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

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Length (58:55)
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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.

Plutonium to Travel St. Lawrence Seaway?

Oh boy, ohboy, ohboy!  That’s some hot commodity!

The Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility, Radioactive Waste Management Associates (Bellows Falls, Vermont), Beyond Nuclear (Takoma Park, Maryland), and the Citizens for Alternatives to Chemical Contamination (Michigan) have issued a media release as part of their co-ordinated attempt to block BP’s shipment of radioactive waste through the St. Lawrence Seaway and to Sweden.

 

Several prominent non-governmental organizations are accusing Bruce Power (BP) of misleading the public, the media and decision-makers about the kind of contamination inside the cargo of 16 radioactive steam generators it plans to ship to Sweden, by neglecting to state that it is mainly plutonium.

BP has applied to the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) for a licence to transport the radioactive cargo through the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway en route to Sweden. CNSC staff has acknowledged that the proposed shipment exceeds by at least 6 times the maximum amount of
radioactivity normally allowed on a single vessel.

BP has trivialized the danger of this proposed shipment by referring to the cargo as “low level radioactivity.” But according to BP’s own figures, about 90 percent of the mass of radioactive material inside the steam generators is plutonium — a highly toxic, long-lived radioactive poison. On its web site, Studsvik – the Swedish company that plans to melt down most of the
radioactive metal and sell it as scrap for use in any number of commercial products – calls the innards of the steam generators “highy radioactive”

 

“Highly radioactive” seems too mild a phrase for the extremely dangerous nature of this substance.   No wonder communities on both sides of the border are organizing to stop this!

 

The plutonium inside the steam generators gives off very little highly penetrating radiation, and therefore cannot be detected from the outside. But it gives off alpha radiation, which is 20 times more biologically damaging than beta or gamma radiation per unit of energy when deposited in living tissue. Any accidental spill will pose a serious long-lived contamination problem.
“Simple arithmetic shows that the amount of plutonium-239 inside the 16 steam generators is enough, in principle, to give more than 52 million atomic workers their maximum permissible ‘body burden’ of 0.7 micrograms,” said Dr. Marvin
Resnikoff of Radioactive Waste Management Associates in Vermont.
“And if the other plutonium isotopes inside the steam generator (plutonium-238, plutonium-240, plutonium-241 and plutonium-242) are factored in, the number of workers that could be overdosed is doubled,” added Dr. Edwards.
BP’s planned shipment of 1600 tonnes of radioactive waste through the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence has been met with concerted opposition from over 100 municipalities and aboriginal communities along the route, as well as from
more than 70 NGOs. In response to this public outcry, CNSC held a public hearing in September with 79 intervenors. The outpouring of concern at that hearing led CNSC to extend the comment period for intervenors to give added input until November 22 — an unexpected and unprecedented development.
Most of the intervenors want Bruce Power to cancel the shipment and return to the original plan as laid down in a 2006 Environmental Assessment : to store the steam generators on site indefinitely as radioactive waste along with all the other radioactive waste materials produced by the Bruce reactors.
“Radioactive waste should be isolated from the human environment, not transported halfway around the world, and certainly not dispersed into consumer products,” said Kevin Kamps of Beyond Nuclear.

 

I should think that consumer products made from nuked materials would be unacceptable the world over!  Shouldn’t they? Wouldn’t they?

 

 

 

The Crash of France’s Nuclear Poster Child

The Star Phoenix has boostered the nuclear industry in SK, no doubt. In fact, in 2007 it cited AREVA as one of Saskatchewan’s top 100 companies.  Funny, that, because that top company just layed off a shwack of employees. (This is SK, remember, with a population of just over a million. Definitions of shwack vary across the country!)

For those who want to know more about how AREVA’s going down the tubes, here’s an excellent essay by Harvey Wasserman:

Areva’s Money Meltdown: The Crash of France’s Nuclear Poster Child

The myth of a successful nuclear power industry in France has melted into financial chaos. With it dies the corporate-hyped poster child for a “nuclear renaissance” of new reactor construction that is drowning in red ink and radioactive waste. Areva, France’s nationally-owned corporate atomic façade, has plunged into a deep financial crisis led by a devastating shortage of cash. Electricite de France, the French national utility, has been raided by European Union officials charging that its price-fixing may be undermining competition throughout the continent. Delays and cost overruns continue to escalate at Areva’s catastrophic Olkiluoto reactor construction project in Finland. Areva has admitted to a $2.2 billion, or 55%, cost increase in the Finnish building site after three and a half years. The Flamanville project—the only one now being built in France—is already over $1 billion more expensive than projected after a single year under construction.

Widely portrayed as the model of corporate success, reactor-builder Areva is desperately short of money. As it begs a bailout from its
dominant owner, the French government, Areva’s mismanagement and overextension in promoting and building new reactors has
wrecked its image in worldwide capital markets. According to Mycle Schneider, Paris-based author of “Nuclear Power in France—
Beyond the Myth,” Areva shares have plunged by over 60% since June 2008, twice as much as the CAC40, the standard indicator of
the 40 largest French companies on the stock market.

EdF and Areva are at the core of what has been labeled as the global “nuclear renaissance.” Their escalating money problems underscore
an epic failure that has been a significant factor in the current global economic crisis. After a half- century of massive government
subsidies in the US, UK, France and elsewhere, atomic energy still staggers under an unsustainable load of high construction costs and
uncompetitive prices for the electricity it generates.
EdF’s recent $17.5 billion takeover of nuke utility British Energy came with a warning from EdF officials that England’s commitment to
wind turbines could undermine the future of nuclear power. The statement evoked widespread astonishment and scorn from the
environmental community.

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.”