Nuke fallout & the industry grinds on

A couple of interesting items landed in the PnP mailbox this weekend.

Further to the Fukushima fallout comes this story of radioactive tuna.

Every bluefin tuna tested in the waters off California has shown to be contaminated with radiation that originated in Fukushima. Every single one.

 

But you won’t hear about that in the msm, even though it was expected a year ago.

Less than two weeks after the tsunami and subsequent nuclear disaster, Michael Kane, an investigative journalist, reported, “In the wake of the continuing nuclear tragedy in Japan, the United States government is still moving quickly to increase the amounts of radiation the population can “safely” absorb by raising the safe zone for exposure to levels designed to protect the government and nuclear industry more than human life.”

The radiation has absolutely reached the shores of North America.  Water samples from across the continent have tested positive for unsafe levels of radioactivity.  The levels exceeded federal drinking water thresholds, known as maximum contaminant levels, or MCL, by as much as 181 times.”This means that the complete ecosystem of the Pacific Ocean is now poisoned with radiation and we aren’t being warned.

 

And still, the deadly nuke industry carries on.

Candu Energy is hopeful about selling Canada’s first nuclear reactors in years after Romanian and Chinese state-owned companies signed a letter of intent to invest in and develop two reactors in Romania.

The subsidiary of SNC-Lavalin (TSX:T.SNC, Stock Forum) said Wednesday that the new units would be built on the Cernavoda site where initial construction was halted in the early 1990s.

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Shitty water?

Dr. Jim Harding provides important information about Regina’s impact on the water downstream.  It ain’t pretty.

 

 

 

QU’APPELLE VALLEY LAKES CLEANUP TAKES BACK SEAT TO NEW ROUGHRIDER STADIUM

BY Jim Harding

For decades Regina’s poorly treated sewage has degraded eco-system health downstream in the Qu’Appelle Valley. Regina’s refusal to priorize modernizing its wastewater treatment means that people sometimes can’t swim safely, eat the fish or even boat.

The wellbeing of cottagers and those that make the valley their home is being disrespected. And there is no excuse; for years Peter Leavitt and his associates at the University of Regina have shown the major role Regina’s sewage plays in degrading this waterway. Meanwhile, rather than biting the bullet and upgrading the system, Regina politicians prefer to make a multi-million dollar new stadium their highest priority. Out of sight, out of mind!

METAL CONTAMINATION

Metal contamination increases with the growth of agriculture, industry and urbanization. Most of the catchment area for the Qu’Appelle River drainage basin includes industrial exposure – e.g. a steel plant, oil refinery, fertilizer plant and potash mine near Regina. Metal contamination from erosion is increased by agricultural tilling, irrigation and use of chemicals; coal plants and waste incineration send metals into the atmosphere which find their way into freshwater.

Metal pollutants accumulate in lake sediment and eventually enter aquatic food webs. Leavitt’s research suggests that small aquatic invertebrates in the Qu’Appelle system “may have been exposed to damaging levels of toxic metals for 100 years”. This research concludes that “overall, potential toxic metals from urban and industrial sources accumulate significantly within invertebrate diapausing (dormant) eggs, while less toxic metals preferentially accumulate in the sediment matrix”. The more toxic metals include cadmium, chromium and molybdenum.

NITROGEN LOADING

Sediment analysis suggests that 70% of the nitrogen pollution in the Qu’Appelle waterways comes from Regina. (Most of the phosphorous likely comes from agriculture.) This elevated nitrogen influx results in heavy algal blooms which can elevate to toxic levels. This excessive algal growth can deplete oxygen levels in lakes and result in mass die off of fish and other aquatic organisms. Pasqua Lake, the first lake 175 km downstream from Regina, is the most heavily affected. In earlier research it was estimated that this fairly shallow lake contained about 300% more algae than in pre-colonial times; currently it’s estimated to be 500%. Most nitrogen gets sequestered in lake sediment but nutrients are passed downstream when saturation occurs, first to Echo Lake, then to Mission and on to Katepwa. This is chronic as I write!

There are other pollutants from Regina. Environment Canada found personal care products, like aspirin derivatives and some antibiotics downstream.

REGINA’S IRRESPONSIBILITY

The last time Regina made a major upgrade of its wastewater plant was in 1977, to include tertiary treatment, i.e. “clarification” to remove phosphorous. Thirty-five years later this is no longer “state of the art” and the City has fallen behind the treatment standards of other prairie cities. City politicians have had other priorities, like Harbour Landing and a new Roughrider stadium.

I have some personal experience with this matter. When I was on Regina’s City Council in the mid-1990s, meeting at a session on capital budget, I raised planning for upgrading water treatment. I was told in no uncertain terms that with property reassessment coming, suburban taxes would increase and most councilors would lose their seats if we dared include these capital costs. Councilors agreed in word or by silence and the matter was dropped.

I’m not privy to how this was handled during Mayor Fiacco’s term. City officials claim they have budgeted for the wastewater upgrade, yet nothing significant has happened. The City is now looking at selling its poorly treated wastewater to a potash company south of Regina, while another potash company has indicated it wants to remove water directly from the Qu’Appelle lakes. What would all this “pragmatism” do to the flow and water quality of the Qu’Appelle lakes?

So here we are in 2012 with Regina the only major prairie city not to have upgraded its sewage treatment. The cost of doing this has continued to rise and could now be as much as $200 million. In its 2012 budget the City only budgeted $19.6 million for wastewater upgrades.

MISPLACED PRIORITIES

Aquatic eco-system protection simply must be implemented quickly. However Regina’s present Mayor and Council seem to be trying to end-run the electorate by approving much more spending to build a new Roughrider stadium without sufficient public input. Mosaic Stadium has just had a $14 million upgrade to prepare it for the 2013 Grey Cup. Then it’s going to be torn down. The proposed new stadium will have about the same seating capacity as Mosaic Stadium. Its total cost, including loan interest and maintenance over a 30 year period will be $675 million. This amount does not include cost overruns.

The province will contribute an $80 million grant and the Roughriders will only have to pay $25 million mostly from corporate sponsorships. According to Regina City Council’s funding plan, $300 million will come from the pockets of Regina taxpayers, who will be required to pay a 0.45% increase in property taxes each year for 10 years. Forced to foot the bill, how will Regina’s taxpayers view spending the millions needed to stop contaminating the Qu’Appelle Valley waterways?

 

Mayor Fiacco justified announcing the new stadium at a Roughrider game, saying that “users will pay”, suggesting that raising the facility fee for games by $4 will cover the provincial loan. Yet only $100 million of the total $675 million will likely come from this. Sounding a little like Prime Minister Harper, who also sidesteps democratic due process, he says “we were elected to make decisions”, while ignoring that stadium upgrades in 1977 came after a plebiscite. When asked about the fact that general taxes will go up, a City official spoke of “delivering a quality of life in Regina”, drawing an analogy to public transit which, like the stadium, is not used by everyone.

BREAD AND CIRCUSES

What about quality of life downstream from Regina’s effluent? What about municipal responsibility? When you go to the City’s web page there’s mention that an upgrade of sewage treatment will be required by 2016 (province) and 2020 (federal), yet no government grants are forthcoming for this. Why is the province spending $80 million for a Regina stadium and ignoring Regina’s sewage pollution?

The City is not stringently lobbying for such assistance. If anything it leaves the impression that the main problem with sewage treatment is persisting odour. It doesn’t mention its role in polluting the Qu’Appelle Valley lakes; this can reinforce disinformation such as the claim that “the lakes have always had high algae.” Based on a 1999 report it even alleges that “the City is a leader in treating wastewater”. Tell that to the residents and cottagers living along Pasqua or other Qu’Appelle Valley lakes.

The City’s diagram on waste treatment highlights its sediment removal, aerated lagoons, clarification and UV disinfecting and then ends abruptly, showing only an arrow for the discharge of its poorly treated effluent into Wascana Creek. For those living downstream this is where the contamination begins.

How did protecting eco-system health and a major recreational waterway become less important than a new football stadium? Is bread and circuses being allowed to squeeze out the quest for clean water and sustainability? We only can hope that this matter gets raised during Regina’s fall election.

 

 

 

Thar be munnee in that thar yeller stuff!

From cradle to grave, there’s big bucks in the nuclear cycle:

From the National Post:

“We think that Fronteer should have a steady flow of exploration results through the year that may act as catalysts for the share price,” he wrote in a note.

Fronteer is teamed up with Teck Cominco Ltd. in Turkey and Newmont Mining Corp. in Nevada, giving it a pair of established partners. It also holds a 42% stake in Aurora Energy Resources inc., which has made significant uranium discoveries in Labrador. Mark O’Dea is chief executive of both companies.

“We think that using Fronteer as a vehicle to invest in Aurora is reasonable,” Mr. Schatzker noted.

From Investment U:

The yellow stuff that drives almost every reactor in the world – uranium – has reached a supply gap that dwarfs the wildest dreams of the most successful oil or coal investors. In fact, worldwide uranium demand already exceeds supply by 139%, and it could take a decade or more before mines are able to crank up production.

No wonder prices have jumped almost 500% in five years, from just $7 a pound in 2000 to well over $40 today. But with demand, especially from China, outstripping supply by tens of millions of pounds a year with no end in sight, prices should continue to skyrocket.

So how can you invest in this burgeoning market? This report will show you three proven strategies for investing in uranium to maximize your profit potential.

According to MSNBC:

Areva already makes $2.2 billion in revenues a year on treating and recycling waste. The plant at Beaumont-Hague takes in 22,000 tons of spent nuclear fuel a year, from France, Japan, Germany, Switzerland, Belgium, the Netherlands, Italy and Australia. The foreign fuel by law must be returned to its owners once it has been reprocessed into a more stable form that — through lack of alternatives — is buried or held in storage.

Meanwhile, children the world over suffer from inadequate healthcare.

Uranium harmful: another study

Folks may be interested in this technical paper looking at the question of whether uranium can act as an endocrine disruptor. Conclusion of 34 page study:

Our data supports the conclusion that uranium is an endocrine disrupting chemical and populations exposed to environmental uranium should be followed for increased risk of fertility problems and reproductive cancers.

But that doesn’t matter to those who want more, more, more. In fact, with the multinational medical corporations now into uranium, it seems to me they are creating the need for their medical equipment.  That’s an ideal situation, for a corporation.

GE Plans Partnerships With Uranium Miners for Nuclear (Update4)
By Lars Paulsson

Jan. 17 (Bloomberg) — General Electric Co., the world’s biggest maker of power-generation equipment, plans to form partnerships with uranium companies to develop its nuclear business and improve access to the fuel that runs reactors.

GE’s atomic unit is holding talks with “several miners, millers and converters” to find partners after agreeing last year to use a new technology from Australia’s Silex Systems Ltd. to expand into fuel enrichment, said Andrew White, chief executive officer of GE Nuclear in Wilmington, North Carolina.

“We’re in serious conversations, and I think we will do something in the first half of this year,” White said today in an interview in London. He wouldn’t name the companies, citing confidentiality agreements. “Obviously, if we’re going into enrichment, we need the feedstock.”

General Electric, competing with companies including Areva SA, the world’s biggest builder of reactors, and Toshiba Corp.’s Westinghouse Electric Co., is developing its nuclear business into a more integrated company with reactors, servicing and fuel supply, to some extent mirroring France’s Areva.

“Any good customer we’re willing to get into bed with,” said Peter Farmer, chief executive officer of Denison Mines Corp., a Toronto-based uranium miner, who wouldn’t say whether his company is in specific discussions. “In our case, it just makes sense to offset some of the risk of going into a new mine.”

Potential Partners

General Electric may be talking with Cameco Corp., Areva or ConverDyn, the only uranium converter in the U.S., Max Layton, an analyst with Macquarie Bank Ltd. in London, said today in a telephone interview. They are the main Western producers, he said. Converters refine the uranium by turning it into a gas before it’s enriched.

Nuclear Guardianship: We Need to Know

What we need to know as responsible citizens and what we need our politicians, the law-makers, to know

The Nuclear Guardianship Library

is intended to contribute to the political, technical and moral understandings required to keep radioactive materials from further contaminating the biosphere, in order to protect present and future generations.  We hope to provide opportunities for ongoing, in-depth discussion among citizens, specialists, and policy makers on the responsible care of radioactive materials.

The moral issues remain the same.

 Our most enduring legacy to future generations will be the radioactive materials generated over the last fifty years by nuclear power and weapons production, including structures and equipment contaminated at every step of the fuel cycle as well as all categories of waste. The toxicity of these materials, with their proven capacity to cause cancers, immune diseases, birth disorders, and genetic mutation, constitutes an unprecedented and monumental assault on organic life. To safeguard ourselves and future generations, all these contaminants must be kept out of the biosphere now and for thousands of years.

We who are living now, whether “pro-nuclear” or “anti-nuclear,” need to consider together how we are to isolate the radioactive materials we have produced. We need to consider our responsibility for their ongoing containment, and the immediate steps this guardianship requires of us.

A People’s Policy on Radioactive Waste  (Draft July 23, 2002)

PREAMBLE

The amount and danger of long-lasting environmental poisons produced in recent decades is unprecedented in human history. Since the beginning of the nuclear age, policy regarding all levels of radioactive waste has been set by the nuclear industry, the military and governments. Monetary gain, secrecy and militarism have consistently taken precedent over concerns about intergenerational equity, environmental and public health and spiritual well-being.

Any policy regarding nuclear waste must begin with an immediate halt to its production.

Future survival requires that we take full responsibility for nuclear waste and keep it within our sphere of control. Policy decisions must consider the health, safety and habitat of ALL living things and recognize the need for this most dangerous substance to be completely isolated from the environment for as long as it remains hazardous.

Presently, there is no scientifically sound, environmentally just or democratically defined solution to the disposal or storage of radioactive waste. Yet each day approximately ten tons of high-level radioactive waste (HLRW) is generated, which is one million times more radioactive than the original fuel. It is insanity to continue to use nuclear reactor technology that benefits only one or two generations while creating poisons that will threaten the next 12,000.

Workers exposed to uranium seek redress

From Newsday.com, a story that workers exposed to uranium in the USA are in the courts looking for compensation.  How long until Saskatchewan workers take to the courts?

Verizon hit with suit for ex-nuclear plant risks

|mark.harrington@newsday.com

Five employees of a magazine distribution company once located at a former nuclear-fuel plant in Hicksville will file a lawsuit today seeking to force Verizon Communications Inc. to pay medical-monitoring expenses tied to illnesses they fear they may develop from exposure to toxins at the site, their lawyers said last week.

The complaint, which the lawyers said will be filed in State Supreme Court in Brooklyn, accuses Verizon and its predecessor companies of “reckless” and “grossly negligent” operation of a facility that made nuclear fuel rods from uranium and other materials at a plant on Cantiague Rock Road. The plant, which was operated between 1952 and 1966 by Verizon predecessor Sylvania Electric Products Inc., routinely incinerated uranium scrap into the open air and dumped chemical toxins into the ground.

The workers are employed by Magazine Distributors Inc., a company that operated at the former Sylvania site from 1991 to 2002 and has since moved to Farmingdale. MDI is not named as a defendant.

The suit says the workers were exposed “on numerous occasions to hazardous and toxic substances” at the site, where they “inhaled, ingested, or otherwise absorbed” the toxins. As a result, they allege they are at an increased risk of developing “multiple forms of cancer and other serious life-threatening diseases.”

Uranium, health, and investment

It seems that the residents of Port Hope, ON have taken a page out of the book of workers at the Apollo and Parks nuclear facilities in the USA. From globeandmail.com and following that, a blurb from Howe Street.com, the “source for market opinion,” on uranium investments.

Port Hope activists call on Health Canada to study alleged uranium contamination

 

ENVIRONMENT REPORTER

Health Canada needs to fund a thorough study of residents of Port Hope, Ont., to investigate whether exposure to uranium is causing illnesses, says a local community group that conducted its own testing and detected what it says are elevated levels of the dangerous element in a number of residents.

Faye More, chair of the Port Hope Community Health Concerns Committee, told a news conference yesterday that the costs of a study should be covered by the federal department, but the design should be under the control of local residents.

The group released the results of tests yesterday of nine people who had either worked in Port Hope’s nuclear-processing businesses or lived near the plants, and who were checked for the amount of uranium in their bodies. Although it was a relatively small number of people, the testing found that five of them had uranium levels substantially above two test subjects who didn’t have Port Hope exposures. One child had readings three times higher than the average of the two so-called controls, while one of the adults had levels eight times the controls, according to the group.

Full article

Meanwhile, investors are not talking about ethical issues around uranium. Instead, they’re talking tactical investing. That just makes my skin crawl.

We are at the beginning stages of a massive bidding war in Uranium. China is locking in massive deals in Africa and is now working on ever bigger deals in Kazakhstan which holds the worlds second largest reserves of Uranium after Australia. Note to that China signed a multi billion dollar uranium deal with Australia. China is basically locking up Uranium supplies, which means its taking this uranium out of the market place; this effectively means that there will be even less uranium for the rest of the global world players to go after. Now this development alone is bad enough but the situation worsens; Russia which has more than enough uranium has decided to start stock piling on uranium too. They have done this after declaring that Uranium is now a strategic resource and will only be exported in limited quantities. Once again the following news story will best illustrate our point

“This new agreement will allow the supply of Australian uranium for use in Russia’s civil nuclear power industry and provide a framework for broader cooperation on peaceful nuclear-related activities,” he said. Both Howard and Putin dismissed concerns that Russia would sell Australian uranium to third countries such as Iran.

“I simply don’t understand what people are talking about,” Putin said, pointing out that Russia already exports large quantities of enriched uranium for military use, including 30 tonnes a year to the United States. “We are buying uranium from Australia for purely economic reasons,” he said. Full Story

Purely economic reasons and why not; Putin is a smart man he knows that in the future nations will be desperately begging for this valuable commodity and he also knows that he who controls the keys to the energy market controls the world. One other thing to note here is that Russia supplies the US with over 30 tonnes a year of uranium; Russia could cut these supplies on a moments notice especially now that the relationship between these two former cold war enemies has turned rather frosty as of late.

Bottom line is the Uranium bull is one that is going to be driven by the two most powerful forces in the universe and such a development is very rare and provides the astute investor with a window of opportunity that usually presents itself only once in a persons life time. The two forces are fear and greed; usually one of them is enough to produce massive moves but in the near future both of them will be working in unison instead of against each other. This is one of the main reasons why it’s almost impossible to predict how high uranium prices could eventually trade at. Right now the uranium sector has been beaten down and many individuals have given up on this sector as some stocks have truly taken a massive beating. Remember at TI we view disaster as opportunity waiting to be discovered and thus our advice to all our subscribers is to make sure you hold positions in all the various uranium plays that are listed in our portfolios and hold them through thick and thin or until we advise you to unload them. Those that do so will be handsomely rewarded and those that don’t well in the years to come they will most likely shed tears of blood as they wonder what possessed them to let such a wonderful opportunity pass them by. Do not let this opportunity slip by you.

Yes, that’s it, investors.  Make money no matter the cost, human or otherwise!