Encouraging news!

It’s always good to add a little good news to one’s day!

The World Bank and United Nations on Wednesday appealed for billions of dollars to provide electricity for the poorest nations but said there would be no investment in nuclear power.

“We don’t do ,” said World Bank president Jim Yong Kim as he and UN leader Ban Ki-moon outlined efforts to make sure all people have access to electricity by 2030.

 

And, in case I missed this one, I’ll add it now, too!

Nuclear reactors are not a viable source of new power in the West, Morningstar analysts conclude in a report this month to institutional investors.

Nuclear’s “enormous costs, political and popular opposition, and regulatory uncertainty” render new reactors infeasible even in regions where they make economic sense, according to Morningstar’s Utilities Observer report for November.

“Aside from the two new nuclear projects in the U.S., one in France, and a possible one in the U.K., we think new-build nuclear in the West is dead,” Morningstar analysts Mark Barnett and Travis Miller say in the report.

This view puts Morningstar on the same page as former Exelon CEO John Rowe, who said in early 2012 that new nuclear plants “don’t make any sense right now” and won’t become economically viable for the forseeable future.

 

Real reasons to hope for an end to nuclear energy.

Are the vehicles transporting nuke waste safe?

Two interesting tidbits today:

Nuclear waste could pass through Niagara

Niagara could be the road of choice for nuclear waste bound for South Carolina.

Liquid highly-enriched uranium from Canada’s Chalk River research reactor could be trucked through here on the way to be processed in South Carolina, says a report bound for regional council’s planning committee next week.

St. Catharines Mayor Brian McMullan, a former chair of the Great Lakes St. Lawrence Cities Initiative, said public safety is a concern. The organization has opposed shipping nuclear waste by boat through the Great Lakes but has no stance on ground transport.

McMullan said approving agencies on both sides of the border must show there’s no risk.

“I think the onus is on the approving agencies to ensure there will be no risk to the public, which includes no risk to our waterways,” he said.

But the public shouldn’t be concerned about the waste, whether it is carried by trucks or trains, said Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority chairman Bruce Timms.

Read full article

 

But maybe the residents of the Niagara area should be worried, at least a little.

Trucks with radioactive cargo fail inspections

Since 2010, more than one truck in seven carrying radioactive material has been pulled off the road by Ontario ministry of transportation inspectors for failing safety or other requirements.
 
The information is contained in a notice quietly filed with a panel studying a proposal to store low- and intermediate-level nuclear waste in deep underground near Kincardine.
 
The information filed doesn’t specify what sort of radioactive cargos the trucks were carrying. In theory, it could have been anything from uranium fuel for nuclear reactors, to radioactive isotopes for medical use.
Personally, I’d rather be safe than sorry.
 
A spokesman for Ontario Power Generation said that none of its nuclear shipments has failed a vehicle inspection.
 
“We have zero tolerance” for failed inspections, Neal Kelly said. “We’ve got no infractions. Period.”
 
What the information does show is that since 2010, inspectors have examined 102 trucks carrying “Class 7 Dangerous Goods (Radioactive material.)”
 
Of those, 16 were placed “out-of-service,” which means the vehicle “must be repaired or the violation corrected before it is allowed to proceed.”

Lakeside nuclear waste a risk worth protesting

Background:
 
London is the largest city in Southwestern Ontario, situated
about 100 kilometers due east of Sarnia and about 150 km
south of Kincardine — where Ontario Power Generation (OPG) 
wants to dump all of the nuclear waste from all of Ontario’s 
20 nuclear power reactors (except for the irradiated nuclear 
fuel) into a Deep Geological Repository (DGR) that is destined 
to become, in actual fact, a Deep Underground Dump (DUD).
 
OPG has the stated intention of abandoning the nuclear waste 
there, in a limestone/shale formation, less than a mile from 
Lake Huron.  (Mm-mm-good.  Lots of water nearby.  Just the
thing for spreading nuclear waste far and wide.  Share the
wealth, I always say…. Hmmm.)  
 
London is a pretty conservative little city, a retirement haven
for many, and it is one of many municipalities that has passed
a resolution against the proposed Lake Huron nuclear waste
dump. And the London Free Press editorial staff has seldom 
if ever advocated protesting against anything, which makes 
the accompanying article all the more remarkable.
 
–Gordon Edwards.

from: London Free Press

Lakeside nuclear waste a risk worth protesting

It’s our source of drinking water and a natural wonder of the world.

But soon land near Lake Huron could become the host for buried nuclear waste whose radioactive risks would last 100,000 years.

Ontario Power Generation is seeking federal approval to bury enough nuclear waste to fill 80 Olympic-sized swimming pools on the Bruce Power site. Its computer models predict the waste can be safely contained beneath layers of shale and limestone 700 metres below ground and one kilometre from the lake.

Kincardine and other nearby communities would be paid $35 million by 2035.

But not everyone shares in the optimistic forecasts of Ontario Power Generation, a company owned by the province that provides about 60% of Ontario’s electricity, much of that through nuclear generating plants.

Environmental groups point out the Great Lakes were formed by glaciers only 10,000 years ago so it’s problematic predicting what will happen to them the next 100,000 years, whether seismic forces powerful enough to create the lakes might someday rip them apart.

Even if shale and limestone make a solid vault, environmentalists ask about the shafts that would be bored through them to place the nuclear waste — can those shafts be effectively plugged?

Taking the questions together, at their core is this critical inquiry: Will burying nuclear waste pose a risk to Lake Huron and all of us who count on the great, natural body of water to sustain us?

That question has sparked a flurry of activity across the border. Both U.S. senators for Michigan, Debbie Stabenow and Carl Levin, have sent a letter to United States Secretary of State John Kerry asking him to intervene and demand an inquiry by a panel of Canadian and American scientists set up to protect the Great Lakes, the International Joint Commission.

With so much at stake, it only makes sense that we in Southwestern Ontario look after our backyard.

Do some research.

Write to your MP.

Attend a public meeting set for London Nov. 20 at the Central Library.

Don’t take the health of our lake or our need for reliable electricity for granted

Terrible nuke stuff going on in northern Saskatchewan

Audio link below.  From Before it’s news:

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

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

LISTEN TO THE SHOW

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

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

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

Confidentiality Clause

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

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

Section G: Other Promises

Pinehouse Promises to:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

LISTEN TO THE SHOW

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

Notes

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

About that Chalk River Fiasco…

Remember the thoroughly abusive Stephen Harper knifing at Linda Keen over the nuke facility at Chalk River? Well, now there’s some interesting stuff written about the Chalk River reactor. This pdf, from Dr. Gordon Edwards, President of the Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Safety, for example, with the following preamble:

Background:

I have recently completed a document related to the relicensing of Canada’s Chalk River Laboratories.

It is addressed to the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission and is a submission to CNSC on behalf of the Concerned Citizens of Renfrew Country.

I have entitled it “Canada’s Nuclear Sacrifice Area” for public consumption, although this title was not included on the CNSC submission.

It includes some eye-opening material on the NRU reactor and the production of medical radioisotopes at Chalk River.

Gordon Edwards.

Rising child leukemia rates near U.S. nuclear power plants

Radiation and Public Health Project is “a nonprofit educational and scientific organization, established by scientists and physicians dedicated to understanding the relationships between low-level, nuclear radiation and public health.”  In November 2008, released a study conducted by epidemiologist Joseph Mangano MPH MBA and toxicologist Janette Sherman MD of the Environmental Institute at Western Michigan University and as reported in the European Journal of Cancer Care, which shows rising child leukemia rates near U.S. nuclear power plants over the past two decades.

The carcinogenic effects of radiation exposure are most severe among infants and children. Leukemia is the type of childhood cancer most closely associated with exposures to toxic agents such as radiation, and has been most frequently studied by scientists. In the U.S., childhood leukemia incidence has risen 28.7% from 1975-2004 according to CDC data…


Is this really what we want for the children of Saskatchewan?  I would think not, especially when clear alternatives are available.  The mastermind of Germany’s green-energy law says

Ontario could power itself exclusively on renewable energy one day if it thought differently about the operation and design of its entire electricity system.

So, if Ontario, with its millions of households, can be envisioned operating on green renewables for electricty then surely Saskatchewan, with only one million people, can do so sooner and better!

Oh, but then there’s that bit about thinking differently.  And old boys around here aren’t so good at that, eh?



Safety research on nuke burial plan lags by decades

My favourite part in the story below is this bit regarding the public outcry about the lack of “adequate scientific backing” for the radioactive-waste facility slated for Ontario.

“The big motivation here is to bury OPG’s biggest public relations problem – which is radioactive waste . . . . They want to move ahead with building new nuclear reactors, and they need to be able to say they’ve solved the radioactive waste problem.”

Ted Gruetzner, spokesman for Ontario Power Generation, plays down such talk.

“They’re an anti-nuclear group who have an anti-nuclear bent,” he says. “It’s kind of what you expect them to say.”

Well, DUH!  That’s some response.  Attack the messenger is such a valid argument, eh?  Whadda crock o’shite!

Being the poet, I am interested in the phrase “nuclear sacrifice zone” which indicates that a certain portion of land around Kincardine has already been contaminated and suggests that the industry may as well further contaminate it.  That kind of thinking is not at all good for Mother Earth!

The Canadian Press: Safety research on nuke burial plan lags by decades

Safety research on nuke burial plan lags by decades

OTTAWA — As plans progress for a radioactive-waste site buried deep in Ontario limestone, the federal nuclear watchdog says the related safety research is full of holes.

Ontario Power Generation wants a licence by 2012 to bury low-to intermediate-level radioactive waste at its Bruce nuclear plant near Kincardine, Ont.

It’s the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission’s job to approve or reject that application.

But environmental critics and geoscientific experts are asking how the federal regulator can credibly assess crucial safety issues – especially when the commission itself says it lacks up-to-date, independent research.

Moreover, specific guidelines to oversee the project have yet to receive final federal approval.

“Compared to the European countries, research in Canada on geological disposal in sedimentary rocks is lagging behind by decades,” the nuclear regulator says in background documents for a contract recently awarded to hydrogeologist Kent Novakowski through Queen’s University.

In the next three years, he will gather the latest research from countries including France and Japan, along with studies commissioned in Kincardine by Ontario Power Generation (OPG).

Novakowski, who has worked as a consultant for OPG, will study the extent to which radioactive contaminants could be diffused through tiny pores in the 680 metres of sedimentary limestone under which they’re to be buried.

“What we want to do is assess realistically what the likelihood or the travel time might be for a contaminant to reach a potential receptor (such as) somebody who’s drinking the water at the surface, or it could be discharged into a stream or something like that,” he said in an interview.

The Bruce station, built between 1970 and 1987, is one of the biggest nuclear facilities in North America. It can power much of Toronto, Ottawa, Kingston, Hamilton, London and Thunder Bay.

It also produces radioactive waste that until now has been stored in sealed casks onsite.

The subterranean repository for those materials would be split into two wings: one for low-level radioactive garbage in sealed boxes, the other for intermediate-level items such as plastic resins and liners.

OPG is expected to argue before the federal regulator that its own seismic and geochemistry studies suggest the site has been stable for centuries with only prehistoric water migration.

Environmental groups and First Nations in the region aren’t sold.

The Citizens Environmental Alliance last June gave OPG the dubious 2008 Weenie Award for environmental degradation. It blasted the giant utility for planning the repository so close to Lake Huron – a precious freshwater resource.

“Once a facility like this is built it is more than likely going to be the permanent site” for nuclear waste from across Canada, alliance research and policy director Derek Coronado said at the time.

“Any contamination of the Great Lakes and we’re all in serious trouble.”

Environmental activists want more focus on renewable energy sources such as wind and solar power.

Shawn Patrick Stensil, energy and climate campaigner for Greenpeace, says the environmental assessment for the underground site is a cart-before-the-horse process that can’t be completed by 2012.

“There’s no way we will have adequate scientific backing for this project by the time OPG would like to complete the environmental assessment.”

The nuclear safety commission knows more about the kind of granite found in the Canadian Shield than the sedimentary rock at the Bruce location, concedes Patsy Thompson, the regulator’s director general for environmental and radiation protection.

But she insists the safety commission isn’t starting from scratch. “Essentially what we’re doing is complementing the expertise that we have,” she said.

“We know what the waste is, we know its characteristics, we know how it behaves, and we have experience in terms of management of waste in similar situations. It’s a huge project but it’s not something that we have no experience with.”

Stensil argues that Kincardine was chosen not because it’s ideal but because it’s already “a nuclear sacrifice zone” hitched to the industry’s wagon.

“The big motivation here is to bury OPG’s biggest public relations problem – which is radioactive waste . . . . They want to move ahead with building new nuclear reactors, and they need to be able to say they’ve solved the radioactive waste problem.”

Ted Gruetzner, spokesman for Ontario Power Generation, plays down such talk.

“They’re an anti-nuclear group who have an anti-nuclear bent,” he says. “It’s kind of what you expect them to say.”

He cites a range of studies being done on a project encouraged by local mayors and residents – thousands of whom rely on jobs linked to the power plant.

“There isn’t the concern in the community that may be expressed by people who don’t live close and haven’t taken the time to really understand what we’re proposing. That being said, we have said from the very start that the reason that you do these scientific studies is that you can then make a rational decision – and based on scientific facts.

“And if it’s not a safe project to proceed, then we won’t proceed.”

Gruetzner confirmed no other sites are being considered for the repository. “The site was chosen because that’s where this material has been stored since the reactors have been operating.”

Novakowski, the Queen’s professor commissioned to work on behalf of the federal nuclear watchdog, concedes his prior work for OPG could raise questions.

The reality is that only a small pool of scientists are trained for such research – and they tend to share their expertise with governments, the nuclear industry and critics alike, he said.

“It could be argued that I might favour OPG because I would be afraid of losing contractual work with them again,” Novakowski said.

“I guess the response would be: this is no different than any of the other research contracts that I have . . . anywhere between 10 to 15 at a time. I work extensively for the Ministry of the Environment, for example. They support about a third of my graduate students.”

He has also been asked to do some work on behalf of concerned First Nations in the Kincardine area.

Copyright © 2008 The Canadian Press. All rights reserved.