Successful Slovakian No-Nukes Campaign (& More)

The Slovakian Parliament responded favourably to a petition from the people of Slovakia.  Environmentalists organized a petition drive to give local citizens a stronger voice.

This week the campaign was victorious when, in a momentous decision, the Slovak parliament agreed on legal changes to geological and mining laws to give more power and control to local communities, municipal and regional authorities. This will allow them stop or limit geological research of uranium deposits and to stop proposed uranium mining.

The pro-nukers won’t be too happy about that, I’m sure.  But hey, they’re watching the markets.  And the nukers are wetting their pants about Cameco’s move back to full operation by 2013.  They really do think they can sell nuclear as green.  Scary, huh?

More and more, however, people are stepping up and saying that nukes are not green, nukes won’t work to solve our energy woes, nukes kill.  Why, then, do the nukers persist?

More Nuke News

Not a lot of people liking President O’s greenwashing of nukes.  This most excellent article in the Guardian dispels the myth that nukes are green.

The argument that nuclear is “carbon-free” conveniently omits the entire process of mining uranium, which produces greenhouse gases, along with other pollutants. In Virginia, where a study has just been commissioned to determine its safety, uranium is mined in open pits. This destroys topsoil and increases runoff, which contaminates drinking water with cancer-causing toxins.

The uranium-enrichment process also emits greenhouse gases and is highly wasteful. Eighty percent of the ore that goes through the enrichment process ends up as waste. And this is to say nothing of the lye, sulfuric acid, and other caustic agents that must be used to turn the uranium into reactor-ready fuel.

While on the surface, the steam billowing from the cooling tower of a nuclear reactor is less harmful than the toxic smoke that spews from a coal plant, nuclear reactors still create byproducts that are dangerous to human health and welfare. There’s also the huge problem of radioactive nuclear waste, which can stay hot for hundreds of thousands of years. Storing the radioactive waste isn’t just a security threat; there’s potential for radioactive chemicals to leak, as they are in Vermont and at other aging reactors around the country.

It’s clear to me that the US Prezzie doesn’t read P’n’P.  Perhaps you could invite him to do so via this handy form?

The folks at nuclear news have that article available, as well as a fantastic sidebar, The Very Secret Costs of Nuclear Power.  From their site:

Well it is impossible for anyone to estimate the real costs of nuclear power, as only a narrow range of costs are discussed, even where the nuclear industry is supposedly privately owned.

1. The nuclear weapons industry is so connected with nuclear power, and the costs on the nuclear weapons industry are huge.

2. Where the nuclear industry is state owned – e.g. in France, Russia, China, South Korea, taxation, and the costs of electricity are manipulated, and figures given out for nuclear costs are not really reliable.

Secrecy about the nuclear industry is essential anyway, for security reasons. But it is also convenient, as no-one really knows how much it costs for state-owned nuclear facilities to manage nuclear waste. Well, there are ‘cheap’ options used, as we learn from time, with nuclear waste dumping occurring secretly, and without regard for the environment or the people, (usually poor communities, indigenous and rural people.) Eventually someone has to pay for the long-term costs.

Back at home, the nukers are bragging about their exploration in Quebec’s Otish Mountains.

Ditem Explorations /quotes/comstock/11v!dit (CA:DIT 0.08, 0.00, 0.00%) is pleased to report that the 2010 exploration program on the Company’s Otish Mountains uranium property in Quebec is underway. A fully operational camp has been established to accommodate geophysical and drilling crews. Drilling on the first hole began yesterday.

They don’t get that they’re involved in ecological racism. And that sux!  The Quebec no-nukers have been working tirelessly to put an end to nuking the environment.  Check it out.  And here’s a thorough piece from the Dominion about the nuke activity in northern Quebec.

One further focus for criticism is the province’s much-hyped development strategy, known as the “Plan Nord,” which involves targeting government money at selected infrastructure projects favouring principally the resource extraction sector in northern Quebec. According to research conducted by The Dominion, last year’s provincial budget earmarked $130 million for extending Highway 167 by 268km into the Otish Mountains, northeast of the James Bay Cree town of Mistissini. It is in an area without residential communities, but where Vancouver-based Strateco Resources has discovered some of Quebec’s most concentrated uranium deposits.

Finally, here’s another story about Canada’s outrageous and extravagant spending on AECL flowing from the Chalk River Fiasco.

As a result, Ottawa allocated $824-million in the current fiscal year to the problem-plagued nuclear flagship as the government prepares to restructure it and sell its commercial division, according to supplemental estimates released late yesterday.

That’s a 50-per-cent increase from federal spending on AECL in the prior fiscal year. In today’s budget, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty will likely provide hundreds of millions more to support AECL’s operating budget and design work on the advanced Candu reactor and refurbish Chalk River laboratories.

Our tax dollars are being sunk into what the PM himself called a “sinkhole” so that the feds can sell it for next to nothing?  WTF?  It seems that PMS definitely needs to hear from you on this ridiculous, costly venture!  Imagine, were that kind of money to be spent on real green technology…

Hearing on How Mega-Mines Get Approved

From the tyee

Key Hearing on How Mega-Mines Get Approved
Feds broke own rules on public input: Mining Watch.
View full article and comments here http:///News/2008/05/15/MineHearing/
By Christopher Pollon
Published: May 15, 2008
TheTyee.ca

An appeal case being heard today in Vancouver will have a profound effect on how resource-based mega-projects are reviewed by the federal government, and in particular, the ability of the public to provide comment and meaningful input.

Last September, the federal court ruled that the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) and Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) acted illegally in shielding the proposed Red Chris copper and gold mine from a comprehensive environmental assessment (EA), including mandatory public consultation.

Arguments for this original case were made by Ecojustice, on behalf of MiningWatch Canada, who alleged the federal government broke its own laws when it chose to do a limited screening of selected impacts of the Red Chris project.

Justice Luc Martineau agreed with MiningWatch Canada and ordered that the necessary federal permits needed by Red Chris be denied until a more in-depth EA be completed.

With that decision now under appeal, it will probably be months before federal and provincial government agencies, industry and environmentalists know whether the fight has been lost or won.

“If we win, [the federal government] will have to do a comprehensive environmental assessment for any mine over a certain size,” says MiningWatch Canada National Coordinator Joan Kuyek. “If we lose, it will revert to letting the responsible [federal] authorities determine the track of the project review, and to pursue a strategy of rushing it through at all costs.”

Breaking its own laws?

Navajo Nation Still Suffering from Previous Uranium Mining Activities

Thanks to Bill C. for making sure an update to this landed in my Inbox.

NEWS FROM THE NAVAJO NATION
OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT & VICE PRESIDENT

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 30, 2008

NAVAJO PRESIDENT JOE SHIRLEY, JR., TELLS CONGRESSIONAL SUBCOMMITTEE
NATION WILL NOT WATCH ANOTHER GENERATION HARMED BY URANIUM MINING

http://summerrayneoakes.blogspot.com/2008/04/navajo-nation-says-no-to-uranium-mining.html

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – Navajo Nation President Joe Shirley, Jr., told a
Congressional subcommittee here Friday that the Navajo Nation remains
opposed to uranium mining on or near its land, and will take whatever action
necessary to prevent it.

“It is unconscionable to me that the federal government would consider
allowing uranium mining to be restarted anywhere near the Navajo Nation when
we are still suffering from previous mining activities,” he said. “In
response to attempts to renew uranium mining, the Navajo Nation Council
passed, and I signed into law, the Diné Natural Resources Protection Act.
This law places a ban on all uranium mining both within the Navajo Nation
boundary, and within Navajo Indian Country.”

Testifying at a joint oversight hearing before the Subcommittee on National
Parks, Forests and Public Lands at the Flagstaff City Council Chambers,
President Shirley said Navajos “do not want to not sit by, ignorant of the
effects of uranium mining, only to watch another generation of mothers and
fathers die.”

“We are doing everything we can to speak out and do something about it,” he
said. “We do not want a new generation of babies born with birth defects. We
will not allow our people to live with cancers and other disorders as
faceless companies make profits only to declare bankruptcy and then walk
away from the damage they have caused, regardless of the bond they have in
place.”

The hearing was held to gather testimony on “Community Impacts of Proposed
Uranium Mining Near Grand Canyon National Park.” In December 2007, the U.S.
Forest Service authorized VANE Minerals, LLC, to conduct exploratory
drilling for uranium three miles south of Grand Canyon National Park. The
Park Service used Categorical Exclusion Category 8 to approve the drilling,
which covers short-term investigations and which had limited public
involvement. Consultation with tribes amounted to sending a letter.

On March 6, Subcommittee Chairman Congressman Raul Grijalva wrote to U.S.
Agriculture Secretary Ed Schafer to ask that the Forest Service re-initiate
the process “to ensure a more rigorous public involvement and environmental
analysis process.”

About 200 people filled the council chamber at the Flagstaff City Hall. Also
presenting testimony during the first morning panel with President Shirley
was Kaibab Paiute Tribal Chairwoman Ono Segundo and Havasupai Tribal
Chairman Don Watahomigie. Both also testified that their tribes are opposed
to renewed uranium mining in and around the Grand Canyon region.

Appearing with Congressman Grijalva was Arizona Congressman Ed Pastor and
California Congresswoman Grace Napolitano.

President Shirley said that as the Cold War raged more than 50 years ago,
the United States government began a massive effort to mine and process
uranium ore for use in the country’s nuclear weapons programs. Much of that
uranium was mined on or near Navajo lands by Navajo hands.

“Today, the legacy of uranium mining continues to devastate both the people
and the land,” he said. “The workers, their families, and their neighbors
suffer increased incidences of cancers and other medical disorders caused by
their exposure to uranium. Fathers and sons who went to work in the mines
and the processing facilities brought uranium dust into their homes to
unknowingly expose their families to radiation.”

“The mines, many simply abandoned, have left open open scars in the ground
with leaking radioactive waste. The companies that processed the uranium
ore dumped their waste in open – and in some cases unauthorized – pits,
exposing both the soil and the water to radiation.”

Asked by Congressman Pastor whether the Navajo Nation sees any benefits to
come from uranium mining, President Shirley the opposite has been true in
the past.

“Many of my people have died. Many of my medicine people have died,
Congressman,” he said. “And as a result, our culture has gone away, some of
it. Some of the medicine people with the knowledge they have, when they go
on, it’s just like a library has gone on. You lose a lot of culture. That
has happened to my people.”

He said the tragedy of uranium’s legacy extends not only to those who worked
in the mines but to those who worked and lived near the mines that also
experienced devastating illnesses. Decades later, families who live in those
same areas continue to experience health problems.

“The remnants of uranium activity continue to pollute our land, our water,
and our lives,” he said. “It would be unforgivable to allow this cycle to
continue for another generation.”

He explained that in recent years, many companies have approached the Navajo
Nation with promises of riches.

“They have promised us newer and cleaner methods of mining that they say
will not harm the land, the water, or the people,” he said. “We have
repeatedly declined their offers.”

He said the Nation has been told that in situ leach mining is a process that
injects a solution into the ground to separate the ore from the surrounding
rock.

“These companies claim the process is harmless,” President Shirley said.
“The science on this process is, at best, inconclusive, and, at worst,
points to increased radioactive contaminants in the groundwater after the
mining operations cease.”

He said he cannot believe the claims of safety “when history and science
establish a different record.”

“The Navajo people have been consistently lied to by companies and
government officials concerning the effects of various mining activities.
Unfortunately, the true cost of these activities is understood only later
when the companies have stolen away with their profits leaving the Navajo
people to bear the health burdens.”

Asked by whether he was contacted by the Forest Service about allowing VANE
to conduct exploratory drilling near the Grand Canyon, President Shirley
said no. He added that any Navajo official or division director who may have
been contacted would have given the Forest Service the same answer.

“Every testimony coming from the Navajo Nation, whether it’s through me, any
of our council delegates, any of our legislators, it’s no, we do not want
the further mining of the uranium ore on Navajoland or on land contiguous to
Navajoland,” he said. “So if there’s any conversation that took place with
any of the U.S. Forest representatives, that’s what they’ve heard.”

“We just don’t want it,” he said. “We have a law in place, and that’s the
Diné Natural Resources Protection Act that says no way will we allow, no way
will the Navajo Nation or any of its departments or any of its staff allow
the further mining of uranium ore on Navajo land.”

CONTACT
George Hardeen, Communications Director
Office of the President & Vice President
The Navajo Nation
DESK 928-871-7917
CELL 928-309-8532
pressoffice@opvp.org

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.

Dillman Will Not Die for Uranium (and I don’t blame her)

From The Community Coalition Against Mining Uranium news that Donna Dillman has ended her hunger strike after 66 days.   Politics’n’Poetry thanks her for her determination and courage in shedding light on the dangers of uranium mining in such a personal way.  Premier McGuinty should carry some shamed for ignoring this issue, especially in light of recent goings-on in the nuclear industry in Canada and around the world.  (And, actually, Donna, you should know  that P’n’P’s blog statistics show that the Government of Ontario has been visiting P’n’P to read up on the Sharbot Lake situation.)

Readers of P’n’P can send their thanks to Donna via this email <uraniumnews@mail.ccamu.ca>.  Tell her, “Well done, sister!”

CCAMU TO HOLD PUBLIC HEARINGS ON URANIUM MINING

DILLMAN TO END HUNGER STRIKE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Thursday, December 13, 2007

The Community Coalition Against Mining Uranium (CCAMU) announced today that they would hold public hearings throughout Eastern Ontario in the New Year on the environmental and health impacts of uranium mining.

“We have been asking the government to hold an inquiry into uranium mining and they have failed to respond” said Wolfe Erlichman of CCAMU. “In the absence of action, on behalf of the McGuinty government, we are going to hold a citizen’s inquiry and invite the Premier to attend. We will even go to his home town to accommodate him.”

A number of NGO’s including Greenpeace, Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment, David Suzuki Foundation, Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility, Voice of Women and Sierra Club of Canada have endorsed the hearings or will participate as expert witnesses.

CCAMU will be calling for public and expert submissions to take place at hearings to be held in Kingston, Ottawa and Peterborough in February/March. In response to the hearings Donna Dillman, who has not eaten since October 8th 2007, said she will end her hunger strike.

“I began this hunger strike to shine a light on the problem of uranium mining in eastern Ontario with the hope that Premier McGuinty would call a moratorium on further mining and exploration” said Dillman. “We have not yet got a moratorium but these hearings are a great opportunity to inform and educate Ontarians about some of the detrimental effects of uranium mining and to keep the pressure on the McGuinty government.”

“Donna has made an incredible personal sacrifice in pushing for this moratorium. It is time for the environmental community to take some of the heavy lifting from Donna before she suffers any serious health impacts” said Gideon Foreman Executive Director of Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment.

“These hearing s will be an opportunity to further expose the unfolding economic, health and environmental disaster associated with the global nuclear agenda” said Bruce Cox Executive Director of Greenpeace Canada. “Mr. McGuinty is wrong when he says we need to mine uranium here to keep the lights on. This uranium is bound for export.”

Donna Dillman has not eaten since October 8th, 2007-a full 66 days ago. Ms. Dillman has been calling on Premier McGuinty to announce a moratorium on further mining and exploration in Eastern Ontario until a full public inquiry on the health and environmental impacts of uranium mining can take place.

On Tuesday of this week Ms. Dillman stopped drinking juices and had been surviving solely on water. She ate her first bite of food in front of the supporters who had gathered in MPP Peter Tabuns’ office, just after the press conference held in the Queen’s Park press gallery. Four other women, Adriana Mugnatto-Hamu, Rita Bijons, Sharon Howarth and Karen Buck, had joined Dillman on her hunger strike this past Tuesday, to show their solidarity. They broke their fast today, just after Dillman ate a small amount of mashed squash. It has been recommended by her health practitioners that she slowly resume a diet of solid food, given the length of time her stomach has been without it.

Contact: Lynn Daniluk
613-267-0539
Community Coalition Against Mining Uranium
uraniumnews@mail.ccamu.ca