Anti-nukers organizing!

This just landed in the inbox, from a Saskatchewan organizer:

(1) PARADISE HILL, 400 TO 500 PEOPLE CAME!

Paradise Hill, SK, 2001 population: 486
(Source: Statistics Canada)

Between 400 and 500 people attended the meeting in the Kinsmen Hall. All
the chairs were put out. Still, the back wall
Was lined by people – standing room only.

For me it was quite amazing. People came from miles around, and from
Alberta. Men, women, teen-agers and a few children.

The meeting started at 7:30pm. People remained intently focused on the
presentation and then the questions/answers. You didn’t hear fidgeting,
coughing or chairs scraping the floor. The odd small cry from a baby.
Otherwise it was people absorbing and processing information. For
two-and-a-half hours.

The questions were excellent. A lot of people were very well informed –
they’d done research, probably on the internet – it showed in the questions.

Jim Harding, retired U of Regina professor and author of “Canada’s Deadly
Secret: Saskatchewan Uranium and the Global Nuclear System” gave a
presentation. Between his presentation and his responses to questions from
the audience, some of the topics addressed were:

– the lack of, and need for public participation in the decisions around
nuclear development in the province
– in response to the question, “Why do we need this extra energy?”, Jim
addressed the feasibility study published by Bruce Power last fall. A
legitimate feasibility would have addressed this question. It didn’t
address that or the spectrum of options that are available.
– Saskatchewan is a small power grid. The construction of one large
nuclear reactor does not make sense if you are an engineer at SaskPower who
is designing the best way to supply the population with a reliable energy
source at a reasonable price. Nuclear reactors are notorious for down-time.

– The Nuclear Advisory Committee report is due by the end of March.
Sitting on the Advisory Panel are heads of Bruce Power, Cameco, and Areva.
Patrick Moore who is not from Saskatchewan and who is funded by the American
Nuclear Energy Institute is a member of the panel. (See note on him – –
#5.)
– water-related issues
– health and environmental health issues
– the nuclear chain down to depleted uranium
(Aside: whenever people talk about “depleted” uranium and “spent” fuel
rods, I want to correct the language. The words “depleted” and “spent” make
them sound benign. They are radioactive, anything but depleted or spent.)
– costs to future generations, especially in relation to the radioactive
waste which will have to be managed for thousands of years.
– globally, a downward trend line for the percentage of energy that is
nuclear
– one woman asked about the disposal of radioactive waste: if a nuclear
reactor is built in Saskatchewan, will that not open the door to us becoming
the disposal site for radioactive waste for all of Canada and further?
– the experience of the Americans with Yucca Mountain. They are unable to
find a place to get rid of their radioactive waste.
– tritium in water supplies
– one fellow asked if he was right: it seems to him that the industry
people will make all the money and that we will pay all the costs.
– a woman originally from Germany told of her family’s experience in the
aftermath of the accident, even though they were thousands of miles from
Chernobyl. (Children had to be kept indoors. They couldn’t eat the food
grown outside.)

SOS (Save Our Saskatchewan), the local group that organized the meeting
invited Bruce Power and the MLA to attend the meeting, Jim invited anyone
from the audience that might be from BP or the government to join the
discussion, but no one came forward.

I don’t know how many people signed the petition.

There were very good brochures on various topics related to the
nuclear/uranium question. I saw them in the hands of many of the people in
attendance.

At the end of the meeting, people fell into small groups as they will do in
communities. The determination of the people in the group I joined (people
new to me), was quite fierce. It was reflective of a sentiment expressed
through the questions and heard in snippets of other conversations. These
400 to 500 people are going out into their communities. They will be
spreading the word and putting their muscle into the fight against nuclear
reactors.

The people in Warman SK stopped a uranium processing plant in the 1980’s.
Unfortunately for the people in Ontario it got built there. The people who
came to Paradise Hill are going to stop a nuclear reactor being built there.
But they are also dedicated to helping the other communities along the North
Sask River (the alternate sites) in the same battle.

=====================

(2) PASS THE NUCLEAR REACTOR TO BORDEN, SK

The between-communities passing of information is incredible.

In the polite conversations between the land-owners approached by Bruce
Power, and the BP representative, talk sometimes got around to, “If not
here, where would BP be looking to build a reactor?”.

The answer:
– at Borden (near a bend in the River – good siting because the water flows
faster at the bend)
– or near Saint Louis.

Between last night and today there has already been a flurry of activity at
Borden. Thanks to the people at Paradise Hill!

Do you know anyone from Saint Louis? They should be told that they may be
next on the firing line.

======================

(3) SOS! MEETING IN P.A.-LANDOWNERS APPROACHED, ARE LOOKING FOR A GROUP
LIKE SOS IN PARADISE

Need some help here:
A fellow from Prince Albert contacted the SOS group in Paradise Hill today.
There is no group he knows of in the P.A. area, and land owners have already
been approached by BP.

The only way I can think of to get people in P.A. connected is through Jim
Harding’s presentation:

Thursday, March 12 – 1:00 pm at the SIAST Woodland Campus, Prince Albert

Please spread the word.

Also, Jim will be:
Wednesday, March 11 – 7:30 pm at the Shellbrook Legion Hall
(just off main street by the Post Office)

These are free public meetings (but donations more than welcome!)

Question & Answer and Discussion Period to follow

======================

(4) WATER USE AT NUCLEAR PLANTS, FROM THE UNION OF CONCERNED SCIENTISTS

Many thanks to Kevin. This will be put to good use!

Got Water?

http://www.ucsusa.org/assets/documents/nuclear_power/20071204-ucs-brief-got-
water.pdf

=====================

(5) PATRICK MOORE, ON THE NUCLEAR ADVISORY PANEL

http://www.nuclearspin.org/index.php/Patrick_Moore
” Along with former U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator
Christine Todd Whitman, Patrick Moore launched a new nuclear public
relations campaign in the US in May 2006 called the Clean and Safe Energy
Coalition [15]. The Coalition was organised and funded by the Nuclear Energy
Institute, with help from the public relations firm, Hill and Knowlton that
has a $8 million account with the nuclear industry. [16]

According to Environment News Services: “Nuclear power advocates are hoping
that Moore and Whitman can sell the American public on the benefits of
nuclear power and help spark the resurgence of an industry that has not
constructed a new plant in some 30 years”. [17]

An editorial in the Colombia Journalism Review noted the benefit to the
nuclear industry of having Moore and Whitman front their PR exercise, as in
subsequent media articles Moore was often quoted as a “founder of
Greenpeace” or an “environmentalist,” but not as a paid consultant to the
nuclear industry: “Life is complicated. So are front people for industry
causes – or any cause, in a world of increasingly sophisticated p.r. We have
no position on nuclear power. We just find it maddening that Hill & Knowlton
… should have such an easy time working the press”.[18]

In an article together, Moore and Whitman argued the coalition will “help
raise awareness of the benefits of clean and safe nuclear energy and
continue to build support for nuclear energy as a component of a
comprehensive plan to meet America’s future electricity needs”. [19]

The name of the coalition is no co-incidence, nor was the language used in
the article, such as clean, cheap and safe. It reflects a world-wide public
relations push by the nuclear industry to portray itself as “clean” and
“safe”.”

=========================

(6) AECL SEES NUCLEAR POTENTIAL. SASK GOVERNMENT HAS EXPRESSED INTEREST IN
PARTNERSHIP

Many thanks to Willi.

AECL sees nuclear potential; Sask. government has expressed interest in
forming partnership
The StarPhoenix (Saskatoon)
Thursday, March 5, 2009
Page: C7 / FRONT
Section: Business
Byline: Joanne Paulson
Source: The StarPhoenix

Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd. (AECL) sees bright possibilities for nuclear
research and development in Saskatchewan, not just the building of a power
plant, says its director of marketing and business development.

Ron Oberth was in Saskatoon Wednesday to meet with business leaders and
university officials to discuss the potential for partnerships with AECL.

“Right now, it’s ‘small p’ partnerships. We haven’t had any formal
discussions with anybody,” Oberth said in an interview.

AECL, a Crown corporation, is one of three nuclear plant manufacturers being
considered by Bruce Power should it decide to build a power plant in
Saskatchewan.

However, there are other possibilities, said Oberth. At present, all of the
nuclear research and development in Canada is done at Chalk River, Ont.

“We’ve also said to Saskatchewan, in addition to a power reactor, there are
many other opportunities that we are looking at — for example isotope
production, or perhaps a research reactor, or the production of hydrogen,”
said Oberth.

Hydrogen is used in tarsands upgrading and has potential in transportation,
said Oberth. When hydrogen is produced with nuclear technology, no
greenhouse gases are created, he added.

Premier Brad Wall likes the concept of smaller reactors, noted Oberth, and
it’s possible to set up a team to investigate the design of such reactors
suitable for hydrogen creation.

These kinds of potential uses are “a nice fit” for Saskatchewan, he said.

“What we would like to do is collaborate with University of Saskatchewan
officials and help set up a nuclear centre of excellence that would
complement and augment some of the work that’s going on at Chalk River,”
said Oberth.

AECL has chosen Saskatchewan as a potential location for such research
because of the interest of the government, the university’s facilities
including the Canadian Light Source synchrotron for nuclear materials
research and the uranium mined in the province’s North.

Much has been said recently about the province of Saskatchewan’s interest in
forming partnerships with AECL. The Saskatchewan Party government has
expressed interest in such partnerships, but has said it will not take a
financial position in AECL.

New research potential is the unique thing AECL could bring to Saskatchewan,
which the other two nuclear power plant developers would not, said Oberth.

“You’d be getting a reactor designed either in Pittsburgh mainly or in
France. All of the engineering would be done off-shore, and you’d have a
power plant,” said Oberth.

Last Friday, AECL submitted a bid for the next two reactors to be built in
Ontario. AECL is up against Westinghouse, an American firm, and Areva, the
French government-owned company. They are the same two companies being
considered, along with AECL, by Bruce Power.

“It was a major day in the company’s history,” said Oberth.

“That’s a must-win for us because that’s our home field. We as a company
must win the order for the next two reactors in Ontario to be able to
succeed internationally and (in) the rest of Canada.”

The agency running the tender process, Infrastructure Ontario, will make a
decision June 20.

The reactor model, an Advanced Candu Reactor 1000, is the same model AECL
would put forward to Bruce Power. It produces 1,085 megawatts of power.

AECL has experienced a few setbacks in recent years. The National Research
Universal (NRU) reactor, which manufactures medical radioisotopes, was shut
down in 2007 for upgrading, after the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission
said the reactor was out of compliance. The shutdown created a temporary
shortage of isotopes.

Last year, AECL also abandoned development of its Maple reactors, which were
intended to replace the NRU reactor. The decision was made based on a series
of reviews after Maple failed several tests.

=========================

(7) NO NEW NUKES IN ONTARIO — A TEACH-IN Mar 13-14 (Film, Battle of
Chernobyl)

Mar 13-14, 2009, at the U of T, Toronto, Ontario

(Many thanks to Robert)

Join us for a teach-in on nuclear energy in Ontario. What
are the concerns surrounding nuclear energy, and what are
the alternatives?

Registration is now live! To register go to
http://nuketeachin.eventbrite.com

On the evening of Friday March 13 at 7:00 p.m. there will a
screening of the film Battle of Chernobyl. Earth Sciences
Auditorium (ES 1050), U of T. For a description of the movie
see http://icarusfilms.com/new2007/batt.html

Workshops will be held all day on Saturday Mar. 14, 10 a.m.
to 4 p.m. in the Kofffler Centre, Room 108, U of T

This conference will provide valuable information on the
cost, the health effects, the ethical considerations, and
the effectiveness of nuclear energy as compared to
alternatives (e.g. renewable energy sources).

For more info: nuketeachin@yahoo.ca

What’s Wrong With Nuclear? – links, organizations, resources
http://www.planetfriendly.net/energy.html#nuclear
http://directory.google.com/Top/Society/Issues/Environment/Nuclear/

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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.