Terrible nuke stuff going on in northern Saskatchewan

Audio link below.  From Before it’s news:

Pact with the Nuclear Devil: Saskatchewan’s Uranium Companies Derogate First Nations Land Rights

“So here to us was an immediate gag order… How come if I’m in opposition to the mining companies that this negotiation would rob me the ability to speak out my concerns to the leadership or to my own people, my own community, and my own municipality.” Dale Smith

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Length (58:55)
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Dale Smith is a Métis resident of Pinehouse, a community in the boreal forest 500 kilometres north of Saskatoon in the Canadian province of Saskatchewan. Pinehouse is one of those Northern Saskatchewan communities targeted by the nuclear industry for its proximity to uranium deposits and to a site for the dumping of nuclear waste from Ontario.

In the fall of 2012, news of a Collaboration Agreement between the community of Pinehouse and uranium companies Cameco and Pinehouse began to surface. Community members like Smith became outraged not only by the lack of meaningful consultation, but by the terms of the agreement.

Confidentiality Clause

A summary of the Collaboration Agreement Term Sheet became available to community members at a November 13, 2012 public village meeting. The text directly implies that the village residents would effectively be subjected to a gag order:

Summary of the Collaboration Agreement Term Sheet Made Among Cameco Corporation, Areva Resources Canada Inc. and Pinehouse (“Term Sheet”)
October 12, 2012

Section G: Other Promises

Pinehouse Promises to:

(a) Generally cooperate with Cameco/Areva and generally support Cameco/Areva operations when it deals with the provincial or federal governments although Pinehouse can raise concerns to the governments about the projects.
….

(e) Not make statements or say things in public or to any government, business or agency that opposes Cameco/Areva’s mining operations.

(f) Make reasonable efforts to ensure Pinehouse members do not say or do anything that interferes with or delays Cameco/Areva’s mining, or do or say anything that is not consistent with Pinehouse’s promises under the Collaboration Agreement. [1]

Outrage from the community and negative media exposure resulted in the wording of the text being altered to omit the gag order provisions. However, in the final draft it became apparent that another signatory, Kineepik Métis Local Inc., representing Métis peoples in the town, had obtained records dealing with traditional land use mapping fishing, trapping and other resource utilization in the area. [2]

The executive, it seems, had agreed to share this information with Cameco/Areva so that compensation for lands encroached upon by the nuclear giants could be negotiated. In exchange, Pinehouse Village Trust would receive an intitial payment of $1 million with additional payments pending as new mining projects initiate operation.[3][4]

The final Collaboration Agreement between Pinehouse, Cameco and Areva was signed December 12, 2012.

In Dale Smith’s words: “They bought Pinehouse outright.”

On June 24, 2013, Larry Kowalchuk of Kowalchuk Law Office in Regina registered a statement of claim in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan’s Court of Queen’s Bench on behalf of Smith and two other litigants backed by three dozen other plaintiffs across Canada.

The suit argued the mining operations fostered by the Collaboration Agreement would have a detrimental impact on human health and the environment. The suit also named the Saskatchewan and Canadian governments as not protecting Aboriginal and Treaty rights enshrined under the Canadian Constitution, the Charter of Rights and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. [5]

The legal battle is a difficult one for Smith. Not only is he at the centre of a classic David and Goliath duel, but he finds himself pitted against friends and family within his village with few of his loved ones willing to take to the public stage alongside him.

This week’s Global Research News Hour gives space for this humble wild rice harvester and fisherman turned defender of the land to tell his story.

For more information on this story visit the Committee for Future Generations Website
or D’Arcy Hande’s latest contribution to Briarpatch magazine – “Courting collaboration: How the uranium industry bought the Village of Pinehouse, and what residents are doing to take it back

LISTEN TO THE SHOW

Length (58:55)
Click to download the audio (MP3 format)

Notes

1) http://committeeforfuturegenerations.files.wordpress.com/2012/11/collaborationagreement.pdf
2) D’Arcy Hande, Nov. 1, 2013; “Courting collaboration: How the uranium industry bought the Village of Pinehouse, and what residents are doing to take it back”, Briarpatch Magazine; http://briarpatchmagazine.com/articles/view/courting-collaboration
3) ibid
4) COLLABORATION AGREEMENT BETWEEN THE NORTHERN VILLAGE OF PINEHOUSE AND KINEEPIK METIS LOCAL INC. AND CAMECO CORPORATION
AND AREVA RESOURCES CANADA INC. Dated December 12
http://www.pinehouselake.ca/images/pdf/Collaboration%20Agreement.pdf
5) D’Arcy Hande, op cit.

Making up for lost time

Lots of stuff going on since I last posted here.  Besides the Rider’s being in the Western Semi-final today, I mean. 😉

Dr. Jim Harding, ardent no-nukes activist and author, has started a website

to provide an archive of material related to the nuclear industry, renewable energy and other issues related to sustainable development.

The great part is that he’s also doing a blog, filling us in on things such as proposed uranium mines, watershed gatherings in the north and the need for a nuclear waste ban in Saskatchewan, to name a few.

The most recent, the call for the nuke waste ban has come about again because there’s talk about trekking spent radioactive waste from Ontario and into northern Saskatchewan for permanent storage.  Besides this being yet another case of ecological racism, it’s yet another case of Chernobyl on Wheels. Tens of thousands of Europeans persistently lined the shipments’ route to express their outrage over the  issue.

What happened is that once people became educated about the issue, they became outraged.  And in searching for a way to express it, they organized themselves.  It’s what Saskatchewan residents did when the Wall government tried to shove the Uranium Development Partnership upon us.  A result of that was citizens coming together to form The Coalition for a Clean Green Saskatchewan, a province-wide combination of citizens and organizations working together for, as the name says, a clean and green future for our province.

After a lull, the group is preparing to take on the next challenge to the goal of a green future, the transport and storage of nuclear waste.  Various documents are moving about, being shared across the province, the continent and around the world as the industry moves forward in its greed.

The most recent document to cross my desk is one by the Assembly of First Nations.   The Nuclear Fuel Waste Dialogue: Recommendations to the Nuclear Waste Management Organization was prepared following consultations and discussions with First Nations communities.  I’m certain it will prove to be a very useful document for it’s something to which governments, citizens and First Nations communities can point and refer in their discernment and educational processes regarding the storage of nuclear waste on their lands.

So, lots going on.  Lots to do.  More later.

Words of Caution to SK Taxpayers

Again, a little something from the Inbox for you, dear Reader.  What I can’t figure out is why the Canadian Tax Payers Federation isn’t in a big huff about all this!

Tax-payers are already paying, or will pay for:
– the research and other costs of developing the tar sands (roads,
infrastructure, etc.)
– the water reservoirs (dams) needed for the nuclear reactors (billions of dollars)
– most of the costs of a nuclear reactor (billions of dollars)
– all the costs of the power transmission lines (billions of dollars)
– radioactive waste disposal costs (billions of dollars for eternity) and
– we are paying for lobbyists in Washington.

Taxpayers should be aware of how much money we are, or will be, contributing to the nuclear and to the tar sands companies – – unless we take a stand. The best place to take a stand is on whether or not we want nuclear reactors here. It is not us that needs them as an energy source. If we don’t want nuclear reactors and we stop them, the huge energy source needed for tar sands development does not exist – – unless the Government is willing to use up natural gas supplies for tar sands processing. That would mean running us out of a relatively clean energy source to develop a very dirty energy source, and notwithstanding the fact that most of the infrastructure for heating our homes is for natural gas. The reactors have to have access to large volumes of water. We stopped (at least temporarily) the construction of the HighGate Dam on the North Saskatchewan River near the Battlefords. We would have paid billions of dollars for the HighGate Dam or “reservoirs” as the Government likes to call them.

The assumption of the Government is that these projects are going to proceed:

Wall Heads to Washington

Tuesday, 03 March 2009

The province will have some representation at an Energy Council in the US this week.

Premier Brad Wall will be giving a major speech at the council, which goes from tomorrow until Saturday. Wall plans to talk about carbon capture and clean investments in the province, as well as nuclear opportunities.

March 8, 2009 FINANCIAL POST

http://www.canada.com/Sask+premier+pushes+clean+energy+technology/1366452/story.html

… Wall spent part of his trip to Washington scouting D.C. lobby firms, with the intention of hiring one to protect the province’s interests on Capitol Hill.

“We hope to get a firm that’s not just got some ability to open some political doors. We need to continue to open financial doors and attract capital to the province,” he said.

“They would be boots on the ground in the Capitol.”

During meetings with several prominent U.S. lawmakers – including senators Joe Lieberman and Lindsey Graham – Wall also discussed Saskatchewan’s interest in developing small nuclear reactor technology as a way to replace the burning of natural gas in the production of oilsands oil.

“There are challenges and risk to these technologies, but we will cause ourselves innumerable more problems if our default position is to do nothing,” Wall said.

Of course, certain risks come with having a higher profile in Washington – especially regarding energy and the environment.

Alberta had early success promoting itself as a safe and secure source of foreign oil, but is now struggling to combat anti-oilsands sentiment among U.S. lawmakers under pressure from the environmental lobby.”

Nuking it up in SK

Well, well, well, aren’t we just the hub of nuke activity here in the gap!  Bruce Power‘s all set to give us a nuker.

Bruce Power, the private operator of nuclear plants in Ontario, is on track to complete its feasibility study on nuclear power in Saskatchewan by the end of this year, Hawthorne said. The company announced it would embark on the study in June.

“We will make those findings open and transparent to the public”

Areva’s meeting with folks in Saskatoon.

AREVA Public Information Meeting

Nov. 27th, 7:30 pm, Hilton Garden InnThere will be a public information meeting hosted by AREVA Resources Canada Inc. (the nuclear industry) in the Estevan Room at the Hilton Garden Inn.

At 7:30 pm, there will be a presentation on AREVA’s present and upcoming activities, followed by the opportunity to ask questions and talk about their projects. There will also be information displays where people can discuss issues one on one.

And little Braddy Wall-mart has set up a nukers’ play group.

Like the Regulatory Modernization Council, the Uranium Development Partnership is the result of political interference. Dragging its credibility down even further is the fact that at least 9 of its 12 members appear to be pro-development:

Nothing but fun, fun, fun in this nuclear winter playground!

cameco-dig-your-own-grave

Warped Priorities in SK

So, get a load of this can of shite!

Premier Brad Wall has pulled $7 million in funding for an excellent, community-based project, Station20 West, a project that has the support of the City of Saskatoon, the University of Saskatchewan, the United Way and numerous other community groups and citizens.

But isn’t it interesting that Premier Brad Wall found something like $6 million for Enterprise Saskatchewan, one of his pet projects, which is the privatization of economic decision-making in SK.  FYI, the SK budget estimates are here.

Nukes too costly

From the inbox, something Premier Brad Wall might want to think about as he and his minions consider Saskatchewan’s nuclear future. The only way the nuke industry makes money is through government subsidies, i.e. taxpayers’ money. Is this where we want our taxes spent, on an industry that is not economically sustainable?

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Michael Mariotte
January 28, 2008
301-270-6477

NIRS STATEMENT ON CANCELLATION OF IDAHO NUCLEAR REACTOR

Today, MidAmerican Nuclear Energy Company announced that it is cancelling
its plans to build a new nuclear reactor in Payette County, Idaho.

The company cited the poor economics of nuclear power for its decision,
saying that its “due diligence process has led to the conclusion that it
does not make economic sense to pursue the project at this time.”

MidAmerican was planning on Warren Buffett’s Berkshire/Hathaway company to
provide major financing for the project. Buffett is a major owner of
MidAmerican.

Which leads NIRS to the obvious conclusion: if Warren Buffett cannot figure
out how to make money from a new nuclear reactor, who can?

“This cancellation is the first of the new nuclear era,” said Michael
Mariotte, executive director of Nuclear Information and Resource Service,
“but it won’t be the last. Even before any new nuclear construction has
begun in the U.S., cost estimates have skyrocketed and are now 300-400%
higher than the industry was saying just two or three years ago.”

“The extraordinary costs of nuclear power, coupled with its irresolvable
safety and radioactive waste problems, killed the first generation of
reactors, and are going to end this second generation as well. But it would
be tragedy if the U.S. wasted any money on new reactors, when resources are
so desperately needed to implement the safer, cheaper, faster, and
sustainable energy sources needed to address the climate crisis,” Mariotte
added.

–30–

Thanks, Sandra.

New government considers options for Saskatchewan‘s nuclear future

Reading the biz pages to find the news on nukes really works.

New government considers options for Saskatchewan‘s nuclear future Sask-Nuclear-Future

[A] newly elected provincial government [is] intent on moving the industry forward. The right-leaning Saskatchewan Party is not as fettered by internal conflict over the issue as its left-leaning NDP predecessor, and everything short of the nuclear waste storage idea appears to be back on the table.

“Who knows what opportunities lie ahead in this area for the province?‘‘ Premier Brad Wall said recently. “I believe we can lead in this area, certainly in research and development.‘‘

Saskatchewan first looked at developing the uranium industry in the 1940s and 󈦒s under then premier Tommy Douglas as a means of diversifying its agricultural economy. In the 1970s the mining industry expanded rapidly thanks to several big finds in the north.

The province enjoyed a comfortable relationship with the industry until people began to question where the uranium was ending up, said Bill Waiser, a historian at the University of Saskatchewan.

“They were beginning to question the morality of it,‘‘ Waiser says. “There are ecological concerns about it and `Are we facilitating the arms race unintentionally?‘‘‘

With a new government in power and a premier who talks about nuclear opportunities every chance he gets, people on both sides of the debate are watching the situation closely.

While the previous NDP government had expressed interest in refining uranium in the province, Steve McLellan, CEO of the Saskatchewan Chamber of Commerce, figures the business-friendly Saskatchewan Party will take a “hard look‘‘ at attracting a company to do it.

“We, particularly, are quite optimistic,‘‘ McLellan says. “Anything that adds value to things that are mined here is great for business.‘‘

Some, like former NDP deputy premier Dwain Lingenfelter, say Saskatchewan‘s wide open spaces make it ideal for every step of the cycle, including power generation and waste storage. While conventional reactors are widely seen as producing too much power for the province‘s needs, Lingenfelter argues Saskatchewan could become a power hub and supply energy to the rest of Canada and the United States.

“The first thing that has to happen is the government in the province has to say to the world that they‘re interested, which hasn‘t happened to this point,‘‘ says Lingenfelter, who is now an utive with the Calgary-based oil company Nexen.

“I think it takes more than governments saying, `Yeah, we are sort of in favour of it, but we will see how it goes.‘‘‘

Wall has expressed interest in research being done around small-scale nuclear reactors that would produce power at a level more suitable to the province‘s needs. He‘s also talked about the idea of developing a research reactor such as the one in Chalk River, Ont., which produces medical isotopes.

Ann Coxworth, with the Saskatchewan Environmental Society, acknowledges that the current political situation in the province does not favour the anti-nuclear movement.

Updated: Wall deflecting for Harper?

Brad Wall, the Premier of Saskatchewan, steps into the uranium issue at an interesting time.  He’s off to the First Minister’s meeting, having completely changed his tune on equalization.

The media and national politicians have their eyes directed towards the Harper government’s most recent attack on the President of the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC), Linda Keen. The attacks, both in the House in December and in the correspondence made available to the media, are unfounded. They are personal and partisan and based on an issue which the Harperites continue to convolute and obfuscate. Keen’s letter to Lunn notes that a special meeting with Lunn took place after a conference call and Minister Lunn stormed out partway through. The formal directive on which Mr. Lunn bases his attack, was received by the CNSC after the issue appeared on the Order Paper in the House. How could Keen have possibly acted earlier, especially when there are laws dictating how she must act? Isn’t it obvious, then, that the attack on Ms Keen comes because she refused to bend the law and succumb to the will of the Harperites? Oh, and did I remember to mention that the meeting was about the MDS-Nordion million-dollar medical isotopes issue?

Today, the federal Liberals call for Lunn’s head on a platter and question the release of a report on AECL which was delivered to the government in September 2007. And, also today, the new premier of SK pulls a Ralph (as in Klein) and demonstrates how little he knows about the nuclear fuel cycle. From CBC Sask:

Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall wants the province to get some environmental credit for the uranium it mines, but an environmental group is highly skeptical.

Wall argued Tuesday that nuclear power offsets the amount of fossil fuels burned in the world.

Say what?

Most people who have thoroughly researched the nuclear fuel cycle will have to acknowledge that huge amounts of GHGs are emitted at every stage of that cycle, from cradle to grave — and there is no grave for radioactive waste! It often moves from storage facility to storage facility.

I can’t help but wonder if Mr. Wall is able to pay his staff so very well because of kickbacks from the pro-nuke lobby? Granted, Mr. Wall’s staff are new to this government thing and will, of course, support Mr. Wall’s partisan agenda. And memories of the Devine regime remind SK-dwellers that, in the right wing world, partisan politics and the lining of one’s own pockets trumps morals any day. I wish I could pull from my memory each and every one of the issues on which Devine and Mulroney colluded and obfuscated. Are we seeing history repeat itself?

Mr. Wall would be well advised to acknowledge that the supply of uranium is limited to only a few short boom years. We need to look ahead, beyond short-term gain, to the future of our children’s children. So, instead of wasting time and energy on a backwards and dying industry, why not invest in something modern like a solar power plant to produce energy? The USA and Spain are already there. We could be in on the leading edge, especially with our sunny days!

These plants focus sunlight onto pipes which carry a ”hot oil,” Therminol 66. One class of solar collectors raises the temperature of the oil to 345 degrees Celsius (650 Fahrenheit). A large thermal reservoir can store a large amount of solar energy, enough for two weeks. The oil is never burned, however; it is continually recirculated though the pipes and the storage containers. The heat drives steam generators and turbines in order to generate electricity. Variations can be used with fibre optics to light buildings and heat water. Though it wasn’t the case a decade ago, there is now a lot of expertise and experience on solar power plants, enough to safely and economically put the hoped-for nuclear renaissance to its grave, once and for all. Solar is an industry waiting to grow!

Wake up and turn on the lights, Mr. Wall, this is the 21st century, after all.

UPDATE: (with thanks to ReWind.It at Bread’n’Roses.) The CBC reports that the recent isotope crisis has moved the US government to explore alternatives to obtaining medical isotopes from Canada:

The National Academy of Science, a group of scientists based in Washington that advises Congress on a number of issues, has been asked to consider four questions — all relating to the supply of medical isotopes, and whether the U.S. should consider producing its own.

DOTmed.com reports that it goes a little deeper than just Chalk River:

At the request of NIH Director Elias Zerhouni, the National Academies have begun a year-long review of the state-of-the-science in nuclear medicine. This study results from the uncertainty about future federal funding for nuclear medicine research that accompanied the drastic reduction in support for the Medical Applications and Measurement Sciences (MAMS) program that had been supported by the Department of Energy for decades. The MAMS program was virtually eliminated in the Administration’s 2006 budget and was again not included in the 2007 proposal.

Experts at the US National Academy of Sciences (NAS) have been asked to provide findings and make recommendations around four issues having to do with nuclear medicine:

* future needs for radiopharmaceutical development for the diagnosis and treatment of human disease,
* future needs for computational and instrument development for more precise localization of radiotracers in normal and aberrant cell physiologies,
* national impediments to the efficient entry of promising new radiopharmaceutical compounds into clinical feasibility studies and strategies to overcome them and
* impacts of shortages of isotopes and highly trained radiochemists on nuclear medicine research, and short- and long-term strategies to alleviate these shortages if they exist.

No wonder the Harperites are all worked up! Their buddies might end up going elsewhere for medical isotopes.

UPDATE 2: Jason Kenney’s been shooting off his mouth, thinking  he knows something.  There was no crisis, Jason!  But I guess this tells us something about the sorry state the Harper government is in on the issue.  POGGE has the stuff.

I missed that the Auditor General’s report on AECL had been released.  (Damned real world! Or was it the Obama /Clinton thing?)  According to this report, Minister Lunn may well have known  months agothat the reactor at Chalk River was experiencing difficulties.

Natural Resources Minister Gary Lunn may have known in September that the Chalk River reactor needed improvements to protect public safety, months before it was shut down, according to an auditor general report released Tuesday.

Auditor general Sheila Fraser said she presented a report on Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd. (AECL) to the corporation’s board on Sept. 5, 2007.

The cover page of the audit says: “We would like to draw your attention to a significant deficiency related to the unresolved strategic challenges that the Corporation faces … it is our view that this report contains information that should be brought to the attention of the Minister of Natural Resources. Accordingly, following consultation with the Board, we will be forwarding a copy of the report to the Minister.”

The report goes on to highlight “three strategic challenges” AECL faced, including “the replacement of aging facilities at Chalk River Laboratories (CRL).”

Never a dull moment in the nuke world, is there?

This was the moment

I don’t watch television, but I almost wish I had caught this one live.  (What would I do without YouTube?)  I found two glorious nuggets in Barack Obama‘s victory speech after the Iowa Caucus on Thursday night.  The first:

I’ll be a President who harnesses the ingenuity of farmers and scientists and entrepreneurs to free this nation from the tyranny of oil once and for all.  And I’ll be a President who ends this war in Iraq and finally brings our troops home, who restores our moral standing, who understands that 9/11 is not a way to scare up votes but a challenge that should unite America and the world against the common threats of the 21st century — common threats of terrorism and nuclear weapons, climate change and poverty, genocide and disease.

OK, so that probably qualifies as six or eight.  Wow!  A US presidential possibility talking about the tyranny of oil, the threats of nuclear weapons, climate change and poverty?  w00t!  Not surprising this dude won!  I hope he has excellent security around him because the KKK can’t be too happy about it.

Here’s the second shining nugget:

Hope is that thing inside us that insists, despite all the evidence to the contrary, that something better awaits us if we have the courage to reach for it and to work for it and to fight for it.  Hope is what I saw…Hope is what led me here today…

After he won the SK election in November 2007, Brad Wall shouted,  Hope beats fear! Hope beats fear!  I cringed when I heard that language.  Hope doesn’t beat anything.  It’s scientifically wrong.  And, there was certainly no evidence contrary to a definitive Sask Party win before the SK election in November.

Obama understands hope.  Hope is something we can have and hold.  We can dare to choose it.  We can choose to find the courage to work towards that for which we hope.  We can use that courage to make change in our personal and public lives.  Tommy Douglas knew about that, too.  It’s evident in his epitaph, Courage my Friends, ’tis not too late to make a better world.  I think Barak and Tommy would be buds were the times different.

I don’t know if Barack Obama is the right guy to lead the Democrats to victory.  My sense is he’s a good guy, a little less radical than I would want.  But he could pull the vote from where it’s never been pulled and the USA is long overdue for a black president.  Here’s his full victory speech, if you’re interested.

 

With thanks to that bastard logician with three t’s, mattt, for the nudge.