Nuke plant in SK?

Saskatchewan will have a nuclear plant OVER MY DEAD BODY!!!

Sask. might be good bet for nuke plant, TransCanada CEO says

Last Updated: Monday, April 28, 2008 | 5:02 PM CT Comments14Recommend12

It might make more sense to build a nuclear power station in uranium-rich Saskatchewan than in Alberta, the head of TransCanada Corp. says.

Calgary-based pipeline giant TransCanada is a majority owner in Bruce Power, the company hoping to build twin nuclear reactors near Peace River in northern Alberta.

However, TransCanada CEO Hal Kvisle is raising questions about the cost of power transmission in a location that far north and says Saskatchewan may be a better bet.

A number of options are being explored, including “whether it should be in some other location in Alberta or, frankly, whether it should be in Saskatchewan,” Kvisle told CBC. “These are all open issues and there’s much work to be done.”

Bruce Power spokesman Steve Cannon said while he’s not surprised Kvisle has raised Saskatchewan as a possible site for a reactor, that doesn’t change Bruce’s focus on Alberta.

“He’s right. Saskatchewan is an interesting market to look at,” he said. “But at this point, to be perfectly honest, we’re committed to proceeding with our analysis on the site at Peace River and we’ll continue to see if that site holds promise for a new build.”

Saskatchewan is the world’s largest uranium producer, but doesn’t have any reactors or nuclear waste storage facilities. Previous studies have suggested the province’s power needs are too small to make a reactor viable.

Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall has said he’d like to expand Saskatchewan’s nuclear industry. Although he has stopped short of pushing for a Saskatchewan reactor, the province is studying the possibility.


Nuclear Power: Hope or Hoax?

Thanks to Jim Penna for spreading the word that Gordon Edwards’ entire January 2008 talk Nuclear Power – Hope or Hoax?, delivered at the University of Alberta (Edmonton), is now available online from Rainbow Bridge TV in 9 episodes.

And, thanks to mattt @ bastard.logic, we have learned that The Nation has an article challenging the idea that a nuclear renaissance is underway. From What Nuclear Renaissance?:

The notion that nukes make sense and are the version of green preferred by grown-ups is being conjured by a slick PR campaign. The Nuclear Energy Institute–the industry’s main trade group–has retained Hill and Knowlton to run a greenwashing campaign.

Part of their strategy involves an advocacy group with the grassroots-sounding name the Clean and Safe Energy Coalition. At the center of the effort are former EPA chief Christine Todd Whitman and former Greenpeace co-founder turned corporate shill Patrick Moore. (Moore is also a huge champion of GMO crops, which are notorious for impoverishing farmers in developing economies and using massive amounts of pesticides.) The industry also places ghostwritten op-eds under the bylines of scientists for hire.

All the major environmental groups oppose nuclear power. But the campaign is having some impact at the grassroots: the online environmental journal Grist found that 54 percent of its readers are ready to give atomic energy a second look; 59 percent of readers feel the same way. In other words, people who understand climate change are feeling downright desperate.

But even the Oz-like magic of corporate spin, public subsidies and presidential speechifying have their limits. In late December the man whose name is synonymous with sound money turned his back on nuclear power.

Warren Buffett’s MidAmerican Nuclear Energy Company scrapped plans to build a plant in Payette, Idaho, because no matter how many times its managers ran the numbers (and they spent $13 million researching it), they found that it simply made no sense from an economic standpoint.

Wise Ban U in BC; Fools Charge Ahead in SK

Wow! While Cameco denies the severity of the mess it created in Wyoming,

Wyoming raises environmental concerns about Cameco
Last Updated: Friday, April 11, 2008 | 5:26 PM CT

CBC News

The State of Wyoming is raising environmental concerns about a uranium mine run by Saskatoon-based Cameco Corp.

The Smith Ranch-Highland facility, near Douglas, Wyo., is the largest active uranium mine in the United States, producing about two million pounds last year.

But the state regulator says the mine has had about 80 spills and it wants the facility’s environmental problems fixed immediately.

and while Physicians for Global Survival call for a moratorium on uranium development

PGS recommends a permanent moratorium on uranium exploration and mining in the Ottawa River watershed, to protect this source of water for now and future generations. This is a view shared by the Ottawa City Council. In fact, Dr. David Salisbury, Ottawa’s Chief Health Officer, said “mining in Sharbot Lake could pose a health hazard to Ottawa” (February 7, 2008) The College of Family Physicians of Ontario, numerous NGO and citizens groups, including fifteen municipalities in the area, urge for a moratorium on uranium mining. This has recently been done in the Grand Canyon water shed by the Colorado Medical Association who called for a state wide moratorium of uranium mining, to protect their aquifers. The Canadian government should do the same and protect the health of millions living in the region.

SK Premier Wall, through his Minister of Crown Corporations, shows his government to be a fool for uranium,

Nuclear among options
Gov’t mulls methods to address power needs
James Wood, The StarPhoenix
Published: Wednesday, April 23, 2008

REGINA — The possibilities for nuclear power in Saskatchewan are growing along with the demand for electricity, Crown Corporations Minister Ken Cheveldayoff said Tuesday.

Speaking to reporters at the legislature, Cheveldayoff restated the government is studying the prospect of nuclear development and no decisions had been made.

But he said he personally believes the chances of a nuclear reactor in Saskatchewan have been “enhanced.”

the government of British Columbia bans uranium exploration

Canadian province bans uranium exploration

Thu Apr 24, 9:32 PM ET

VANCOUVER, British Columbia (Reuters) – British Columbia shut the door on exploring for radioactive minerals on Thursday, saying companies cannot claim rights to them even if the discovery is by accident.

The western Canadian province does not have uranium mines, but several companies have been doing exploration work and the mineral can be found when looking for other resources. The country’s only active uranium mines are in the Prairie province of Saskatchewan.

and bans all uranium projects!

B.C. shuts door on uranium projects


April 25, 2008

VANCOUVER — British Columbia has slapped an official moratorium on uranium exploration and development in the province, reinforcing a long-standing informal ban on the nuclear fuel and dashing the hopes of companies that hoped to take advantage of soaring prices for the commodity.

The ban, announced yesterday, makes B.C. a no-go zone for uranium and confirms a moratorium put in place in 1980 by a previous government responding to anti-nuclear sentiment in the province.

That moratorium lapsed in 1987 but subsequent governments did not move to update it, as companies focused their exploration campaigns on other metals and because there was a widespread view that uranium production would be unpopular in the province.

That changed in recent years, as uranium prices more than doubled and climate change concerns put emissions-free, uranium-fed nuclear power plants in the spotlight.

This is for real!


For Immediate Release


April 24, 2008

Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources


VICTORIA – The Province will not support the exploration and development of uranium in British Columbia and is establishing a “no registration reserve” under the Mineral Tenure Act for uranium and thorium, Minister of State for Mining Kevin Krueger announced today.

“By confirming our position on these radioactive minerals, we are providing certainty and clarity to the mining industry,” said Krueger. “B.C. is an attractive place for mining exploration and investment, and we are committed to fostering a healthy, productive industry.”

The “no registration reserve” will ensure any future claims do not include the rights to uranium. Government will also ensure that all uranium deposits will remain undeveloped. These changes support the BC Energy Plan commitment of no nuclear power.

Uranium is present in many areas of the province and can be encountered while exploring for other mineral resources. Therefore, the Province will also amend the Health, Safety and Reclamation Code concerning exploration for minerals where uranium or thorium are incidentally encountered. The amendments are designed to enhance the protection of workers and the public during exploration-related activities. The amendments also ensure that B.C.’s standards for exploration are consistent with national standards and guidelines.

Today, there is no uranium mining in the province. Development and mining of uranium in Canada is regulated by the federal government through the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission. The only uranium mines operating in Canada are in Saskatchewan.


Thanks to Jim Penna and Google Alerts for keeping my inbox full of this stuff!

The Canadian Nixon

From The Guardian’s, Comment is free, The Canadian Nixon by Dimitry Anastakis and Jeet Heer:

The historian Garry Wills once observed that Richard Nixon wanted to be president not to govern the nation but to undermine the government. The Nixon presidency was one long counterinsurgency campaign against key American institutions like the courts, the FBI, the state department and the CIA. Harper has the same basic approach to politics: attack not just political foes but the very institutions that make governing possible. The state for Nixon and Harper exists not as an instrument of policy making but as an alien force to be subdued.

Canadians have never had a prime minister who has literally made his career attacking and undermining the legitimacy of Canadian institutions.

Until now.

Gosh, golly, jeewhizz, *I* haven’t heard Steve say, “I am not a crook.”  Have you?  8)

Confirmed: The SPP is a plan by and for the corporate masters

See short update, below.

Thanks for passing this nugget along, Larry! Not only is it a non-democratic document created in secrecy but it is now confirmed to be created and implemented for business, which we all knew, anyway. But still, it’s nice to have that validation, innit?

CLC/CTC > It’s time to move from candid admission to a people’s agenda

April 23, 2008

All cosmetic gloss of democracy vanished at the New Orleans Summit when the president of Mexico most candidly summarized his day by saying: “This morning, the Business Leaders gave us a specific agenda to follow . . . We are here to support them through.” [emphasis mine]

If anyone out there still had doubts about the true nature of the Security Prosperity Partnership (SPP), this honest confession sets the record straight. The Prime Minister of Canada, the President of the United States and the President of Mexico take their orders from big business. The results: the well-being of working families in our three countries and Canadian control of Canada’s petroleum resources, are on the chopping block. Harper, Bush and Calderón are business’ agents.

UPDATE: Those who need to learn a bit more about the SPP ought to take a look at Creekside, where Alison, the Goddess of Opposition to the SPP, has posted repeatedly about its failings.

The Joint Statement by the leaders is here: and the juicy piece, from which the above is taken, is here.

Women Form the Majority in Spain’s New Cabinet

Criticized as “too pink” Spain’s new cabinet is comprised of a majority of whom are women!  Let’s watch the status of women rise over the course of this government’s term.  *Sigh*  When will Canada ever get to that point?

Preserved in its entirety and for posterity, from

Politics gender shift: Large and in charge

Spain’s first majority female cabinet – including a seven-months-pregnant Defence Minister – reflects a greater European shift away from ‘criminal machismo.’ Siri Agrell reports

From Wednesday’s Globe and Mail

As the U.S. electorate continues to ask whether it is prepared for a female commander-in-chief, Spain watched its new Defence Minister inspect her troops this week, a maternity blouse doing little to obscure the fact that she is seven months pregnant.

Over the weekend, Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero named the country’s first majority female cabinet, with nine of 17 ministries headed by women.

Among his appointments was 37-year-old Defence Minister Carme Chacon, the government’s former minister for housing and a constitutional law professor who studied in Toronto and Montreal, and is expecting her first child.

Ms. Chacon has pledged to boost the number of women in Spain’s armed forces, which first allowed female members in 1988 and is part of the NATO engagement in Afghanistan.

Her high-profile position in the new government came after Mr. Zapatero’s Socialist Party won its second four-year term in a March 9 election and the Prime Minister named women’s issues as his priority, placing female ministers in charge of Science and Innovation, Development, Housing, Sport, Environment and Public Administration.

He also named a woman as Deputy Prime Minister and created a new Equality Ministry, which will be filled by the country’s youngest-ever minister, 31-year-old Bibiana Aido. The new office was created to promote opportunities for women in Spain, address violence against women and combat what Mr. Zapatero has dubbed “criminal machismo.”

A photograph taken of the Spanish leader and the women in his cabinet this week may have looked more like a Vogue shoot than a paradigm shift, but is much more than a photo op.

Last year, Spain introduced a bill requiring certain firms to employ 40 per cent women at top-ranking positions, and Mr. Zapatero has proudly referred to himself as feminist.

“I am very proud to be the Prime Minister who for the first time has made a woman Defence Minister,” Mr. Zapatero said after he was sworn in on the weekend. “Moreover, I feel very proud that there are more female ministers than male.”

Jeffrey Kopstein, a professor of European studies at the University of Toronto, said the new Spanish government is part of a larger shift within the European Union to make political representation and policy more reflective of society, especially when it comes to gender.

Last year, Finland became the first European country to appoint a majority female cabinet and, in 2002, Norway introduced a law that required state-owned and some private companies to fill their boards at least 40 per cent with women by January of this year. And last spring, the Portuguese parliament legalized abortion after a referendum on the subject.

“In the case of Norway and the Scandinavian countries in general, people aren’t all that surprised,” Dr. Kopstein said. “With Mediterranean countries, it’s more surprising because the preconception is that they are macho cultures.”

But the effort to expedite gender equality across Europe has been motivated by several factors, he said. From a purely political standpoint, Dr. Kopstein said, putting women in cabinet positions is a move that appeals to female voters.

But it is part of a larger, continent-wide reaction to the European Court of Justice, a judicial body that operates like a Supreme Court of Europe.

“One of the things they’re allowed to rule on is equal pay for equal work, and that has allowed the European Court of Justice to take a very outspoken line on all kinds of gender-relation issues,” Dr. Kopstein said. “And what they rule, you have to follow.”

In the case of Spain, the government is also trying to bring social policies in line with the country’s relatively new and prosperous democracy.

“Spain and Portugal are like the California and Oregon of Europe,” said Dr. Kopstein, referring to the Iberian Peninsula’s economic and tourism credentials. “These are countries that have developed their economies and have consolidated their democracies against long odds and now they’re kind of headed down the route of what you might call social modernization.”

NAFTA Hiway: Trouble in Texas!

Politics’n’Poetry has followed the NAFTA Highway story for a long while now. We’re happy to see that the good folks of Texas are hitting the road, so to speak, and speaking out against the international corridor that will make life hell for many!

Texans Battle TTC132

Throngs hit streets of Austin to rally against Trans-Texas Corridor

By Mark Anderson

TEXANS UNITING FOR REFORM and Freedom (TURF) marched up
Congress Avenue and held a big rally on the capitol steps in Austin April 5, short circuiting an apparent underhanded effort to suppress grassroots turnout against the proposed Trans-Texas Corridor (TTC).

This is the second straight year that ranchers and various other opponents have converged on Austin to passionately voice their opposition to the TTC, or NAFTA Superhighway, an invasive mega-tollway network that would carve out at least 584,000 acres of Texas land, forcing most landowners to sell their properties at a big loss.

With at least two main arteries (TTC-69 and TTC-35) and numerous offshoots, the overall TTC would have 4,000-plus miles of pavement in Texas alone—with its huge main sections about a quarter-mile wide, including rail and utility lines—and would fan out across the United States, forever changing the face of the nation.

The TTC actually is a transnational highway system for the contemplated North American Union, designed to meld Mexico, the U.S. and Canada together as one big, happy family.

Thanks to Vive le Canada for the lead.

More on the mess that is AECL

New language from the new folks at the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission on AECL and the Chalk River fiasco.  And, of course, platitudes assuring the public that the reactor at Chalk River is safe.

News Releases

CNSC resumes full regulatory oversight of NRU reactor


April 10, 2008

Ottawa – The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) will resume its full regulatory oversight of the Atomic Energy of Canada Limited’s (AECL) National Research Universal (NRU) reactor in Chalk River, Ontario, effective April 11, 2008.

The connections of heavy water pumps to the emergency power supply (EPS) in the NRU reactor had been exempted from regulatory control through Bill C-38, which received Royal Assent on December 12, 2007, for a period of 120 days.

“The reactor is operating safely and CNSC and AECL staff have agreed on a way forward through more effective regulatory compliance to ensure that such a situation does not reoccur,” said CNSC President Michael Binder. “Upgrades relating to the connection of the EPS to two of theNRU’s main cooling pumps are fully operational.”

On December 10, 2007, the Government of Canada issued a directive advising the Commission to take into account the health of Canadians who, for medical purposes, depend on nuclear substances produced by nuclear reactors.“The Government of Canada Directive will be part of our deliberations in all future CNSC licensing decisions”, commented Mr. Binder.

The CNSC regulates the use of nuclear energy and materials to protect health, safety, security and the environment, and to respect Canada’s international commitments on the peaceful use of nuclear energy.


Aurèle Gervais
Media and Community Relations
Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission

Chernobyl: the great cover-up

An excellent and extremely informative essay brought to my attention by mattt@bastard.logic:

Chernobyl: the great cover-up, by Alison Katz

The World Health Organisation and nuclear power
Chernobyl: the great cover-up

For 50 years dangerous concentrations of radionuclides have been accumulating in earth, air and water from weapons testing and reactor incidents. Yet serious studies of the effects of radiation on health have been obscured – not least by the World Health Organisation.

By Alison Katz

In June 2007 Gregory Hartl, World Health Organisation (WHO) spokesman for Sustainable Development and Healthy Environments, claimed that the proceedings of the international conference held in Geneva in 1995 on the health consequences of the Chernobyl disaster had been duly published (1). This was not so. And the proceedings of the Kiev conference in 2001 have never been published either. Challenged by journalists a few months later, the WHO repeated the claim, providing references to a collection of abstracts for the Kiev conference and just 12 articles (out of hundreds) submitted to the Geneva conference.

Since 26 April 2007 (the 21st anniversary of Chernobyl), a large placard has informed WHO employees each day that one million children in the area around Chernobyl are irradiated and ill. IndependentWHO, the group organising the action, accuses the WHO of a cover-up of the health consequences of the catastrophe, and of failing to assist populations in danger.

The WHO, they insist, must end the agreement made in 1959 which binds it to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) (2) and prevents it from initiating a programme or activity in the area of nuclear power without consulting the IAEA “with a view to adjusting the matter by mutual agreement” (Article 1, Point 2).

Independence from the IAEA would permit the WHO to conduct a serious, scientific evaluation of the disaster and provide appropriate health care to contaminated people. A resolution to this effect is in preparation for the World Health Assembly in May 2008 (3) and an Appeal by Health Professionals has been launched (4).

Industrial and military lobby

According to its statutes, the IAEA (a UN agency which reports to the Security Council) is mandated to “to accelerate and enlarge the contribution of atomic energy to peace, health and prosperity throughout the world”. It is in fact a lobby, industrial and military, which should have no role to play in public health policymaking or research.

Read the full article.