, who helps manage 5 billion euros ($7.2 billion) at Richelieu Finance in Paris and has sold most of its Areva certificates. “Investors are playing a very bullish scenario in a long-cycled industry.”


Does no one take note that an investment in the uranium industry is an unethical investment?

American Uranium Forms Advisory Board and Makes First Appointment

December 19, 2007 American Uranium Corporation (OTCBB: AUUM) is pleased to announce the formation of an Advisory Board to the CEO and Board of Directors of the Company and the appointment of its first member Tom Pool.

Since 1995, Mr. Pool has been Chairman of International Nuclear, Inc. in Golden, Colorado. He is respected globally as an analyst for the development of new production facilities, evaluation of strategies, and assessment of production costs. He is proficient with preliminary and detailed feasibility studies for new project development and financing. He is also experienced with valuations of uranium projects, deposits and property brokerage.


What a coup for AUC!  They’ve grabbed one of the loudest shills and pro-nuke propagandists in the world to advise them on how to  better wreak havoc on Earth and hoodwink the citizens!  Double w00t!!