#Nuclear Obfuscation?

West coast people might be wondering about this horrible headline from Counterpunch:
A Global Threat

Fukushima Fallout Damaged the Thyroids of California Babies

by CHRIS BUSBY

A new study of the effects of tiny quantities of radioactive fallout from Fukushima on the health of babies born in California shows a significant excess of hypothyroidism caused by the radioactive contamination travelling 5,000 miles across the Pacific. The article will be published next week in the peer-reviewed journal Open Journal of Pediatrics.

 

Counter that with this and one can see how people might be torn:

Ontario nuclear reactor shutdown triggers medical isotope shortage

HELEN BRANSWELL

TORONTO — The Canadian Press

An unplanned shutdown of the aging Chalk River nuclear reactor has the country on the verge of a major shortage of medical isotopes, the president of the Canadian Association of Nuclear Medicine said Friday.

Dr. Norman Laurin said the forced shutdown of production at the Chalk River facility comes at a time when two of the world’s three other major producers of medical isotopes are also out of operation.

 

The Doctor incorrectly identifies the problem as being the shutdowns.  A thorough reading of the Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility’s documents suggests that the  larger problem is AECL.  Before nuclear fission was discovered, there were other ways to make the radioisotopes necessary for imaging.

…radio-isotopes have been used in nuclear medicine, industry and scientific research, for a very long time, starting around 1900 — half a century before the first nuclear reactors were built.

At first, the radio-isotopes utilized were naturally-occurring ones such as radium-226, radium-224, radon-222, polonium-210, tritium (hydrogen-3), carbon-14, et cetera. Even today, “radium needles” and “radon seeds” are used to shrink cancerous tumours, and polonium-210 is used in industrial devices to eliminate static electricity. These naturally occurring radioactive substances have nothing to do with the operation of nuclear reactors.

Later, in the 1940s, when the first particle accelerators were built (beginning with the cyclotron of Ernest Lawrence in California) a host of artificial radio-isotopes became available — produced not by the fissioning of uranium, not by neutron bombardment inside a nuclear reactor, but simply by colliding a beam of accelerated subatomic particles with various target materials.

And as Politics’n’Poetry has discussed in the past, other new, non-nuclear ways have since been developed.  But the  nuclear industry’s stranglehold on the market prevails.

Politics’n’Poetry has discussed the Chalk River facility in the past.  Visitors may want to refresh their memories regarding it.  Of particular interest is the paper presented  by Dr. Gordon Edwards to the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, the body that licenses reactors.  Have these been addressed?  Ask your MP.

It seems there’s a shortage of isotopes every time the aging facility has to shut down.  Isn’t it time to invest in alternatives?

 

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WTF? A Poem?

WTF?

A bunch of racist sexist homophobic nutbarsGOP nazis
spreading shit like this is somehow okay
in the land of the free, home of the brave?

Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act (PRENDA) pretends
to prevent race-based abortions, steals from
the civil rights legacy to curb choice

and slams Planned Parenthood in its bid
to serve adherents of white supremacist ideas.

How interesting that Malcolm X and MLK
supported women’s reproductive freedom.

 

c. 2012-02-06 Politics’n’Poetry

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…

A stream of nuke news

Grab a coffee or tea.  Find a snack.  Lots of linky news today so this could take a while!

First up:  A Calgary nuke company, Kirrin Resources, is not going to expand its exploration for uranium in Quebec.  That’s good news for Quebec’s citizens.  Not so good for Saskatchewan though.  A few days ago, the company said they’re moving into Saskatchewan.

Kirrin Resources Inc. said it will enter into a 70-30 joint venture with Majesta Resources Inc. on the 36,287-hectare Key Lake Southwest property after agreeing to a deal worth roughly $3.3 million.

Next? A guy who thinks he knows something about nuclear reactors because he once worked at one, is now a nuke promoter.  Read it and weep.

The IFR uses higher energy neutrons — “fast” neutrons — to cause the fuel atoms to split and release their energy. This particular kind of fast reactor can use all the various isotopes of uranium in its fuel load. Therefore, costly enrichment procedures are not needed to make reactor fuel. This reactor also can use the various trans-uranic elements as fuel. This is important. All of the extremely long-lived fission byproducts of pressurized water reactors just happen to be fuel material for this fast neutron reactor.

The non-usable material in used-up IFR fuel has a half life of about 500 years. This is still a long period of time but much more manageable than a period of billions of years. Further, the volume or mass of this material will be considerably less.

It gets better.

Better?  Ya, right!  Where do they find these guys?  How much do they pay them?

More newsHuffPo points to a Mother Jones piece questioning Obama’s recent support for the nuke industry.

The Obama administration has embarked on a high-stakes gamble: devoting billions of dollars to an expansion of nuclear power in the hope of winning Republican votes for a climate bill. But in its eagerness to drum up bipartisan support for one of the hardest sells on Obama’s policy agenda, is the administration turning a blind eye to the financial risk?

Bradford, the former nuclear regulator, observes that if the Georgia reactors alone defaulted, taxpayers could be left with a bill of as much as $8.3 billion. “If the Tea Party folks ever figure that out, the [DOE] building is going to be three floors deep in tea bags,” he says. “This administration desperately needs someone to point out that this emperor isn’t wearing any clothes.”

Citizens in the USA ain’t necessarily buying Obama’s nuke dreams.  A US blogger, Greenhoof, calls Obama’s nuke promotion a “greenwashing.” That’s a good word, one I need to consider using more often.  S/he tells it like it is:

President Obama has justified his proposed $55 billion in taxpayer-backed loan guarantees for new nuclear reactors by misrepresenting nuclear reactors as the largest “carbon-free” energy source in the United States.  That’s like saying McDonald’s should be put in charge of a nationwide obesity campaign because it’s the largest restaurant in the U.S. that sells salads.

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.

More stuff:  Here’s a little tidbit from Australia, another uranium-producing nation with a strong no-nukes movement.

James Neal Blue who helped devise the Predator unmanned aircraft that are in use in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, is the director of a company that bought the Four Mile uranium mine in Australia. Blue is the chairman of Quasar Resources, which is affiliated with General Atomics, a major United States weapons and nuclear energy corporation. General Atomics reportedly holds $700 million in Pentagon contracts. The Four Mile mine is located next to the Beverly Uranium mine, with is owned by another affiliate of General Atomics.

I guess all those pro-nukers like to play in one big tub, eh?  Here’s more on that Ozzie deal.

More CA news:  A Canadian reporter did the math on the Canadian government’s contribution to the nuclear industry and it’s not good!  “Over two years, we’re talking more than $1.1 billion” being spent, about half of it going to the AECL.  Remember the Chalk River Fiasco?

Oy!

Finally, this, from Kazakhstan:

Leading energy and mining firms from Russia, China, Japan, France and Canada have already invested billions here. Kazakhstan, meanwhile, is seeking to leverage its ore into a larger role in the global nuclear industry and has taken a stake in the U.S.-based nuclear giant Westinghouse.

Only the nation’s fledgling environmental movement has dared object, pointing out that Kazakhstan has yet to recover from its days as the Soviet Union’s main atomic test site.

The Soviets conducted 456 nuclear blasts in northeastern Kazakhstan, more than anyone else anywhere in the world. Much of the region remains contaminated, residents suffer elevated rates of cancer and other radiation-related illnesses, and babies continue to be born with deformities.

“Nothing good can come of the world’s push for nuclear energy, and we should understand this better because of our past,” said Mels Eleusizov, a veteran environmentalist who complains that the uranium industry is shrouded in secrecy, with no independent monitoring.

Indeed, nothing good can come from nukes and nukers, no matter how you wash it.

Sorry for the length.  Lots going on these days…

Words of Caution to SK Taxpayers

Again, a little something from the Inbox for you, dear Reader.  What I can’t figure out is why the Canadian Tax Payers Federation isn’t in a big huff about all this!

Tax-payers are already paying, or will pay for:
– the research and other costs of developing the tar sands (roads,
infrastructure, etc.)
– the water reservoirs (dams) needed for the nuclear reactors (billions of dollars)
– most of the costs of a nuclear reactor (billions of dollars)
– all the costs of the power transmission lines (billions of dollars)
– radioactive waste disposal costs (billions of dollars for eternity) and
– we are paying for lobbyists in Washington.

Taxpayers should be aware of how much money we are, or will be, contributing to the nuclear and to the tar sands companies – – unless we take a stand. The best place to take a stand is on whether or not we want nuclear reactors here. It is not us that needs them as an energy source. If we don’t want nuclear reactors and we stop them, the huge energy source needed for tar sands development does not exist – – unless the Government is willing to use up natural gas supplies for tar sands processing. That would mean running us out of a relatively clean energy source to develop a very dirty energy source, and notwithstanding the fact that most of the infrastructure for heating our homes is for natural gas. The reactors have to have access to large volumes of water. We stopped (at least temporarily) the construction of the HighGate Dam on the North Saskatchewan River near the Battlefords. We would have paid billions of dollars for the HighGate Dam or “reservoirs” as the Government likes to call them.

The assumption of the Government is that these projects are going to proceed:

Wall Heads to Washington

Tuesday, 03 March 2009

The province will have some representation at an Energy Council in the US this week.

Premier Brad Wall will be giving a major speech at the council, which goes from tomorrow until Saturday. Wall plans to talk about carbon capture and clean investments in the province, as well as nuclear opportunities.

March 8, 2009 FINANCIAL POST

http://www.canada.com/Sask+premier+pushes+clean+energy+technology/1366452/story.html

… Wall spent part of his trip to Washington scouting D.C. lobby firms, with the intention of hiring one to protect the province’s interests on Capitol Hill.

“We hope to get a firm that’s not just got some ability to open some political doors. We need to continue to open financial doors and attract capital to the province,” he said.

“They would be boots on the ground in the Capitol.”

During meetings with several prominent U.S. lawmakers – including senators Joe Lieberman and Lindsey Graham – Wall also discussed Saskatchewan’s interest in developing small nuclear reactor technology as a way to replace the burning of natural gas in the production of oilsands oil.

“There are challenges and risk to these technologies, but we will cause ourselves innumerable more problems if our default position is to do nothing,” Wall said.

Of course, certain risks come with having a higher profile in Washington – especially regarding energy and the environment.

Alberta had early success promoting itself as a safe and secure source of foreign oil, but is now struggling to combat anti-oilsands sentiment among U.S. lawmakers under pressure from the environmental lobby.”

Nuclear Waste Has No Place to Go

Nuclear Waste Has No Place to Go | CommonDreams.org

Published on Wednesday, March 11, 2009 by the Chicago Tribune
Nuclear Waste Has No Place to Go
Obama budget kills Nevada storage site for used radioactive fuel rods piling up near power plants

by Michael Hawthorne

In a pool of water just a football field away from Lake Michigan, about 1,000 tons of highly radioactive fuel from the scuttled Zion Nuclear Power Station is waiting for someplace else to spend a few thousand years.

[Zion Nuclear Power Station in Illinois has been shuttered for years, but its waste lives on. The lack of a permanent solution for such waste poses a serious challenge to the industry’s plans to build more reactors. (David Trotman-Wilkins / Chicago Tribune)]Zion Nuclear Power Station in Illinois has been shuttered for years, but its waste lives on. The lack of a permanent solution for such waste poses a serious challenge to the industry’s plans to build more reactors. (David Trotman-Wilkins / Chicago Tribune)
The wait just got longer.

President Barack Obama’s proposed budget all but kills the Yucca Mountain project, the controversial site where the U.S. nuclear industry’s spent fuel rods were supposed to end up in permanent storage deep below the Nevada desert. There are no other plans in the works, meaning the waste for now will remain next to Zion and 104 other reactors scattered across the country.

Obama has said too many questions remain about whether storing waste at Yucca Mountain is safe, and his decision fulfills a campaign promise. But it also renews nagging questions about what to do with the radioactive waste steadily accumulating in 35 states.

With seven nuclear plant sites, Illinois relies more heavily on nuclear power and has a larger stockpile of spent fuel than any other state. Besides Zion near Lake Michigan, plants storing waste are sited along the Illinois, Rock and Mississippi Rivers.

Customers of ComEd and other nuclear utilities have shelled out $10 billion to develop the Yucca Mountain site in spare-change-size charges tacked on to electric bills. Most of that money will have been wasted, and experts forecast that billions more will be spent on damage suits from utilities that counted on the federal government to come up with a burial ground.

Reversing course from previous administrations satisfies critics in Nevada, including Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, but triggers another round of maneuvering and regional bickering in Congress.

“We are drifting toward a permanent policy of keeping extremely toxic waste next to the Great Lakes, and that cannot stand,” said U.S. Rep. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.).

More than 57,000 tons of spent fuel rods already are stored next to reactors, just a few yards away from containment buildings where they once generated nuclear-heated steam to drive massive electrical turbines. More than 7,100 tons are stored in Illinois, including at the Zion facility in Chicago’s northern suburbs.

The lack of a permanent solution poses a serious challenge to the industry’s plans to build more than 30 new reactors. Existing nuclear plants already produce 2,000 tons of the long-lived waste each year, most of which is moved into pools of chilled water that allow the spent-but still highly lethal-uranium-235 to slowly and safely decay.

But containment pools never were intended to store all of the spent fuel that a reactor creates. The idea was that the cool water would stabilize the enriched uranium until it could be sent to a reprocessing plant or stored in a centralized location.

Instead it keeps piling up. And though industry officials insist the waste is safely stored in fenced-off buildings lined with concrete and lead, concerns remain that a leak or a terrorist attack could create an environmental catastrophe.

As power companies run out of space in their containment pools, they increasingly are storing the waste above ground in concrete and metal casks; the Zion plant’s spent fuel rods eventually are to be moved into casks a little farther away from Lake Michigan.

“We continue to ask the federal government to provide a clear solution for what the long-term storage of spent fuel will be,” said Marshall Murphy, spokesman for Exelon Nuclear, which owns Illinois’ plants.

Until now, the solution was Yucca Mountain, a dusty mountain of volcanic rock about 100 miles northwest of Las Vegas that Congress chose in the late 1980s as a permanent repository. Federal officials spent the last two decades-and billions of dollars-preparing to bury spent fuel in a series of fortified tunnels drilled into the mountain.

Without further funding the project will wind up as a very expensive hole in the ground.

The repository’s apparent demise is part science and part politics. Recent studies have shown that water flows through the mountain much faster than previously thought, raising concerns that radioactive leaks could contaminate drinking water supplies. More than anything else, though, the project is opposed by two powerful politicians: Reid and Obama, who is calling for more study to find a better solution.

Chicago-based Exelon Corp., the parent company of ComEd and Exelon Nuclear, is seeking to extend the life of its reactors, most of which were built in the 1970s. It also wants to build a new reactor at the Clinton Power Station south of Bloomington. Company officials have said that won’t be possible without an alternative to Yucca.
Copyright © 2009, Chicago Tribune

Mohawk Grandmothers Attacked at Canada-US Border Crossing

From the Inbox via Canadians for Aboriginal Justice on Facebook

NE ELDER SAVED BY A HEART ATTACK – ANOTHER ELDER MISSING IN ACTION:

MOHAWK GRANDMOTHERS ATTACKED AT CANADA-US BORDER CROSSING ON UNCEDED
HAUDENOSAUNEE LAND
Monday, June 16, 2008

Mohawk Elder and Grandmother, Kahentinetha Horn suffered a heart attack, Saturday, June 14, 2008 during a vicious, unprovoked assault by OPP (Ontario Provincial Police) and border agents at Cornwall, in Akwesasne community. She had been beaten and handcuffed when she collapsed. Earlier when she was pulled over, Kahentinetha immediately contacted her brother, a lawyer, on her cellphone. The entire incident was being filmed as her brother rushed to the scene just in time to call an ambulance for her.

Meanwhile, Elder and Grandmother Katenies of Akwesasne was beaten and taken prisoner to an as yet undisclosed location. We are very concerned about her safety. We demand to know of her whereabouts and that she be released immediately.

A few months ago, Julian Fantino put out the word, warning Kahentinetha not to set foot in Ontario or else… She is the publisher of MNN (Mohawk Native News) and regular internet reports that are very critical of police and government actions toward Indigenous people. Her articles often clearly state the legalities/realities of the situation that Canada is a corporation
plundering unceded Turtle Island. The land and resources belong to the
Ongwehoneh people. Canada’s huge debt to us will bankrupt them forever.

The other day, while Stephen Harper was making a public apology to
Indigenous for the crimes of the residential schools, he was also
preparing to send the army in at 6 nations. Brantford city mayor has
requested it, stating his city police cannot handle another ‘Mohawk
uprising’, in other words, peaceful protests against housing development where non resident, nonNatives attack the protesters while the police watch. The Ontario Conservatives call for military intervention every day.

On Saturday, border agents were pulling over every Native person.
Kahentinetha and Katenies were traveling in Akwesasne in the course of
their regular activities and were caught up in the dragnet. Did Fantino
set up a trap for the two outspoken, Mohawk grandmothers? We suspect that Kahentinetha would have been killed at a secret location had she not had a heart attack and been taken to hospital.

Immediately following this incident, many Mohawks and supporters started to gather at Akwesasne. Kahentinetha and Katenies’ attackers want them to accept being Canadian or else they will kill them and anyone else who resists colonization. This low level warfare is playing out on the ‘border’ between Canada and the US, an imaginary line drawn right through the Mohawk community of Akwesasne and through Haudenosaunee territory which is a vast area on BOTH sides of the Great Lakes.

This Great Lakes area is also a proposed center for the New World Order. Many
military plans are underway including nuclear submarines in the Great
Lakes and JTF2, Aerospace Warfare Center and NATO FOB (Forward Operating Base) at a new base being built at Trenton, near Tyendinaga Mohawk community. Tyendinaga was attacked by OPP/SWAT in April when Mohawks protested housing development there.

If Canadians are so damned sorry about the abuse of Native people, why is this still happening? Why do people remain silent when Mohawk elders and grandmothers are attacked like this? We are under constant surveillance and threats and attacks while our land continues to be plundered and pillaged. Was this a failed assassination attempt ordered by Julian Fantino, commissioner of OPP and head of the biggest gang in the area?

We must demand answers and get answers. This attempted genocide must cease. We will never give up.
Call or write to politicians, media, action lists including international.
Get the word out now!!!
——————–

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