The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

Saskatchewan plan to clean up neglected Gunnar uranium mine site

Plan for cleaning up uranium tailings ready for approval BY ALEX MACPHERSON, THE STARPHOENIX SEPTEMBER 28, 2015 The cleanup of a derelict northern Saskatchewan uranium mine could move one step closer this week.

The Saskatchewan Research Council (SRC) — which is overseeing the multi-million-dollar Gunnar Remediation Project on behalf of the provincial government — will present its plan to cover the site’s three tailings deposits at a Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) hearing in Ottawa on Wednesday.

Canada’s nuclear watchdog will consider evidence presented by all interested parties, including the SRC and northern First Nations, before making its decision, which is expected in about six weeks, a CNSC spokesman said Monday…..

After Gunnar ceased production in 1963, the open pit and underground works were flooded with water from Lake Athabasca. The mine was abandoned the following year with little other decommissioning work.

“There was no Department of Environment when those mines were abandoned,” said Ann Coxworth, a nuclear chemist and member of the Saskatchewan Environmental Society board. “At the time, there was, I would say, rather limited understanding of the hazards of leaving those tailings in an unmanaged condition.”

The absence of baseline studies and the insidious effects of radioactive contamination make assessing the Gunnar site’s environmental impact difficult, but it’s clear the work needed to be done, Coxworth said.

“We know that it can’t be cleaned up. (But) the situation can certainly be improved.”……..

Jack Flett, regulatory affairs coordinator for the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation, said he hopes work on the Gunnar site continues.

“For me, it’s water,” he said, noting that the northern Alberta First Nation is downstream of the Gunnar mine. “Water is everything. Water is life.”…..


September 30, 2015 Posted by | Canada, environment, Uranium | Leave a comment

Radioactivity In Our Ocean: Fukushima & Its Impact On The Pacific

Ken Buesseler, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Sep 14, 2015:

  • 1:02:15 — Buesseler: “There have been ongoing releases… being maintained at higher levelsThe groundwater is almost impossible to stop, so that will continue for decades… very hard to contain. Ice dams, things you can engineer to stop them, have never been done on this scale before, so it’s hard to predict what’s going to happen.”
  • 1:09:30 — Audience Q&A: “Can anyone — scientists, physicists, anyone — really estimate the levels that are coming out of Fukushima on a daily basis? This rain event… how could anyone possibly estimate what is going it’s disingenuousto make these kind of assumptions — that it ‘probably’ won’t be a problem in the future. How can anyone say that? It’s never happened before… I don’t know where these predictions can really be nailed down, and was wondering your opinion on that as a couple of ‘good scientists’ (laughs).”
  • 1:11:00 — Buesseler: “Fair points. It’s never happened before, it’s somewhat unpredictable and dynamic… There’s certainly not enough information. I was very frustrated after the rain event to find almost no information about the amount and levels that were in the ocean… There are some monitoring sites right in the harbor, and you can actually see the level of cesium go up from 1,000 of my units to 3,000 — so there was an impact. How long that’s going to continue? I can’t tell  you… How it’s going to change in the future? We hope it gets back down to the levels that were near zero, but it never will be. It’s going to be — for decades, anyway — a site of continuous releasethat’s what keeps me up at night, are continuous leaks that could happen at that site.”

September 22, 2015 Posted by | Canada, Japan, USA | , | Leave a comment

New CEO for CANDU Nuclear Reactor Marketer Lavalin – Amid corruption scandal

text-cat-questionIs this crooked Canadian nuclear company the one that is advising South Australia’s
Nuclear Fuel Chain Royal Commission?
SNC-Lavalin replaces CEO amid more allegations,  Company says departure “completely unrelated” to flag-canadacorruptioncivil lawsuit allegations by ex-VP Riadh Ben Aissa
CBC News, By John Nicol, Dave Seglins, CBC News Posted: Sep 14, 2015
 SNC-Lavalin Inc. announced this morning it has replaced president and CEO Bob Card with Neil Bruce, and told CBC News the move is “completely unrelated” to new allegations, published today, in a civil suit that claims giving bribes to win contracts was part of the past practices of the company.The Montreal-based engineering firm, which Card took over in the spring of 2012 to clean up past issues, faced new allegations Monday from a former executive who claims the company has made him a “scapegoat,” and alleges other top executives for years endorsed bribes and lavish gifts — including a yacht and even prostitutes — to win contracts from Libya’s Gadhafi regime.The serious allegations by Riadh Ben Aïssa, SNC’s former executive vice-president of construction, are contained in a newly filed court pleading as he defends himself against one of a number of civil lawsuits by the company, which itself is facing criminal charges of foreign corruption.

“SNC is only trying to use Ben Aïssa as a scapegoat by presenting him as solely responsible for acts that SNC was fully aware of, accepted and encouraged,” the court pleading states, naming a list of former CEOs, executive vice-presidents and the former chief financial officer.

“After having behaved as such for many years, SNC now tries to escape unscathed by blaming all its acts on Ben Aïssa.”……..

Bribes won billions in workBen Aïssa is back in Canada after serving 2½ years in a Swiss jail, having admitted to corruption and money laundering tied to SNC projects in Libya. He’s awaiting trial alongside former CEO PierreDuhaime on charges of fraud for $22.5 million in alleged bribes paid to win SNC the contract to build a Montreal superhospital……….

Ben Aïssa sets out a long list of SNC contracts in Libya, worth billions, that arose from the partnership and that he alleges were won through kickbacks paid to side agents.

“Most of SNC’s senior executives knew that the so-called agency contracts were in reality bribes paid to Libyan foreign officials in exchange for the award of the sole-source contract,” the former construction executive alleges.

What’s more, Ben Aïssa declares the money was “fraudulently charged back” to the Libyan government by embedding the costs in the project before SNC submitted its offers.

Gifts: yacht, prostitutes, Spice Girls………

September 19, 2015 Posted by | Canada, Legal, secrets,lies and civil liberties | Leave a comment

Continuing legal battle over SNC-Lavalin, marketers of CANDU nuclear reactors

World Bank’s appeal over SNC-Lavalin to be heard by Supreme Court JEFF GRAY – LAW REPORTER The Globe and Mail Jul. 02, 2015 A battle over whether the World Bank can be forced to produce its files on the bribery probe in Bangladesh that later resulted in Canadian criminal charges against three former SNC-Lavalin Group Inc. employees is going to the Supreme Court of Canada.

The Washington, D.C.-based World Bank is challenging an Ontario Superior Court decision that ordered it to produce documents related to its investigation of bribery allegations around a multibillion-dollar project to build a bridge in Bangladesh.

The Supreme Court of Canada announced on Thursday that it would hear the case. A date has not been set.

It’s the latest twist in the corruption allegations that for years have swirled around Montreal-based SNC-Lavalin, Canada’s largest engineering firm, which also faces separate RCMP charges related to allegations that $47.7-million in bribes were paid to win contracts in Libya under the regime of the late dictator Moammar Gadhafi.

Starting in 2010, the World Bank conducted its own investigation into allegations around a bid by SNC-Lavalin for a $10-million contract to manage the construction of Bangladesh’s multibillion-dollar Padma Bridge project, which was being financed by the World Bank.

In 2011, the World Bank brought those allegations, including information from four unnamed “tipsters,” to the RCMP. Based solely on this information, the Mounties obtained permission to wiretap conversations. The RCMP then raided SNC-Lavalin’s Oakville, Ont., offices in September, 2011.

In 2012, the RCMP laid bribery charges against two now former SNC-Lavalin employees: Mohammad Ismail, the company’s former director of international projects, and his boss Ramesh Shah, a former vice-president of SNC’s international division.

In 2013, it added charges against Kevin Wallace, who was SNC’s vice-president of energy and infrastructure, and Zulfiquar Bhuiyan, a businessman with dual Canadian-Bangladeshi citizenship who was not an SNC employee but who is alleged to have been a representative of a senior Bangladeshi official, Abdul Chowdhury……

September 18, 2015 Posted by | Canada, Legal | Leave a comment

Michigan residents urged to submit comments on Canada’s nuclear waste dump plan – Congressman Dan Kildee –

Bruce NGS Great Lakes Lake HuronCongressman Dan Kildee Urges Michiganders to Submit Comments on Canadian Plan to Bury Nuclear Waste on the Shores of the Great Lakes August 19, 2015 Current 90-Day Comment Period ‘Critical Opportunity’ for Citizens to Have Voices Heard and Stop Plan, Kildee Says

Congressman Dan Kildee (MI-05) today announced a new community initiative today to protect the Great Lakes and encourage Michigan residents to get involved to stop a Canadian plan to bury nuclear waste less than a mile from Lake Huron.

Currently, Canada has opened a 90-day comment period seeking comments from both U.S. and Canadian citizens on the proposed plan. Today Congressman Kildee, joined by Michigan Senate Democratic Leader Jim Ananich and concerned citizens, announced a new write-in campaign to the Canadian Minister of the Environment to ensure that Michiganders’ voices are heard on this important issue that threatens our Great Lakes. Instructions on how to submit public comments are below.

“We must protect the Great Lakes from harm, including from the threat of Canadian nuclear waste,” Congressman Kildee said. “Burying nuclear waste less than a mile from Lake Huron just doesn’t make sense and is too much of a risk to take, especially considering nuclear material remains radioactive for thousands of years. There is growing opposition to this plan, both in the U.S. and Canada, and now Michiganders have a chance to be heard and express their views too. I encourage all Michigan residents to speak up and submit comments to Canadian officials during this open comment period to demonstrate that Michigan stands united against this threat to our Great Lakes.”

Today’s announcement in Flint is the latest effort by Congressman Kildee in recent weeks to raise awareness about the potential Canadian plan and stop the burying of nuclear waste so close to the Great Lakes. Last week, along with Senators Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters, Congressman Kildee announced new legislation to invoke the Boundary Waters Treaty of 1909 and mandate that a new study be conducted to examine the proposal’s risks………

To date, 168 municipalities – in both the U.S. and Canada – have passed resolutions opposing the plan, including Flint, Mich., Bay County, Mich.; Toronto, Ontario; Chicago, Ill.; Wayne County, Mich.; Milwaukee, Wisc.; Essex County, Ontario; and Rochester County, New York. The Michigan State Senate also has passed a resolution opposing the Canadian nuclear waste storage site.

To submit their comments, Michigan residents must write to the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency by September 1, 2015. Comments can be submitted by mail or email.

Anyone who would like to submit comments by mail should send them to: Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency; 22nd Floor, 160 Elgin Street, Ottawa ON K1A 0H3

Anyone who would like to submit comments by email should send them

August 31, 2015 Posted by | Canada, politics, politics international, USA | Leave a comment

Has SNC-Lavalin fouled up again? Literally

bad-smell-nukeflag-canadaRaw sewage backups at MUHC superhospital test relations with SNC-Lavalin AARON DERFEL, MONTREAL GAZETTE August 26, 2015 ,Black sewer water that “smells worse than rotten fish” is backing up drains and pooling in patient bathrooms at the new Montreal Children’s Hospital, angering staff who say the problem is widespread and keeps popping up despite the fact that plumbers are called in regularly to snake the drains.

The plumbing problems are the latest in a series of glitches — as many as 14,000 — that continue to plague the $1.3-billion superhospital of the McGill University Health Centre, and are sorely testing relations between the MUHC and design-build contractor SNC-Lavalin.

The superhospital was built as a public-private partnership, with the Quebec engineering firm acting as the lead partner in a private consortium that is the landlord of the property. Unlike the Old Montreal Children’s where the MUHC could do what it wanted with the building as the sole owner, SNC-Lavalin is responsible for maintaining the superhospital and fixing plumbing, electrical and other problems.

But the MUHC has been at loggerheads with SNC-Lavalin over a wide range of “deficiencies” — from faulty wiring to leaking ceilings — since before the superhospital opened at the Glen site in the spring. The public-private partnership was supposed to transfer the risk of any cost overruns from the public sector to the private partner, but SNC-Lavalin is nonetheless seeking more than $172 million in “extras” from the MUHC over the construction……..
SNC-Lavalin won the contract in 2010 to build the MUHC superhospital after a competition with a Spanish-led consortium. Former SNC-Lavalin executives now face criminal charges alleging that they made $22.5 million in bribes to former MUHC officials to win the contract.

August 29, 2015 Posted by | Canada, secrets,lies and civil liberties | Leave a comment

Fraud, Corruption charges against SNC Lavalin (nuclear advisor to South Australia?)

text-cat-questionIs South Australia’s Royal Commission considering SNC Lavalin’s technology for South Australia? Did SNC Lavalin put in  asubmission? (we won’t know, because commercial submissions are “in confidence”)

South Australia’s Nuclear Fuel Chain Commission visited Toronto on 14tth July and had discussions on
the CANDU reactor design and technology. That CANDU technology is owned and marketed by SNC Lavalin.

corruptionflag-canadaRCMP charges SNC-Lavalin with fraud and corruption linked to Libyan projects Graeme Hamilton, Financial Post Staff | February
19, 2015MONTREAL
– Once a jewel of the Quebec business establishment, SNC-Lavalin Group Inc. now stands criminally accused of fraud and corruption after the RCMP announced charges against the engineering giant Thursday.

The case against SNC and two of its subsidiaries stems from the company’s dealings in Libya between 2001 and 2011, when a senior executive established close ties with Saadi Gaddafi, son of dictator Muammar Gaddafi.

Court documents allege the company offered bribes worth $47.7 million “to one or several public officials of the ‘Great Socialist People’s Libyan Arab Jamahiriya,’” as Gaddafi called the nation he ruled until he was overthrown and killed in 2011.

SNC and its subsidiaries SNC-Lavalin Construction Inc. and SNC-Lavalin International Inc. are also alleged to have defrauded various Libyan public agencies of approximately $129.8 million.

“Corruption of foreign officials undermines good governance and sustainable economic development,” RCMP Assistant Commissioner Gilles Michaud said Thursday. “The charges laid today demonstrate how the RCMP continues to support Canada’s international commitments and safeguard its integrity and reputation.”

For SNC, the charges represent another black cloud in a storm the company has been trying to escape since a tip from Swiss authorities triggered the RCMP investigation, dubbed Project Assistance, in 2011……..

The RCMP investigation has already led to charges against former SNC executives Sami Bebawi and Stéphane Roy as well as Mr. Bebawi’s lawyer, Constantine Kyres. Riadh Ben Aissa, a former SNC vice-president, pleaded guilty in Switzerland last year to charges of corruption and money laundering related to SNC’s Libyan business. He has been extradited to Canada where he is facing fraud charges related to the awarding of the McGill University Health Centre contract to SNC. Former SNC CEO Pierre Duhaime is facing similar charges in connection with the MUHC project.

The charges, filed Thursday in Montreal, do not specify who received the bribes, but a previously released RCMP affidavit, containing unproven allegations, described Saadi Gaddafi as a major recipient of SNC’s largesse.

“Riadh Ben Aissa’s close relationship with Saadi Gaddafi was a major asset to SNC-Lavalin who was well aware of it and fostered the relationship,” the affidavit sworn in 2013 by Cpl. Alexandre Beaulieu said………

The contracts landed by SNC were grandiose projects with names to please the vanity of a dictator ……..

n Quebec, there was concern Thursday about the impact the new charges will have on a major economic player. The Federation of Quebec Chambers of Commerce issued a statement saying the charges cannot be allowed to harm SNC’s business. “We have to stop collectively knocking ourselves down and move to a reconstruction phase,” the federation said.

Karl Moore, a professor at McGill University’s Desautels Faculty of Management, said the charges come at a bad time for SNC. “They’ve actually really changed,” he said. “They’ve changed the culture and it’s squeaky clean. It’s one of the best engineering firms, from a compliance point of view, in the world.”

He does not think the company’s survival is at stake, but it will suffer. “This puts a bit of a cloud on them. When they’re out there seeing clients, there is some concern, and competitors will bring it up,” he said. “If I’m a competitor of SNC, I would take considerable delight in pointing out [its] weaknesses.”

The company has been ordered to appear in court in Montreal on April 14.

August 28, 2015 Posted by | Canada, secrets,lies and civil liberties | Leave a comment

How Canada’s PM Harper removed the teeth of the nation’s nuclear watchdog

flag-canadaHow Harper turned a nuclear watchdog into a lapdog

Blogpost by Shawn-Patrick Stensil – August 19, 2015 As Prime Minister, Stephen Harper is famous for his preoccupation with controlling the flow of information. When it comes to nuclear safety, however, this obsession with information control has transformed our supposedly-independent watchdog into a lapdog.A glaring example of this is the decision of the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) to suppress an accident study detailing risks to Toronto in the event of a major accident at the Darlington nuclear station, and order it re-written so as to smooth the project’s passage through the public hearings process. To protect Canadians, the next federal government needs to clean up the CNSC.

Greenpeace and other environment groups asked the Commission today to release a study censored by CNSC staff because it apparently reveals weaknesses of offsite emergency response around the Darlington nuclear station.

We learned the study had been suppressed by requesting documents under federal Access to Information legislation, but its cover-up fits with the Harper government’s ongoing attack on our democratic institutions.

For a decade now the Harper government has gagged scientists, intimidated independent government watchdogs, and gutted environmental protection laws.  All these attacks have a common objective: prevent the release of any information at odds with Harper’s goal of making Canada an energy “super power”.Whether it’s Alberta’s tar sands or Ontario and Saskatchewan’s nuclear industry, Harper’s endgame was to deny Canadians information that puts dirty power in a bad light.

The CNSC decision to suppress this public safety shows how much Harper’s succeeded.

One of Harper’s first attacks on arms-length watchdogs was when he fired the CNSC’s former president Linda Keen in 2008.

Keen was fired because she had the audacity to tell the Canadian nuclear industry they’d need to meet modern international nuclear safety standards if they wanted to build new reactors.

This angered the nuclear lobby, and especially the engineering giant SNC-Lavalin, who wanted to build new reactors on the cheap by cutting back on safety systems by building an outdated pre-Chernobyl, pre-September 11th reactor design.

SNC-Lavalin set out to have Keen ousted and found a sympathetic ear with Harper.  Letting environmental protection block industry expansion is anathema to goals of the Harper government.  Harper fired Keen and installed a more industry-friendly president.

The new president Michael Binder quickly remade the Commission in Harper’s image.   The CNSC became an industry cheerleader with Binder even providing promotional quotes for industry press releases.

While the Harper government gutted environmental laws, Binder let it be known that environmental reviews would be little more than a foregone conclusion under his watch anyway.

And the muzzling of government scientists appears to be alive and well at the CNSC.

A 2014 Environics survey of federal scientists found CNSC staff often feel that politics trumps science at the Commission

CNSC scientists are the most likely (94%) to report “interference” with their manuscripts in the civil service. They are also the second most likely (57%) to be aware of incidents where the safety of Canadians had been compromised due to political interference.

The censored study we asked for today is a tangible example of how public safety assessments are being re-written for political ends.

In 2014, the CNSC released a severe accident study purportedly assessing the impacts of a “severe”accident at the Darlington nuclear station.

Such an assessment is needed because Ontario Power Generation (OPG) wants to extend the lives of four aging reactors at Darlington.   Sitting just 60 km from downtown Toronto the Darlington reactors are located in Canada’s densely populated. This raises questions about the ability of Canada’s largest city to cope with a major nuclear accident.

The public had also pushed for this study.  Following the Fukushima disaster hundreds of citizens called for such a study. It was a reasonable request.  Believe it or not, the CNSC has never studied the consequences of a major Fukushima-scale accident in Canada.

CNSC staff reluctantly relented and committed to produce an accident study before hearings on OPG’s application to rebuild the aging Darlington reactors later this year.

But eyebrows were raised when the CNSC finally published the promised study in 2014.  Media coverage focused on the study’s rather anti-intuitive conclusion:  a severe accident at Darlington would have a negligible impact on the Greater Toronto Area (GTA).

I learned later the reason for the curious conclusion.   Senior CNSC management had suppressed the original study, which did look at a Fukushima-scale radiation release.

According to documents I received through Access to Information, senior CNSC management stopped the release of the original study when apprised of its findings.   They instructed staff to redo the study and exclude scenarios leading to a Fukushima-scale radiation release.

The justification to censor the study provided by CNSC Director Francois Rinfret shows how the CNSC has operationalized Harper’s policy of suppressing any evidence at odds with the expansion of major energy projects.

After Rinfret reviewed the study in early 2013, Rinfet told staff:

“I have taken a quick look at the draft submitted; indeed, this will become a focal point of any licence renewal, and despite brilliant attempts to caution readers, this document would be used malevolent-ly [sic] in a public hearingIt’s a no-win proposition whatever whatever (sic) we think the Commission requested.”

We were refused the details of the study, but Rinfret’s comments suggest the study reveals significant threats to public safety.

This makes sense.  Ontario’s nuclear emergency plans effectively pre-date Chernobyl.     Population is growing across the Greater Toronto Area (GTA).   There are surely weaknesses, especially in light of Fukushima.

An independent watchdog mandated to protect public safety would publish the data and use the information to improve safety requirements.  But under Harper the CNSC is a lapdog with a mandate to protect the image and profits of the industry it regulates.

CNSC management were clearly concerned the study would be used to challenge the adequacy of the CNSC’s safety requirements.   Worse, the public could decide the Darlington life-extension just isn’t worth the risk.   Under the Harper regime, such inconvenient information is suppressed instead of being addressed by the government agencies.

We have nevertheless asked for the Commission to release the study.  If public safety is at risk, it must be released – and we all need to call for its release.

Whatever the Commission’s response, Harper has created a dangerous culture at the CNSC.  It puts Canadians at risk.

The public had good reason to ask for an assessment of the impacts of a Fukushima-type accident.   Accidents are happening about once a decade internationally, and we need to know if Toronto could cope with such an event at Darlington before OPG is allowed to spend billions rebuilding the station.

As became clear after the Fukushima disaster, Japan’s industry-friendly nuclear regulator was a key cause of the accident.

Under Harper’s watch, the CNSC has been transformed from a watchdog into a lapdog.  The parallels with Japan’s nuclear regulator before Fukushima are worrisome.

Let’s hope the next federal government cleans up the CNSC.

If you’d like to speak out against OPG’s proposal to rebuild the Darlington nuclear station, please sign-up here.

August 24, 2015 Posted by | Canada, secrets,lies and civil liberties | Leave a comment

WHOI Study Shows Fukushima Contaminated Sediment Moving Offshore

WHOI-Sediment-300x210Researchers deployed time-series sediment traps 115 kilometers (approximately 70 miles) southeast of the nuclear power plant at depths of 500 meters (1,640 feet) and 1,000 meters (3,280 feet). The two traps began collecting samples on July 19, 2011—130 days after the March 11th earthquake and tsunami—and were recovered and reset annually.

WOODS HOLE – Researchers from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution have been studying the effects the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant disaster in 2011 has had in the Pacific Ocean.

WHOI has recently released the results of a three-year study of sediment samples collected offshore in the American Chemical Society’s journal, Environmental Science and Technology.

The purpose of the study is to understand what happens to the Fukushima contaminants after they are buried on the seafloor off of coastal Japan.

The team, led by senior scientist and marine chemist Ken Buesseler, found that a small fraction of contaminated sea floor sediments off Fukushima are moved offshore by typhoons that resuspend radioactive particles in the water, which then travel laterally with Southeasterly currents into the Pacific Ocean.

Researchers used funnel-shaped traps to collect the data at depths of 500 meters and 1,000 meters starting 130 days after the disaster.

The research found radiocesium from the plant along with sediment with a high fraction of clay material in the samples. The clay material is characteristic of shelf and slope sediments and suggest a near shore source.

Buesseler says that more than 99 percent of the contaminated material from the plant moved with the water offshore and that less than 1 percent ended up on the sea floor as buried sediment.


August 21, 2015 Posted by | Canada, Japan, USA | | Leave a comment

Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission called upon to disclose study on nuclear disaster

see-no-evilflag-canadaGroups want full nuclear report released By The Canadian Press, 19 Aug 15, OTTAWA – Environmental groups are urging the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission to release a study on nuclear disaster scenarios that they say was suppressed.

The commission released a study last year looking at health and environmental consequences of accident scenarios, following the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan, but the groups say it wasn’t released in full.

Greenpeace, the Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility and other environmental organizations say emails obtained through access to information requests show management at the nuclear commission censored the original draft.

They say the original study analyzed the impacts of a Fukushima-scale accident at the Darlington nuclear plant, 70 kilometres east of Toronto, but that wasn’t included in the version released to the public.

The groups cite an email from the director of the Darlington regulatory program division that says it would become a “focal point of any licence renewal” and would be used “malevolently” in a public hearing.

The nuclear commission is holding a hearing today in Ottawa on Ontario Power Generation’s application to extend the operating life of four aging Darlington reactors and the environmental groups want the Fukushima-scale analysis released before public submissions are due next month.

“The CNSC has betrayed the public trust by concealing a study revealing risks to Toronto,” said Shawn-Patrick Stensil, a senior energy analyst with Greenpeace. “The study should be released so these hazards can be addressed transparently and appropriate emergency plans put in place.”


August 20, 2015 Posted by | Canada, secrets,lies and civil liberties | Leave a comment

Canada’s radioactive trash dump plan, all too close to USA border

Canada Might Start Dumping Nuclear Waste Near the US Border, VICE, By Arthur White August 19, 2015 A Canadian plan to build an underground nuclear waste dump less than a mile from Lake Huron is getting unfriendly attention from US lawmakers, who are trying to force the Obama administration to invoke a 106-year-old treaty against its northern neighbor.

Bruce NGS Great Lakes Lake Huron

Though a Canadian review panel declared that the proposed Deep Geologic Repository will have “no significant adverse effects on the Great Lakes,” opponents wonder why a site so close to the world’s largest freshwater system was chosen. One environmental group even warned that the project could give terrorists the opportunity to steal radioactive materials and blow up a “dirty bomb” in downtown Toronto.

The project would bury 7 million cubic feet worth of low and intermediate level nuclear waste — including contaminated mop heads, paper towels, floor sweepings, but also filters and reactor components — 2,230 feet underground. Ontario Power Generation, which operates two nuclear power plants in Canada’s most populous province, has chosen a site just north of the lakefront town of Kincardine, after getting approval from the municipality.

The power company claims that the site is “ideal” for containing the waste, which will lay ensconced in limestone under a 660-foot layer of shale, a boundary they call “impermeable.” The risk from earthquakes is low, they say, and the rock formations have been stable for millions of years.

Data from a government earthquake database reveal that over the past 10 years there have been about a half dozen earthquakes roughly 20 miles north of the site. At less than 2 on the Richter scale, all of those tremors were extremely weak. The most powerful quake in the region, which hit 4.3 on the scale, was about 50 miles away.

This March, a review panel recommended that the government approve the dump, claiming that the health risks to people living around the lakes are “virtually zero………

That report was sent to Canada’s environment minister, who is expected to announce a decision in early December.

But many challenge the panel’s impartiality, with the Sierra Club Canada saying it’s stacked with ex-nuclear industry officials, and the Canadian Environmental Law Agency (CELA) calling its report biased, incomplete, and “fundamentally flawed.”

“The members of the panel support nuclear power from the outset,” the Sierra Club’s program director, John Bennett, told VICE News. “They’ve never not approved a project.”

CELA blasted the panel and the power company for only considering a “hypothetical” alternative to the DGR plan, without looking at a single other real-world site to bury the waste………

August 20, 2015 Posted by | Canada, wastes | Leave a comment

North American Animal Decline Since Fukushima

The biological effects of Fukushima contamination are likely to extend far beyond Japan. The use of seawater to cool the reactors produced spherical, uranium peroxide clusters called buckyballs, which are noted for their durability and transportability.

Radioactive Sulfur-35 (35S) was detected in Southern California from 20-28 March 2011. The researchers concluded that neutron leakage transformed salt water chlorine (35Cl) into radioactive 35S through a process of multistage decay.

During roughly that same time period, separate researchers from California State Long Beach sampling kelp offshore found Iodine-131, which has an approximate eight day half-life. The researchers concluded that the iodine-131 was likely deposited by precipitation contaminated with Fukushima fallout.

Contamination transported by wind and precipitation is supplemented by dispersion of radionuclides by ocean currents. Research conducted by Stan-Sion, Enachescu, and Pietre identified arrival of the ocean-borne plume of radionuclides from the initial days of the Fukushima disaster in La Jolla, California, evidenced by a 2.5 factor increase in Iodine-129 and Iodine-127 activity peaking June 18 2013 (date collection ended July 2013).

More plumes of contaminated water are no doubt forthcoming given (1) ongoing dumping of water contaminated with tritium and (2) relentless leakage of water contaminated by the entire range of fission isotopes, with Strontium-90 emerging as particularly salient given spiking levels in Fukushima’s port during the spring of 2015.

Although there is no way of proving causation, a vast number of adverse mortality events occurring in sea life up and down the North American Pacific Coast raises questions about whether Fukushima and tsunami contamination may have interfered with the food cycle or increased susceptibility to disease. 

In 2011 and unusual mortality events were reported for Alaskan walruses, seals, and polar bears, all of which were found to be “suffering from hair loss, skin sores, and unusually lethargic behavior.” No cause was ever identified. Unusual mortality events for California sea lions were reported by the NOAA in 2013, escalating to catastrophic losses in 2015.

Dolphin populations in California also experienced significant mortality events in 2013 and were found to have significantly impaired immune systems. Sardines in the Pacific Northwest experienced also experienced a significant reduction in numbers in 2013, with the November population estimate of 378,000 tons constituting a steep drop from the 1.5 million tons estimated in 2000. 378,000 tons represented the lowest reported in over ten years. The King Salmon population in Alaska declined 73 percent from 2011 to 2012 (Jim Carlton, Wall Street Journal (August 4, 2012) p. A3).

In 2014, starfish were afflicted with a devastating and inexplicable wasting disease up and down the coast of North America.

An unusual mortality event was reported for Alaskan whales in 2015. North American Pacific coast sea birds have also been impacted. Adverse mortality events have afflicted murres and shearwater. Autopsies indicated the shearwaters had a high parasite count and were starving. Auklets living along entire north American pacific coast have also experienced a steep population declines that were described as “just massive, massive, unprecedented” by Julia Parish, a seabird ecologist at the University of Washington who oversees the Coastal Observation and Seabird Survey Team.

Land animals in Alaska and California also experienced significant and inexplicable population declines. 

Western Arctic caribou experienced a decline of 27 percent between 2011 and 2013. Monarch butterfly populations that migrate to a specific area in Mexico experienced a record low in 2013, with their numbers contained by 2.9 acres in 2013, compared to 12 acres between 2003 and 2012. In 2013 California race horses were afflicted with a mysterious affliction that caused them to drop dead suddenly. Bees in California also experienced a significant population decline in 2013: “A mysterious malady that has been killing honeybees en masse for several years appears to have expanded drastically in the last year, commercial beekeepers say, wiping out 40 percent or even 50 percent of the hives needed to pollinate many of the nation’s fruits and vegetables.” The moose population, already in decline prior to Fukushima, fell still further between 2010 and 2014 with one population in Minnesota cut in half between 2010 and 2014.

These data points suggest a trend of accelerating population declines in sea and land life that became very apparent in 2013. 

NOAA officials and scientists queried by the media have not provided definitive answers, often describing the events as perplexing and befuddling. In 2015, large numbers of dying sea lions on California beaches heightened media inquiry.

The most commonly forwarded explanation for their condition was an unprecedented toxic algae bloom of Pseudo-nitzschia, often described as red tide, which produces a neurotoxin named domoic acid. Unusually warm water was figured as responsible for this algae bloom off the coast of California, but no research has been released about potential radionuclide contamination of the bloom, nor were radionuclide results of sampled deceased animals made publicly available, although another species of red tide aglae has been shown to bioaccumulate radionuclides.

Climate change is being forwarded as the generalized and encompassing cause for all animal mortality events, but this explanation ignores the potential contribution of other factors, especially radiation bioaccumulation effects in the wake of the Fukushima crisis.

Moreover, tritium and noble gasses produced by Fukushima (among other radionuclides), particularly Krypton-85, may have played a role in altering climatic and ocean conditions. 

Atmospheric levels of Krypton-85 have increased tremendously throughout the atomic age, raising scientific concerns about atmospheric effects. A 1997 study found significant increases in Krypton-85 in the atmosphere from nuclear explosions and reprocessing, noting that in the mid-1940s there existed less than 5 disintegrations per minute (dpm) per liter of krypton, but by the end of that decade levels had risen to 100 dpm per liter. Samples from the 1990s measured “tens of thousands” of disintegrations per minute per liter. Krypton-85 increases air ionization and electrical conductivity.

A study on Krypton-85 published by the IAEA notes: “There are unforeseeable effects for weather and climate if the krypton-85 content of the earth atmosphere continues to rise. There may be a krypton-specific greenhouse effect and a collapse of the natural atmospheric-electrical field.” Concerns about Krypton-85 levels caused the EPA to announce new regulatory efforts in 2014.

Fukushima reactors 1 through 3 were estimated to have lost their full inventory of Krypton-85, resulting in a release of 44.1 PetaBecquerels, whereas Chernobyl produced 33 PetaBecquerels.

This estimate for Fukushima does not include emissions from the fuel in reactor 4’s spent fuel pool, although that pool was known to have lost water for at least five days. Remember that research from Stohl et al. on Fukushima’s noble gas releases concluded that unit 4 must have also contributed to releases.

The estimate of 44.1 PetaBecquerels of Krypton-85 also does not include ongoing noble gas emissions reported by TEPCO in 2012 and 2015.

Increased ionization of the atmosphere by Krypton-85 may have impacted atmospheric conditions, contributing to the “record drought” in the western US reported in the summer of 2012. Moreover, ionization from the decay of Krypton-85 and other radionuclides could also be contributing to ocean acidification. Many radionuclides, such as tritium and cesium, are water soluble and noble gasses saturate the sea surface, although colder temperatures increase uptake. Radioactive decay can cause oxidation, which promotes acidification. Some algae are better adapted to acidification, including red algae ones that produce domoic acid. Acidification of the world’s oceans was an escalating problem before the Fukushima disaster. The impacts of the unprecedented release of radionuclides, including Krypton-85, Tritium, and Cesium, from Fukushima may be contributing to an array of factors that together present “tipping points” for already stressed ocean life.

As noted in previous chapters, marine defaunation is escalating, reaching critical proportions in some species. Mass animal mortality events can be triggered by complex inputs whose synergies produce “tipping points.” A mass mortality event is defined as a:

rapidly occurring catastrophic demographic events that punctuate background mortality levels. Individual MMEs are staggering in their observed magnitude: removing more than 90% of a population, resulting in the death of more than a billion individuals, or producing 700 million tons of dead biomass in a single event. (1)

Although well documented, science lacks understanding of the major features and characterizations of MMEs, including causes and trends. Scientists studying MMEs have found they are increasing in number and seem connected to a rise in disease emergence, biotoxicity, and events resulting from multiple interacting stressors. MMEs with the largest magnitude resulted from multiple stressors, starvation and disease. Tipping points occur through the convergence of multiple stressors.



[i]           Samuel Fey, Adam Siepielski, Sébastien Nusslé, Kristina Cervantes-Yoshida, Jason Hwan, Eric Huber, Maxfield Fey, Alessandro Catenazzi, and Stephanie Carlson “Recent shifts in the occurrence, cause, and magnitude of animal mass mortality events,” PNAS (2014 early edition),, 1.

Source: Majia’s Blog

August 18, 2015 Posted by | Canada, USA | | Leave a comment

Nunavat hunters want Federal govt not to overrule Nunavut Impact Review Board uranium decision

Nunavut hunters want feds to stay out of uranium mine decision ‘This would be a political disaster for Nunavut, and for Canada,’ Kivalliq Wildlife Board By Sima Sahar Zerehi, for CBC News Posted: Aug 11, 2015 Hunters in Nunavut say if the federal government overrides a recent uranium mining decision from the Nunavut Impact Review Board if will seriously erode the confidence of the Inuit in the regulatory system.

“This would be a political disaster for Nunavut, and for Canada,” states the Kivalliq Wildlife Board in a letter they sent to the minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development yesterday.

“Residents and institutions of Nunavut have spent considerable time and resources participating in the NIRB screening and review of Areva’s proposal,” states the letter, “If you reject the NIRB report and recommendation, residents of Nunavut will question what the point of their participation in this process was.”

This spring, the Nunavut Impact Review Board issued its final report on a proposed uranium mine near Baker Lake. The report rejected Areva’s proposed Kiggavik mine on the grounds that it lacks a definite start date and a development schedule. The review board concluded that without this information it was impossible to assess the environmental and social impacts of the uranium mine.

The French mining company Areva, has asked the minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development to reject that decision. And the region’s hunters and trappers don’t want to see that happen.

“For a company that says they are in support of Inuit organizations to turn around and ask for this was very offensive to our organizations,” says Leah Muckpah, the regional coordinator of the Kivalliq Wildlife Board.

Muckpah says the hunters in Nunavut see the board’s rejection of Areva’s proposal as “a gain to the region.” She says without a clear start date and a land use plan to protect the caribou calving ground, the risks of the project are too high……..

The $2.1 billion project calls for one underground and four open-pit mines just west of Baker Lake.

Areva is in financial turmoil. With the declining market for uranium, even if the project gets the green light, mining may not start for another 10 to 20 years.

August 12, 2015 Posted by | Canada, indigenous issues, politics | Leave a comment

Canada’s pro nuclear government keeps mum about the dangers of radioactive strontium 90

The government puts labels on cigarettes and warns of the danger to health. People have the right to know and the right to smoke cigarettes if they choose. People have the right to know what is in their milk and decide whether or not they want to drink it.

Could it be that the Canadian government’s involvement in the mining, processing and selling of uranium to other countries, its selling of nuclear technology to the world as well as its profiting from Canada’s own nuclear power plants and nuclear research reactors, makes it not want to draw attention to the dangers of radioactivity?

Canada’s Land of Milk and Strontium 90, Enviro reporter,  February 28, 2013 
diagram-Strontium-90We live on the Pacific Northwest coast of Canada. By many accounts, our area was particularly hard hit by the radioactive fallout that came directly over to us, in the jet stream, from the triple meltdown and hydrogen explosions at the nuclear power plant at Fukushima Daiichi, Japan, in March of 2011.

In Seattle, it was reported that the air was so contaminated after the accident that people were breathing in five “hot” radioactive particles a day!

The fallout was found to come down heavily in the rain that is so frequent in this rain forest we call home. Initially Simon Fraser University, in British Columbia, detected Iodine 131 in the rainwater on Burnaby Mountain They also found it in the seaweed on the shores of North Vancouver

Eventually we learned that the Air Monitoring Stations on Vancouver Island had picked up Radioactive Iodine 131 at levels 300 times higher than normal background.

A lab in Washington State found levels of radioactive xenon gas 40,000 times higher than normal levels.

So we knew the fallout had reached us. And we knew that there were at least 200 other radioactive substances that came along with the fallout from the nuclear plant accident. What we didn’t know was the level of contamination.

We learned that in California the tuna, milk, pistachios, naval oranges, prunes, wild mushrooms, strawberries, seaweed, beef, kale and spinach had been shown to be contaminated with radioactivity. However, having watched the jet stream patterns, we saw that our area in south western British Columbia was often missed by the atmospheric airflow from Japan.

After the initial study came out from Simon Fraser University, no more radioisotope studies were conducted by the researchers at that university So we set about trying to find out if anyone else was testing for radioactive fallout in Canada. Continue reading

August 1, 2015 Posted by | Canada, radiation | Leave a comment

Canada’s Nuclear Regulator doesn’t like Bureau d’audiences publiques

nuclear-lobby-put-downCanada’s nuclear regulator slams Quebec uranium review, Resource Clips, by Greg Klein | July 30, 2015 A recommendation against uranium mining in Quebec has come under fire from the federal agency that regulates uranium mining and nuclear energy in Canada. In a July 27 letter to Quebec environment minister David Heurtel, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission criticized the province’s BAPE commission for “conclusions and recommendations that lack scientific basis and rigour.”

Earlier this month, following a year-long review, the provincial government-appointed Bureau d’audiences publiques sur l’environnement suggested Quebec “could decide to suspend uranium mining either temporarily or permanently.” Should the province decide to allow mining, BAPE recommended conditions including consensus-building and additional research that the bureau said would require years to complete……..

“BAPE’s recommendation not to proceed is based on the perceived lack of social acceptance and not on proven science.”

Quebec has no uranium mines. The former Parti Québécois government imposed a moratorium on uranium exploration in March 2013 following the James Bay Cree Nation’s opposition to Strateco Resources’ Matoush project. Saying it had spent $123 million on Matoush, the company launched legal action against the province and has since delisted from the TSX.

As the BAPE inquiry began last year, the Quebec Mineral Exploration Association called for the replacement of chairperson Louis-Gilles Francoeur, whom the association called a “former environmental journalist.”

A decision on BAPE’s recommendations will come from Quebec’s environment minister, who’ll review the report with a committee.

August 1, 2015 Posted by | Canada, politics | Leave a comment


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