Agreement? Great Lakes Are Not A Dump!

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 plan

Says Bruce Power idea `designed to influence government policy’
Nov 01, 2008 04:30 AM

Energy Reporter
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.

Action in Ottawa

I have pulled the following from the comments section of this post in the hope that a few more Ottawa folks might see it and be motivated to go to the meeting. It’s great that folks are organizing to support the Algonquin people in their struggle against uranium mining.

Tomorrow night in Ottawa, there will be an inaugural meeting of the COMMUNITY COALITION AGAINST MINING URANIUM: THE OTTAWA CHAPTER

There will be a meeting held for those who are interested in forming an anti-uranium mining protest group in Ottawa.

WHEN: Wednesday October 3rd, 2007 6:30-8 pm
WHERE: CUPE National offices, 20 James St.(downtown)
MORE INFO: Contact Karen at or (613) 228-9800

This meeting is in response to the proposed mine in Frontenac County approx. 115 km sw from Ottawa and the protest by the Algonquin people. See

I would like to propose at this meeting that we organize a reading in Ottawa. It sure would be timely. I have never done this before, so please let me know what might be involved. I see that in Regina there is going to be a non-nuclear benefit…. Give that we are a fledgling group and the time is NOW, that sounds like a great idea as well.

Michelle Landry

Uranium Blockade and Protest starts Algonquin Canoe Protest

Uranium Blockade and Protest starts Algonquin Canoe Protest
September 18th, 2007 – 11:00 EDT
Algonquin first Nations at Ardoch and Sharbot Lake will descend the
Mississippi watershed on a traditional canoe journey to deliver a strong
unified message to declare a moratorium on proposed uranium mining in
all their territory.
Event: Saturday, September 22nd – A traditional birch bark canoe and
escort canoes launch from Ardoch Ontario to take water from Crotch Lake
and will transport 2 Algonquin maidens as ‘Water Carriers’ to pour out an
urgent message about uranium to the Government of Canada.
Event: Tuesday, September 25th – Rally and reception in Carleton Place
and Almonte, key towns on the Mississippi that are directly downstream
from the potential uranium mining contamination.
Event: Thursday, September 27th – Gathering of all protest canoes and
kayaks at Victoria Island (sacred to the Algonquin) in Ottawa to prepare for
a final Portage to Parliament Hill. There will be a ‘Ceremonial Signing’ of a
declaration for a moratorium on uranium mining by the Algonquin Chiefs.
Event: Friday, September 28th Native and Non-Native people of the Ottawa
and Mississippi valleys will gather for the ‘Final Portage and Rally’ on
Parliament Hill to declare to the Canadian and Ontario Provincial
Government an immediate moratorium on uranium mining. The
proclamation will be read in Algonquin with English and French translations
that stand against the mining of uranium and the mining laws will be at
Victoria Island on the afternoon and evening of 27th September. The ‘ Final
Portage & Rally ‘ will proclaim Native and Non-Native support for the
moratorium on uranium mining.
A Public Energy Forum (“Power to Choose”) at the Odawa Friendship
Center (12 Stirling Avenue, Ottawa) after the Canoe Protest.
Grand Chief Grandfather William Commanda, Chief Doreen Davis of the
Shabot Obaadjiwan, Chiefs Randy Cota, Paula Sherman and Harold Perry
and Bob Lovelace of the Ardoch Algonquin Nation will be on hand to
express their position and answer questions on the uranium mining issue.

More information can be found on the event website at:
IN: Native Protest, Energy, Environment, Health, Uranium Mining, Politics
David Gill Phone:
(Day)613-943 9434
(Eve)613 288 8034
Mobile: 613-290 5790
E2-mail :

Sharbot Lake Uranium Mystery

Hey Ontario, before you go to the polls maybe you should read up on the Sharbot Lake mystery, starting with this:

Frontenac never specifically stated how they got this permit from the Ontario government or how this colonial interloper ever gained the right to give anyone such a permit. Even in cases where there have been treaties, Canada’s Indian Affairs department has usually recognized that the indigenous peoples retain underground mineral rights. In this case, the Algonquins never surrendered the land in question. Ontario’s authority is based on pure presumption. It looks like outrighttheft from the Algonquins, who are being kept in the dark.

from:  The Answer, My Friend, is Glowing in the Wind…unravelling the Sharbot Lake Uranium mystery over at Harper Valley

First Nation blocks access to mining firm to protect their lands and waters

A couple of weeks ago the Ardoch and Shabot Obaadjiwan Algonquin First Nation in Eastern Ontario stated they would not participate in the court process which ignored their right to lands which may soon be mined for uranium.  They issued a public letter to Premier Dalton McGinty to seek his “intervention in the impasse that currently exists with respect to uranium exploration in Algonquin territory. ” From the CBC:

Two First Nations communities being sued for blocking potential uranium development at a site in eastern Ontario have told Premier Dalton McGuinty they are quitting the court process and won’t leave the area even if ordered to do so by a judge.

On Saturday, September 1, the first Nations communities kept their word.  From the Kingston Whig Standard, a.k.a. Osprey media:

The court order was delivered verbally by a sheriff standing on the road in front of the crowd, most of whom were blocking the mine entrance. As the sheriff issued the order, the crowd drummed, chanted and yelled.

Shabot Obaadjiwan war chief Earl Badour, who oversees the security of the protesters at the site, said he met the officers with a group of about 24 warriors.

“I said to them we were not speaking,” said Badour.

Badour then signalled for the native flag to be turned upside down as a symbolic gesture that “all natives are in distress. And the government has put them all in distress,” he said.

The First Nations Statement of Defence and counterclaim is here.  This will be an important struggle to watch in terms of First Nations land claims and the rabid nuclear industry.

SK Uranium in Weapons

I’ve posted more than once on the topic of Saskatchewan’s uranium.  Here’s another.  Gordon Edwards, Ph.D., President of the Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility has written this brief bit (emphasis mine):

The Role of Saskatchewan Uranium In Weapons

Here are some facts and thoughts on the role of depleted uranium in weapons, both those of the conventional type and those of the nuclear variety.

Natural uranium is 99.7 percent U-238 and 0.7 percent U-235. Uranium Enrichment is a process by which the percentage of U-235 is boosted beyond the 0.7 percent mark. This can only be done by discarding a large amount of U-238, which will still contain a small amount (0.2 percent to 0.4 percent) of U-235. This cast-off uranium is called depleted uranium (DU).

As you may know a tremendous amount of Canadian uranium, and in particular Saskatchewan uranium, has been enriched in the USA before being sent on to overseas customers. [It’s not just the stuff we sold to the US, but the stuff we sold to other countries that was first enriched in the US before being sent (as enriched uranium for use as reactor fuel) to various other customers.]

But to produce just 1 kg of 5% enriched uranium requires an input of over 11.8 kg of natural uranium, and results in 10.8 kg of depleted uranium [having about 0.3 % U-235].

When the enriched uranium is shipped to the customer, the depleted uranium is left behind at the US enrichment plant. In other words, over 90% of all Canadian (or Saskatchewan) uranium that was ever sent to USA for enrichment (for peaceful purposes as nuclear reactor fuel) has remained in the USA as depleted uranium (DU). There is absolutely no distinction between the DU of Canadian origin (or Saskatchewan origin) and the DU of other origins (US, Australian, etc.) It all goes into the same very large stockpile of DU. And a portion of this large stockpile of DU has always been used freely and without any compunctions by the US military for military purposes.

It is a perfectly fair and factual statement to say that whatever the percentage might be of Canadian (Saskatchewan) uranium as a fraction of the total through-put at US uranium enrichment plants, that same percentage is found in the US DU stockpiles.
It is by no means an insignificant fraction. Thus there is some Canadian-origin (Saskatchewan) uranium in virtually every US DU weapon.

Most people do not realize that the SAME DU stockpile was also used for half a century — and more — to produce the plutonium that is used in almost all US nuclear weapons. When depleted uranium “target rods” are inserted into military production reactors (notably at Savannah River) some U-238 atoms in the DU are converted into Pu-239 (plutonium-239) atoms and are subsequently separated out for use as a nuclear explosive. Virtually all of the plutonium in all US nuclear warheads was produced directly from depleted uranium.

Most people also do not realize that the military has, from the very first H-bombs, used depleted uranium directly in the construction of the metallic components of the warheads themselves, AND that this depleted uranium is responsible for at least 50 % of the explosive power of each H-bomb, as well as almost all of the radioactive fallout from the H-bombs. This is because the plutonium trigger (which was also made from depleted uranium) heats the fusion materials (deuterium and tritium) to several million degrees celsius so that they can undergo nuclear fusion, which in turn produces a huge burst of enormously energetic fusion neutrons (4 or 5 times more energetic than the neutrons produced by nuclear fission).

But neutrons are highly penetrating and therefore do not create as powerful an explosion as they might unless they are intercepted by something which can absorb them and magnify t he energy by a factor of 2 or more in a non-penetrating form — and that’s what the depleted uranium in the H-bomb is there for. When these highly energetic fusion neutrons hit the DU (mainly U-238) atoms, those “non-fissile” atoms are in fact fissioned (something that almost never happens in nuclear fission reactors!) producing an enormously enhanced burst of energy (double or more than double) and a plethora of highly radioactive “fission products” which contribute most of the radioactive fallout of the H-bomb.

That’s why these bombs are called “fission-fusion-fission” bombs. The first fission is plutonium. Then there’s the fusion of the deuterium and tritium. Then the second fission, which is the depleted uranium.

If you remove the depleted uranium materials from the H-bomb, you get a “neutron bomb” — one that has much less blast, much less radioactive fallout, and an enormous spewing forth of highly penetrating neutrons which do not generally destroy buildings but which are absolutely deadly to living things.

And to think that a large percentage of that DU is good old Canadian (Saskatchewan) uranium! Yikes.

The Canadian connections with DU munitions are even closer than just providing the raw material, as the following little excerpt indicates….

From: Uranium Medical Research Centre (UMRC)

12/26/2005 Uranium Biological Effects Study – Port Hope

UMRC is pleased on its official participation in the Port Hope Biological Studies Project, Port Hope Ontario. Port Hope is the home of two nuclear industry facilities: Zircatec Precision Industries and Cameco Nuclear Fuels Division. Cameco acquired the Port Hope uranium refinery, conversion and metals processing facility from the original Canadian Crown Corporation, Eldarado Nuclear. Eldarado Nuclear participated in the Manhattan Project and now as Cameco, supplies UF6 to the US uranium enrichment program and UO2 to Zircatec and other fuel rod manufacturers.

Currently Zircatec and Cameco process commercial natural uranium, depleted uranium, and enriched uranium stocks. As Eldoradeo, the refinery supplied Canadian and US Defense Departments with uranium and depleted uranium metals and extruded rods for kinetic energy penetrator research. Retired employees confirm that DU-KEP extruded rods were manufactured in Port Hope in the 1960’s onwards. The Cameco facility hosts one of the largest uranium metal processing capacities in the industry.

Dr. Asaf Durakovic, UMRC’s Director of Research has been appointed to the Medical Advisory Committee, Port Hope Community Health Concerns Committee. Tedd Weyman, UMRC’s Deputy Director is leading the field investigations at Port Hope.

So, Premier Calvert and Minister Cline, how will you respond to this?

Nuclear Power is NOT OK

This letter from the International Institute of Concern for Public Health is in response to Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty’s proposal to expand the nuclear industry. An excerpt:

Nuclear Power is NOT OK


The genetic inheritance from the present use of nuclear power plants already exists and will soon become manifest as it increases with each generation.

  • I think it is abundantly clear that low levels of ionizing radiation are not benign or beneficial. It is clear from the huge amount of scientifically based peer-reviewed information already available. More and more proof of the deleterious effects of low level ionizing radiation will come to light in the months and years ahead as those who have been affected become ill or pass on their damaged genes onto the next generation.
  • The health hazards produced from the use of nuclear power to boil water to produce electricity, if fully understood by the general public from the outset, would have led to the rejection of the use of nuclear electricity power plants. Unfortunately, that did not happen.
  • The mounting evidence of the health effects of low-level ionizing radiation calls out for a change in direction away from the use of nuclear power generation.
  • The Institute strongly urges the government to call a properly constituted independent inquiry of the type suggested above before making any decision about continuing to use nuclear power for generation of electricity or for any other use.

As a people, it is time for us to look at the evidence with a dispassionate eye not blinded by the mantle of authority of the entrenched interests. The present format consists of day-long open houses followed by evening public input sessions. There is no way such a format can result in meaningful discussion of the concerns with the OPA report. The Canadian public are tired of these “public inquiries” that mean nothing. Only an open, public inquiry with a specific mandate with specific terms of reference to hear and take into account the views of a broad spectrum of experts and concerned citizens, presided over by a judge such as in the case of the Walkerton Inquiry, can satisfy the imperatives of our democratic right to full disclosure.

There is an alternative, and it is feasible. There is no need to build nuclear power plants or lengthy transmission lines! Alternative renewable environmentally benign sources along with conservation can result in less ionizing radiation being added to what has already been produced. Developing renewable energy resources throughout Ontario would lead to a cleaner environment for all. The leadership provided by Germany, Spain and Denmark should be an example. They have demonstrated the important role that government can play to bring about a strong renewable energy system. More and more of the public are becoming aware of the health effects of not only coal-fired plants, but also of nuclear power plants. In spite of the advertisements of the Canadian Nuclear Association to promote “NUCLEAR” as “CLEAN”, more and more people are coming to understand the dangers of low-level ionizing radiation.

The IICPH recommends that the present Ontario government move to phase out the use of nuclear power to generate electricity and move to renewable energy sources as soon as possible The current policies intended to support renewable energy should be greatly magnified. It takes political will at the provincial and federal level to achieve the rates of adoption of renewable energy that are possible and necessary in Ontario. The Province of Ontario could be the vehicle for bringing about the necessary change in direction. It would not be long until the benefits would accrue towards a cleaner environment. You would have the satisfaction of setting a trend that other jurisdictions could follow.

If we love our children and grandchildren, if we recognize that we are stewards of our biosphere, we must not turn a blind eye to the hazards from nuclear radiation. The health risks from even very low levels of radiation need to be recognized. No one is protected from the effects of ionizing radiation. In this 21st century, we are all at risk.

I like those bold-faced statements:

As a people, it is time for us to look at the evidence with a dispassionate eye not blinded by the mantle of authority of the entrenched interests.

There is an alternative, and it is feasible.
I am going to commit them to memory.

With thanks to Verbena-19