Well, it seems the government of Ontario has at least a sniff of what’s in the wind, calling the plot to place a nuclear plant on the shores of Lake Erie, a mere “tactic aimed at forcing the government’s hand.” I guess the power giant – a consortium of Cameco Corp., TransCanada Corp., the Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System and others — is feeling emboldened, now that it has the ear of Saskatchewan’s Premier Wall-Mart. ( Look! There’s even a link to an update on the Saskatchewan 2020 Feasibility Study they’re conducting. So far, they say that the Pollara Research and Communications Company (do drop me a note if that link ever actually works) found that Saskatchewan residents favour nuclear energy! Imagine that! A nuke company finds support among the people in the place where they want to do nuke work. Surprising, isn’t it? Only to cynics, perhaps.)
P’n’P reported on the Lake Erie thing a while back, directing readers to the greatlakesnotadump website, started by progressives in Michigan. Perhaps some cross-border lobbying helped the McGuinty government see the light of day. Unfortunately, it hasn’t given McGuinty and his buds clear vision as of yet because they still plan to do more promotion of the nuke industry. They must think they have money to blow or something, because we all know that the nuke industry cannot survive without huge subsidies from governments. Maybe it’s something like a cocaine or heroin addiction in that once you start, you just can’t quit, no matter the cost, human or otherwise.
Otherwise, why carry on?
Smitherman rejects Nanticoke nuke planSays Bruce Power idea `designed to influence government policy’Nov 01, 2008 04:30 AM
Ontario’s energy and infrastructure minister poured cold water yesterday on the idea of building a nuclear plant in Nanticoke, along the shoreline of Lake Erie, calling a plan announced by Bruce Power a tactic aimed at forcing the government’s hand.
“I want to make very clear that this is an unsolicited action on the part of a private interest. We didn’t solicit it, we don’t endorse it, tacitly or otherwise,” George Smitherman said in an interview.
“It’s designed to influence government policy.”
Privately owned Bruce Power, which already operates six Candu reactors at nuclear facilities near Kincardine, confirmed yesterday a story first reported in the Toronto Star that it wants to build a new plant near the existing Nanticoke coal-fired generating station in the Haldimand-Norfolk region.
The plant would consist of two nuclear reactors capable of generating between 2,000 and 3,000 megawatts of electricity. The company said it filed an application yesterday for a site preparation licence from the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission and will move forward with an environmental assessment that’s likely to take three years.
“Bruce Power will use the (environmental assessment) as a planning tool to weight the merits of building a clean energy hub on approximately 800 hectares within the Haldimand Industrial Park,” the Tiverton-based company said.
It has negotiated an option for the land from owner U.S. Steel Canada Inc., formerly Stelco Inc. “Although this is a major step forward, we will not make a decision to proceed with a project until we have consulted thoroughly with the people of Haldimand-Norfolk and have significantly progressed the EA,” said Bruce Power president and chief executive Duncan Hawthorne.
The company, citing research out of Trent University, said a nuclear plant in the region would create 1,000 new jobs and contribute $550 million a year to the local economies during construction.
The plan has support from the mayors of Haldimand and Norfolk and both communities’ town council. Local MP Diane Finley, federal minister of human resources and skills development, backs the plant, along with the Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters and Canadian Nuclear Workers Council.
The McGuinty government has consistently said it will build a new nuclear plant only in communities that already have one. Earlier this year it chose Ontario Power Generation’s Darlington site as the new plant location. A process is underway to select a reactor technology.
But proponents say Haldimand county would be an ideal location for a second plant because of its willing community and access to high-voltage transmission lines after the massive Nanticoke coal plant, which employs about 600 workers, is shut down in 2014.
Smitherman, however, said Ontario already has its hands full with projects under way.
“I remain singularly unconvinced that there is the capacity to build new nuclear at Nanticoke while we still have very ambitious plans for a new build at Darlington and tons of refurbishment work (at older nuclear facilities),” he said. “We couldn’t do it if we wanted to.”
Bruce Power is a joint venture of Saskatoon-based uranium giant Cameco Corp., TransCanada Corp. of Calgary, the Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System and other partners.
It just keeps getting more and more interesting, how these pronukers and oil barons collude and collaborate. I found the following buried in a Globe and Mail article:
Bruce Power Corp. announced that it has agreed to purchase assets of Energy Alberta Corp., a small company that has proposed building a reactor in Alberta to supply electricity and, possibly, hydrogen.
Bruce Power said it would forge ahead with plans to build a Candu reactor near Peace River, Alberta, with the launch of a full environmental assessment.
Isn’t it just so convenient that the Energy Alberta Corporation (EAC) is being consumed by the Bruce Power Corporation (BPC)? EAC is the little unknown Alberta company that introduced itself in 2005 with a mission to “to provide clean, emission-free energy, utilizing advanced and proven nuclear technology to supply oil sands operators and the province of Alberta with a reliable flow of electricity at a competitive cost.” [Note: EAC’s corporate mission statement has been revised since P’n’P first reported on this issue.] EAC teamed up with the federal crown corporation, Atomic Energy of Canada Corporation, in its bid to build a new-fangled and untested CANDU nuclear reactor in northern Alberta.
BPC bills itself as “Canada’s first private nuclear generating company.” Basically, it’s an all-male consortium with representatives from the uranium giant, Cameco, which purchased “nearly a third of Bruce Power LP” in 2003 according to Friends of Bruce. Also represented on the Bruce Power board is TransCanada Power Corporation, a pipelines and energy business which includes gas transmission, power generation, gas storage and their plans for the Keystone Pipeline which is proposed to run from the Alberta Tar Sands and south into the USA. The Communications, Energy, Paperworkers (CEP) Union of Canada, an affiliate of International Federation of Chemical, Energy, Mine and General Workers’ Unions, has called on the feds to refer the matter to the Standing Committee on Natural Resources for broader discussion and on Canadians to take actions to stop this proposed pipeline.
“There is no way this pipeline benefits Canada in any way,” says CEP President Dave Coles. “It’s all about boosting the bottom line of multinational oil companies.”
“This ruling is not in the public interest economically, socially or environmentally. CEP studies submitted to the NEB — that show the loss of 18,000 potential new jobs — have been ignored. Environmental concerns have been similarly ignored as has the issue of Canada compromising the energy needs of its own citizens to feed U.S. markets.”
“Clearly, this is the wrong decision for Canada, and it brings into question the role of the Board and the need for a domestic energy policy to protect Canadian interests. This discussion belongs in the political arena, and the federal government should take the necessary steps to make that happen.”
Interestingly, there is now a vacancy at the National Energy Board.
The tar sands giga-project is the single largest industrial project ever undertaken in the history of humanity, according to Oil Sands Truth. The community-based organization is working to shut down the tar sands project as part of Canada’s plan to tackle climate change and stop environmental devastation. Apparently, the MSM forgot to send a reporter to their end of November conference, Everyone’s Downstream, which brought together representatives from First Nations communities, environmental organizations, northern communities and migrant workers’ rights groups as well as the general public.
The proponents of the plan to nuclearize northern Alberta have been working tirelessly. Wayne Henuset of EAB was in Saskatoon in October, speaking at a Saskatoon Chamber of Commerce luncheon about Nuclear Power in the Oil Sands. All the players are moving ahead as though this project will not be stopped. We can be sure that Saskatchewan’s new premier, Brad Wall, will be eager to help his friends in the energy industry by supplying them with all they need.
To those who love this planet, it is essentional that we come together and stop this project. Greenpeace has named the threats of this project and they are huge:
I believe the capacity of the human spirit to overcome problems is greater than the threats we face. All we need to is to live into our intention to love this planet. Take action now!
From the inbox, an essay by Dr. Jim Harding:
NUCLEAR SMOKE AND MIRRORS FROM ALBERTA TO AUSTRALIA:
The AECL’s Advanced Candu and Bush’s Global Nuclear Partnership
By Jim Harding*
A few weeks before Stephen Harper went to the APEC meeting in Australia, ready to discuss George Bush’s Global Nuclear Energy Partnership (GNEP), the Energy Alberta Corporation (EAC) in consort with AECL announced its plan to build two Advanced Candu Reactors (ACRs) near Peace River, Alberta. Harper, EAC’s Wayne Henuset and AECL’s mandarins won’t want the public to connect the dots too quickly. Harper’s minority government might not weather a heated controversy over Canada importing nuclear wastes while having a huge unsolved nuclear waste problem of its own. That controversy erupted in the Australian election campaign after the Howard government indicated it would consider buying into Bush’s plan to have supplier countries take back and reprocess spent fuel.
The Seaborn Panel, the 9-year federal review of Canada’s nuclear wastes, never investigated Canada importing nuclear wastes, and reprocessing these wasn’t even on its radar screen. Rather, it concluded that deep geologic disposal of irradiated nuclear fuel is not acceptable to the Canadian public and recommended that the management of irradiated fuel be addressed by a body at arms length from the both the nuclear industry and government. Instead, the Chretien government mandated the industry-owned agency, the Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO), to deal with the issue. Under the NWMO’s announced plan, irradiated fuel is to be stored at existing reactor sites for at least a generation, i.e. 30 years, before being moved to a centralized location and possibly being reprocessed before the high-level radioactive residues are buried in a deep geologic repository. Such reprocessing would create a highly radioactive corrosive liquid even more dangerous than the solid spent fuel rods, and the extracted plutonium will remain extraordinarily toxic for over 800 generations.
The large nuclear reactors (ACR-1000) that EAC wants to build in Alberta are justified as an environmentally-friendly alternative to the natural gas that is currently used to heat the tar sands. The fact that the tar sands are the dirtiest of all fossil fuels discredits the nuclear industry’s PR about being the clean, magic bullet for averting global warming. That’s bad enough. If it became widely known there was a hidden agenda about an international nuclear waste dump in Canada, then all the hype about clean nuclear energy providing economic development might begin to fall on deaf ears. Besides, the ACR-1000 reactor is only a design on paper and hasn’t been reality tested. Without the $200 million granted to AECL from the Harper government for design work, adding to the $17 billion dollars of subsidies since 1952, there’d be no chance at all of this project ever seeing the light of day. (Such large handouts of federal taxpayer’s money could become a contentious issue, given Alberta’s populist ideology of self-reliance.) Serious design flaws have already been noted by the 2004 Safety Assessment done for the U.S.’s Nuclear Reactor Regulation (NRR); most notably the risk of a Loss of Coolant Accident (LOCA) and core meltdown after a power surge resulting from a large or multiple pipe breakage.
AECL’s 180 degree About-Turn
The original Candu designers prided themselves on using heavy water (the “d” in Candu) as a moderator and coolant, so that natural uranium (the “u” in Candu) can be used as fuel. No enrichment of uranium is required. But the new ACRs will use light water as a coolant, and for that reason they will require slightly-enriched uranium (SEU) as a fuel. Why the flip-flop?
The basic motivation is to reduce costs, but there is a darker side to what AECL calls the ACR’s “fuel adaptability”. AECL’s Technical Summary for the ARC-1000 says it is “ideally suited to burn other fuels such as mixed oxides (MOX) and thorium.” MOX is a code word for a blend of uranium and plutonium. But “other fuels” can also be used and these include irradiated fuel elements from Light Water Reactors (LWR) such as used in the U.S., France, Japan and elsewhere. According to Gordon Edwards of the Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility, the ARC-1000 would be able “to make use of the “DUPIC” process, whereby spent LWR nuclear fuel is repackaged and used to fuel a Candu reactor.” The reason for this, he says, is that “the amount of fissile material (U-235 plus plutonium) in spent LWR fuel is more than enough to match” the requirements for SEU.
AECL is trying to put a responsible spin on this. It’s scientistic handlers used to assert that due to international safeguards there was no chance of uranium exported for nuclear power being diverted for weapons. Now they’ve created a new argument to market their “peaceful atom.” An AECL paper by nuclear engineer Jeremy Whitlock argues that the new Candu design will provide “unique synergism with LWR technology”, that it “can be used to disposition ex-weapons plutonium”, and, furthermore, that all this will be a “positive contribution to world peace.” The U.S.-based Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) disagrees, saying in its January 2006 statement on Bush’s GNEP, that “all reprocessing technologies are more proliferation-prone than direct disposal” of nuclear wastes.
AECL’s Unparalleled History of Botched Designs
The only advantage of the new Candu would be to the fledgling AECL. But don’t hold your breath waiting for the ARC-1000 to be up and running, for the list of botched AECL designs is lengthy. There was the Organic Cooled Reactor in Manitoba, which was an expensive dead end. There was the Candu Boiling Light Water Reactor in Quebec, which (without even including design costs) was a $126 million disaster. Then there was the Slowpoke Energy System, for which design work cost $45 million, which didn’t work properly. Next came the Candu-3, for which design work cost $75 million, which no one wanted. And the Candu-9, with design costs still secret, which was a no-go in South Korea. More recently AECL built the Maple Reactor at Chalk River, which threatens to become another technological and financial fiasco since the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) is refusing to even license it for operation.
The Candu industry has been a sinkhole for the Canadian taxpayer. Each Candu reactor built so far has required refurbishing costs equal to the original construction costs after only half of its projected operating life. And after 50 years in business, AECL has only sold 12 reactors abroad. In 1996, to try to justify its huge taxpayer subsidies, it set a goal of 10 sales by 2006. But only 3 sales occurred, including the Romanian Cernavada plant from a 1980 deal, which required another $328 million Canadian guarantee; and two plants at Qunshin in China that received $1.5 billion in Canadian Account financing. During this decade AECL lost sales to Turkey, Australia and South Korea. With this dismal record, AECL has done a design flip-flop, turning its back on natural uranium fuel to try to cash in on the worldwide nuclear waste crisis. But we must be on guard. While AECL is opportunistically promoting ACR’s which can use irradiated nuclear fuel from other countries, after 60 years they still haven’t cleaned up their radioactive mess at the Manitoba Whiteshell Lab, and their plan for cleaning up their contaminated Chalk River Lab, costing millions more for the taxpayer, remains obscure.
Enter George Bush and his GNEP
Beholding to huge federal subsidies, AECL is also beholding to U.S. President George Bush with his $405 million brainchild, the GNEP. The only thing “global” about this plan is the U.S. pretence to world hegemony, which seems delusional after the Iraq debacle. And the only partners to this proposed “global” plan would be countries already in the nuclear weapons club, along with their uranium suppliers. The agreement would make it mandatory for uranium suppliers to take back spent fuel from reactors abroad. The bargaining chip would be allowing enrichment facilities and nuclear power plants that use spent fuel in these countries. Some chip. We’d get to throw more public money down the nuclear drain, create and store even more dangerous nuclear waste, and have less capital to create truly sustainable, renewable energy systems to avert even more catastrophic climate change.
Bush’s plan would be unworkable without the major uranium exporting countries – Canada and Australia – involved. Luckily for Bush, both countries are governed by neo-conservative parties that also oppose Kyoto. Bush is presenting the GNEP as a means to control nuclear proliferation, while making nuclear power available globally, by not allowing enrichment facilities, or spent fuel to remain, that could be used to produce weapons. (This finally admits that the Non-Proliferation Treaty is not an effective guarantee against proliferation from nuclear power plants.) The converse of this is that GNEP members would preserve a near monopoly on nuclear technology and weapons. No wonder, in the context of discussing billions living in inhuman conditions, climate change and the potential for nuclear holocaust, the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Dr. ElBaradei, in a Sept 03/07 interview with Der Spiegel, said “we are moving rapidly towards an abyss”. With a real sense of urgency, he said that, “in order to seem credible to the nuclear wannabe states we must demand steps towards nuclear disarmament from those who have nuclear weapons – an obligation that is stipulated in the non-proliferation treaty but is not complied with.” He goes on to deplore what he calls “this two-faced approach” since “If practically all nuclear powers are modernizing instead of reducing their arsenals, how can we argue with the non-nuclear states?”
More pragmatically, the GNEP would provide “a way out” for the nuclear powers, none of which has any fundamental solution to their own mounting nuclear waste problem. As the world’s major supplier of uranium, Canada, under the GNEP, could be required to take nuclear wastes back from the largest users of nuclear power – the U.S., France and Japan. The elements therefore exist for a dangerous nuclear expansion strategy in Canada. First, a Candu redesign requiring some uranium enrichment that can be used as a justification for importing nuclear wastes to reprocess as fuel, and then the tar sands as a justification for building this new generation of nuclear plants. And, finally, lest we forget, we have the huge Saskatchewan uranium industry supplying the raw material to the nuclear powers, which, under the GNEP, would require that nuclear wastes be brought back to Canada.
Nuclear and Kyoto: The Big Disconnect
The first I heard of Canada “repatriating” spent fuel was when AECL and Saskatchewan’s uranium multinational, Cameco, advocated this in the early 1990s. At the time they were both working towards an integrated uranium-nuclear industry. Now Cameco operates the Bruce Candu plants and a uranium refinery in Ontario, and, with a sympathetic Prime Minister from Alberta, AECL is trying to base itself in its north. It seems the AECL and Cameco were flying this trial balloon of us taking back nuclear wastes long before George Bush or Stephen Harper were elected. Could the tail be wagging the dog?
It’s no accident that the GNEP is spearheaded in countries refusing to support the Kyoto Accord. Kyoto sets targets for reducing greenhouse gases (GHGs), which mostly come from fossil fuels. However, business and government interests in oil-dependent countries (including countries like Canada, i.e. Alberta, dependent on exporting oil) don’t want anything to slow down their profit and royalty-gushing ventures. Meanwhile efficiency, geothermal, wind and solar electricity are proving to be the most cost-effective ways to quickly lower GHGs, which doesn’t sit well with the nuclear industry’s comeback strategy of stressing itself as the clean alternative to fossil fuels. Furthermore, the 2001 Climate Change Conference in Bonn rejected nuclear as a solution to climate change partly because nuclear will steal capital from the cheaper, less risky, more effective renewable alternatives. So the nuclear industry is primarily looking to the countries outside Kyoto for support. It helped when George Bush’s 2005 Energy Bill gave another $13 billion subsidies to the industry, and a privatized electrical market allowed U.S. nuclear plants to displace “stranded costs” on to the consumer. And it certainly helped AECL when the Harper government, continuing the Liberal practice of bailing out the nuclear industry, provided millions to design the ARC.
Harper’s government has tried to low-key its involvement with Bush’s GNEP, but we know from a Canadian Press Access to Information request that his government has been seriously involved in discussions about this since at least March 2006. While his aides, seemingly aware that this issue is politically explosive, tried to downplay the “secret agenda” item at the APEC forum, Natural Resources Minister Lund has been more candid. In reference to reprocessing spent fuel for new Candus, in the September 5, 2007 Globe and Mail, Lund is quoted as saying: “as the technology evolves, it’s something we’ll see”. The next day this was “corrected” and it reported that the Canadian government hadn’t yet decided on supporting such reprocessing. At the end of the APEC meeting, Harper’s Foreign Minister Bernier said that the Canadian government had just about decided about the GNEP. This is more smoke and mirrors, as Harper had already funded the ARC, which AECL promotes as being able to use reprocessed spent fuel, and his government has enthusiastically supported the ARC being built in the tar sands. All this from the man who so righteously attacked the Liberals for being unaccountable for far less consequential and less expensive matters.
Meanwhile the Canadian Nuclear Association (CNA) is forthright about its support for enriching uranium and importing nuclear wastes. CNA President Murray Elston even uses the high price of raw uranium as a reason to support nuclear waste as the fuel of future choice. He continues the practice of the CNA providing disinformation to the public, saying in the Sept. 5, 2007 Globe and Mail that, “nuclear military powers have been reprocessing and transporting nuclear waste for years, and have proven it can be done safely.” Plutonium contamination at the U.S. Rocky Flats plant, France’s nuclear conglomerate Areva contaminating the North Sea, radioactive contamination of the Irish Sea along with detectable levels of plutonium in children’s teeth emitted from England’s Windscale/Sellafield reprocessing plant, and various weapons countries losing nuclear weapons grade uranium is apparently “safe” to the CNA.
Lessons from AECL’s Saskatchewan Shenanigans
We saw a similar process as what is now happening in Alberta in my home province from 1989-91, when AECL had another private company front the proposed building of a Candu-3 in our North. (AECL also tried but failed to sell its Slowpoke 3 to the University of Saskatchewan at the time.) AECL used every manipulative trick in the book, including inflating energy growth to make us fear we’d freeze in the dark without nuclear power. (They forecast a shortfall of electricity in Saskatchewan by 2000 unless a Candu reactor was built.) They wined and dined local politicians and businessmen on trips to Ontario’s Candus, as they are now doing with Albertans. And they tried to bribe us – during a slump in the economy – with the economic opportunities of a Candu-3 export industry based in our province. And they made no mention of the huge taxpayers subsidies that made it possible for them to float such grandiose schemes.
Under Grant Devine’s Tories, who privatized the uranium crown Cameco, AECL got the public utility Sask Power on side for a while, though their figures never jibed. At one point, as many jobs were promised from constructing one Candu-3 as came in total from the massive Ontario Darlington 8-reactor complex. There was lots of nuclear hype that got favourable coverage by the well-oiled and parochial provincial media. But, as with so many other AECL projects, the Candu-3 was never built, anywhere, as Saskatchewan people and third world countries alike rejected the contrived plan. And we are doing fine in 2007, with no black outs and no nuclear plants; though the Tory-like Sask Party and its Premier-in-waiting Brad Wall seem to think we should have one even if its not needed. We have a few wind farms, and, yes, uranium exports remain the bulk of primary energy production and export. The NDP government which spearheaded uranium expansion in the 1970s publicly opposes nuclear power without wanting to admit that they have been willing and essential pawns in the nuclear expansion strategy, which we now see taking shape with Bush’s GNEP and Harper’s compliance.
Saskatchewan and Alberta people are now interlocked in this geo-political drama. We will have to be vigilant about creating a future based on sustainable, renewable energy while phasing out the uranium-nuclear industry; or see both our provinces become the dangerous playground of a nuclear industry that expands by economic bribery and political bailout.
* Jim Harding is a retired professor of environmental and justice studies and author of the just released Canada’s Deadly Secret: Saskatchewan Uranium and the Global Nuclear System (Fernwood, 2007).
I guess it’s a good thing they figured it out now before they put the waste in the ground… I think the most telling piece is the comment that the US DoE didn’t do the proper tech work beforehand…but there’s money for war…
Earthquake danger detected at planned nuclear waste site
The Associated Press
LAS VEGAS | New rock samples show preliminary evidence of an earthquake fault beneath where Yucca Mountain project planners want to handle highly radioactive waste before burial at the planned repository.
A May 21 letter and U.S. Geological Survey maps show a fault beneath where officials hope to build concrete pads to store spent radioactive fuel canisters for cooling before they are entombed in tunnels inside the mountain, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported Monday. The paper said it obtained the documents last week.
“Preliminary data from the recent drilling phase indicate the location of the Bow Ridge fault in northern Midway Valley may be farther east than projected from previous work in the area,” Kenneth Skipper, chief of the USGS Yucca Mountain project branch, said in the letter to Andrew Orrell, senior program manager for the Energy Department lead laboratory.
Bob Loux, head of the Nevada Agency for Nuclear Projects and the state’s chief anti-Yucca administrator, told the Review-Journal the finding meant that project planners might have to revamp plans or show regulators that the so-called aging pad could be fortified to withstand an earthquake.
“It certainly looks like DOE has encountered a surprise out there, and it certainly speaks to the fact they haven’t done the technical work they should have done years ago,” Loux said.
An Energy Department spokesman for the Yucca Mountain project did not immediately respond Monday to a request for comment.
Looks like the Big Boys are feeling some pressure from the masses! They’re feeling like they’re needing to gang up in order to poison us with uranium!
General Electric Co. chairman Jeffrey Immelt says his company is eager to gain an ownership stake in Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd., and warns there is little future for stand-alone vendors of nuclear reactors.
In an interview after delivering a speech to the Calgary Chamber of Commerce, Mr. Immelt said the global nuclear industry is rapidly consolidating. His own company merged its reactor business with that of Japan’s Hitachi Ltd. earlier this year.
“I believe, ultimately, the nuclear industry is going to be [reduced to] two or three big collaborative partnerships,” the GE chairman said.
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).
Harper’s Getting Old Government of Canada (GOGC) is getting good at doublespeak, most recently on the nuclear issue. On the one hand, the GOGC says that the Global Nuclear Energy Partnership (GNEP) is not on the table at the APEC meetings in Sydney, Australia this week and that Canada has not yet made a decision on joining in Bush’s radioactive partnership. On the other hand, as a Canadian Press reporter suggests, Canada will send a representative from Foreign Affairs to a GNEP meeting in Vienna in just over a week.
…Harper’s minority Conservative government clearly does not want to engage the Canadian public in any discussion about the initiative.
At a pre-APEC briefing last week, one of the prime minister’s most senior officials, flanked by his director of communications Sandra Buckler, carefully skirted a question on the GNEP.
“It doesn’t feature on the APEC agenda, per se,” said the official. “Whether the initiative has disappeared off the global agenda or the U.S. agenda, I really can’t say.”
The next day, in response to a separate and unrelated media inquiry, a spokesperson from Foreign Affairs confirmed Canada has been invited to a Sept. 16 meeting in Vienna to discuss the initiative.
“Canada has been invited to join the Global Nuclear Energy Partnership and to participate in the next meeting scheduled to take place on September 16 in Vienna,” said the official.
“Canada is reviewing the proposed GNEP Statement of Principles and a decision on Canadian participation will be made shortly.”
That carefully neutral response – which left Canadian attendance in doubt barely a fortnight before the Vienna meeting – stands in contrast to earlier draft “talking points” obtained by The Canadian Press under an Access to Information request.
Those heavily censored documents show much greater enthusiasm.
“Canada is very interested in examining potential areas for partnership in the Global Nuclear Energy Partnership (GNEP) given that we are the world’s largest uranium producer,” said one undated talking point from 2006.
The same memo continues: “Canadian officials . . . have begun discussions with their counterparts in the U.S. to consider possible parameters of Canadian involvement.”
As recently as April 7 this year, Peter Harder, the then-assistant deputy minister of Foreign Affairs, was corresponding with Robert Van Adel, the president of Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd., about the partnership plan.
As Van Adel wrote, the initiative “if implemented, would have significant technical and commercial implications for Canada, which need to be assessed.”
Internal government correspondence also indicates the nuclear initiative was on the agenda at the 2006 meeting between Harper, President Bush and then-Mexican president Vicente Fox in Mexico, and again at the 2006 G8 meeting in St. Petersburg, Russia.
Greenpeace is not amused. Nor am I, nor should any Canadian who cares about democracy and democratic process be.
145 businesses, environmental organizations, and other groups (representing 37 states) released the “Sustainable Energy Blueprint” – a policy paper that outlines a “plausible strategy for achieving a no-nuclear, low-carbon, highly-efficient and sustainable energy future.”
It provides a timeframe and series of policy recommendations for rapidly expanding the use of energy efficient and renewable energy technologies to enable a dramatic reduction in greenhouse gases while simultaneously phasing out nuclear power and ending most energy imports.
SUSTAINABLE ENERGY BLUEPRINT
A PLAUSIBLE STRATEGY FOR ACHIEVING A NO-NUCLEAR, LOW-CARBON, HIGHLY-EFFICIENT AND SUSTAINABLE ENERGY FUTURE
The following statement outlines an ambitious but doable strategy for dramatically reducing U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, phasing out nuclear power, and ending energy imports while simultaneously creating new domestic jobs and businesses, improving energy, homeland, and national security and the economy, and enhancing the environment and public health.
The three primary, longer-term objectives for the nation’s energy policy should be:
1.) reduce greenhouse gas emissions to a level consistent with a world-wide goal of global climate stabilization (assumes curbing U.S. CO2 emissions by 60-80% from current levels by mid-century);
2.) eliminate U.S. energy imports (i.e., oil and natural gas – now 58% and 15% respectively), while reducing overall use of oil and natural gas;
3.) phase out the current generation of nuclear power while substantially curbing the production and consumption of fossil fuels, by increasing the use of energy efficiency and making a transition to sustainable, environmentally safer renewable energy sources.
I suspect this will seriously upset a few of the pro-nuke fellas. Poor things!
Begin forwarded message:
Subject: [Rad-waste] Unresolved questions remain about environmental implications and costs. (nuke waste)
Nuclear energy endorsement may be linked to tar sands and climate change pressure
Unresolved questions remain about environmental implications and costs.
Ottawa, June 18, 2007 Why is the minority Conservative government proceeding on nuclear energy at a time when it is fighting to regain public support after a difficult spring?
Canada’s Natural Resources Minister Gary Lunn announced Friday the Harper government’s endorsement of nuclear power and its approval of going ahead with storing high-level radioactive waste underground.
“Really, what this will allow is a permanent storage and a deep geological depository,” Lunn said. “This is an important decision for the government of Canada. As you know, the nuclear industry is very, very important.”
For years, the lack of long-term disposal plans has hobbled the nuclear industry, which has lobbied heavily for burying waste deep. Canadians, however, have always said no when asked to have nuclear waste disposal sites in their communities. At the news conference, Lunn dismissed concerns raised by environmentalists about the risks of nuclear energy as well as economic concerns about safe storage plans.
“This is just the beginning of a long process but they (the industry) will be able to begin that process today. It will allow the fuel to be retrieved as technology moves forward and, more importantly, allow it to be monitored continuously as it’s going through the storage process.”
The announcement makes sense for three key corporate sectors: tar sands, nuclear and construction/development. With the government under pressure to do something about greenhouse gas emissions related to the growth of oil extraction in the Alberta tar sands, nuclear seems an ideal option.
In the June 8, 2007 issue of Executive Intelligence Review, Rob Ainsworth, of the arch-right-wing Canadian LaRouche Youth Movement reports, as have others, of “a project in the Alberta tar sands to construct two 1,100-megawatt reactors, providing power to the area, as well as heat and steam for industrial purposes.” It takes an enormous amount of energy to extract oil from tar sands, and nuclear is been touted as a way to greatly reduce the amount of oil burned to support the process.
Every aspect of nuclear power development is both enormously expensive for governments and profitable for the corporations involved. “Most of the top engineering and heavy construction firms serve the energy sector in one form or another,” writes Vance Cariaga in Investor’s Business Daily. “Some go straight to the wellhead by offering design and management services for oil and gas production. Others build hydrocarbon processing plants, liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals and nuclear power facilities.”
The licensing of more reactors would also be a great boon, at potentially greater public expense, to Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd, which has received subsidies of $17.5 billion over 50 years, according to the Campaign for Nuclear Phaseout.
The Conservatives’ announcement allows existing reactor sites to continue accumulating waste indefinitely, and it initiates a search for an “informed community” willing to host a “deep repository” for burial of wastes. It will also explore moving wastes to a central location for temporary, shallow underground storage and recycling of nuclear fuel.
As Susan Riley writes in today’s Ottawa Citizen, “Apart from the experimental nature of the proposed solution, many hurdles remain notably, finding a community desperate enough to become a nuclear dumping ground. It has been long supposed that some remote northern town would be the lucky winner, given the technological preference for disposing of the waste deep in the Canadian shield. But recent research suggests the sedimentary rock underlying much of southern Ontario would also be suitable. That said, the prospect of a bidding war between Oakville and Rosedale appears unlikely.”
With these plans, the Harper government has made an unequivocal commitment to nuclear power and ignores difficult issues of radioactive wastes that have never been resolved by scientists or the Canadian public. Nuclear power remains vulnerable to human carelessness, as well as deliberate acts of terrorism or other sabotage. Even the best-designed radioactive waste repository will leak and expose future generations to radiation. The federal environmental assessment panel concluded in 1998 that from a social perspective, the safety of deep geological disposal has not been adequately demonstrated, has never been officially contradicted or disproved.
“From a technical perspective, safety of the AECL concept has been on balance adequately demonstrated for a conceptual stage of development, but from a social perspective, it has not,” the report stated. “As it stands, the AECL concept for deep geological disposal has not been demonstrated to have broad public support.”
Nuclear power has left unresolved environmental problems in Canada. Uranium mining has killed Saskatchewan lakes. Processing uranium has created a permanent toxic legacy in the town of Port Hope, Ontario. CANDU reactors routinely release radioactive carbon dioxide and radioactive water contaminated with tritium during their operations, polluting air and water and jeopardizing human health, as confirmed last week in a report commissioned by Greenpeace Canada.
The government announcement reflects recommendations in a report by the government-appointed Nuclear Waste Management Association, which is largely made up of nuclear industry or ex-industry personnel. The Sierra Club of Canada’s Emilie Moorhouse said, “Its interests are not public health. Its interests are the promotion of this industry.”
Related individuals, organizations and significant events
Intensity-based targets promote oil industry frame
Harper Conservative vs. Public Values Frame
Long process / Unstoppable expansion
Green / Unresolved public safety questions
Economical / Massive subsidies
Links and sources
Feds back underground disposal of nuclear waste , Canadian Press, June 15, 2007
Susan Riley, Going nuclear by stealth , The Ottawa Citizen, June 18, 2007
The Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility
Canadian LaRouche Youth Movement.
Rob Ainsworth, Will Canada Join the Rail and Nuclear Renaissance? , Executive Intelligence Review, June 8, 2007
Vance Cariaga, Heavy Construction Firms Busy Helping Thriving Energy Sector , Investor’s Business Daily, May 22, 2007
Tyler Hamilton, Hot granite and steam could clean up oil sands, Toronto Star, May 30, 2007
Environmental Assessment Report on High Level Waste Disposal Concept, 1998
Chinta Puxley, Radioactive tritium in Great Lakes puts kids at risk: study , London Free Press, June 13, 2007
Canadian Nuclear Subsidies: Fifty Years of Futile Funding, Campaign for Nuclear Phaseout
Posted: June 18, 2007 at http://www.harperindex.ca/ViewArticle.cfm?Ref=0057
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