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…

Scientist vanishes without trace

I must’ve missed this in the post-holiday haze.  He’s been missing for a month.  And that frightens me.

http://www.thestar.com/news/ontario/article/768621–scientist-vanishes-without-trace

Scientist vanishes without trace

Adrian Morrow Staff Reporter

On Jan. 18, Lachlan Cranswick left the Chalk River nuclear facility, where he worked, and took a bus to Deep River, the small town on the Ottawa River where he lived.

The 41-year-old physicist, whose job entailed running experiments for the National Research Council, had just finished some work for a researcher overseas and left his findings on his desk, to be mailed later.

Sometime that night or the next morning, he took his garbage bins outside for pickup.

Then, he vanished without a trace.

When he didn’t show up for work for several days and missed a game with the local curling club, of which he was a devoted member, his friends went looking for him.

At his house, his door was unlocked and his car was parked in the garage. His wallet, keys and passport were all there. But Cranswick was nowhere to be found.

Now, a month after he was last seen, police say they have done everything they can to find him, but they still have no idea where he is.

“We’re at the end of all the possible information we have received,” said Const. Darin Faris, the Deep River police officer leading the investigation. “There has been no information from the public that has helped.”

Police originally believed Cranswick had gone for a walk on one of the many trails near his house and got lost, Faris said. However, all the items he usually took with him when going for nature walks – a fanny pack, flashlight, whistle to ward off wildlife and a GPS system – were found in his house.

A search of the area with tracking dogs and a helicopter could find no trace of him. Police checked across the Ottawa River, and searched nearby hospitals. They had no luck.

Police, along with the scientist’s colleagues at the National Research Council, have contacted his acquaintances to see if he had been planning to travel.

Faris said Cranswick is known as a well-organized, regimented man who would be unlikely to take a spontaneous trip without telling anyone. He also points to the work left unmailed on the scientist’s desk as evidence he wasn’t planning to leave.

“If he was going to go away for any length of time, or if he was ending his life, he would have finished it up,” he said.

If Cranswick had been murdered or accidentally killed, Faris said, there would be some physical evidence left behind. Police have found none.

Cranswick grew up in Melbourne, Australia, before moving to England as a young man. He worked as an experimental physicist in Britain before taking up his job in Canada in 2003.

The Neutron Beam Centre in Chalk River is used as a laboratory for scientists from around the world to conduct various experiments and academic research. Cranswick’s job was to help them by running tests. His primary specialty was earth sciences and testing samples of substances to find their molecular structure, said colleague Daniel Banks.

Cranswick’s family declined to comment when contacted in Australia by the Star, but said the scientist’s brother had been in Canada for more than a week looking for him.

Nukers lobbied to have Keen fired?

Remember the Chalk River Scandal?  Remember how we got a taste of just how much Harper hates “uppity women”?  Remember how he treated Linda Keen, how he and his cronies fired her for no real reason?

Well, thanks to intrepid reporter, Greg Weston, of Sun Media, P’n’P has learned that

industry insiders say lobbyists had long been trying to get rid of Keen for reasons that had nothing to do with medicine. Their clients were companies that stand to make huge money from the next generation of Canadian nuclear power reactors called the Advanced Candu, or ACR-1000. Rightly or wrongly, it seems, the iron-fisted Keen was getting in the way.

Keen would not agree to conduct a special review of AECL’s new toy design.  But, exit Keen and enter Binder and everything changed!

Almost immediately after Binder took over from Keen, the supposedly independent, quasi-judicial safety commission reversed itself and agreed to conduct a pre-project review of Atomic Energy’s new ACR-1000 reactor design.

Seven months later, the commission concluded its review, finding the new Candu complies with “regulatory requirements and meets the expectations for new nuclear power plants in Canada.”

It’s  like, well, it’s like MAGIC! Or something, eh?

Thanks to BCer in Toronto for pointing me to the article!