The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

Tax battle, indigenous opposition – add to woes of uranium company Cameco

Multi-million dollar tax battle casts shadow over Canada-India uranium deal, Vancouver Observer The Canadian mining company selected to provide uranium to India is still fighting Canada Revenue Agency over millions in unpaid back taxes. Danny Kresnyak
Apr 19th, 2015 “……….. Cameco, the Saskatchewan-based company hired to supply India with 3,220 metric tonnes of uranium over five years, is wrapped up in legal a fight with Canada Revenue Agency over millions in owed taxes. In 2013, the Globe and Mail reported the company owes $800 million in back taxes………

in addition to the tax battle with Canada Revenue Agency, the company’s drilling operations in Saskatchewan are facing significant opposition from the Clearwater Dene First Nation…….

In a road north of La Loche, Saskatchewan, a group called “Holding the Line Northern Trappers Alliance” (HLNNTA) has been camping in the area to block companies from further exploratory drilling in their territory. The group first set up camp last November, and promises to remain until mining companies leave.

The HLNNTA argued they are unable to pursue the traditional, ecologically sound way of life of their ancestors, due to incursion by companies like Cameco looking for mineral deposits on their land.

HLNNTA spokesperson Candyce Paul told the Vancouver Observer she was opposed to the Cameco uranium deal with India. She said “scientific evidence is building towards proving that the uranium mining industry is killing the Indigenous people of northern Saskatchewan.”………

April 22, 2015 Posted by | business and costs, Canada | Leave a comment

Call to Australian and Canadian govts not to sell uranium to India

International call not to sell uranium to India April 15, 2015

QUÉBEC CITY, CANADA: The Australian Conservation Foundation has called on the
India-uranium1Canadian and Australian governments not to further advance controversial plans for uranium sales to India.

The call comes as Australian nuclear free campaigners join Indigenous landowners affected by uranium projects to present at the World Uranium Symposium in Québec.

The conference takes place against the backdrop of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Canada and Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop’s trip New Delhi to advance planned uranium sales.

“Canada and Australia should show responsibility restraint and prudence, as India has been criticised widely over the safety, security and transparency of its nuclear industry,” ACF’s Dave Sweeney said. “Australia and Canada should not rush into uranium sales agreements with India while serious concerns about safety and security remain unresolved.”

Australia’s controversial uranium deal with India has been widely criticised, including by former safeguards director John Carlson, who was for two decades head of Australia’s safeguards regime and was a keen nuclear promoter.  Mr Carlson has raised concernsthat the new treaty’s administrative arrangements could substantially depart from Australia’s usual safeguards conditions, meaning Australia may be unable to keep track of what happens to uranium supplied to India.

Speaking from Québec ACF’s Dave Sweeney called on the Canadian and Australian governments not to further fuel instability in South Asia by selling uranium into the already volatile region.

“Uranium is not like other minerals.  It is the fuel for nuclear weapons and creates carcinogenic waste that lasts for thousands of years,” he said. “Fuelling danger and instability in India is not in the interests of Canada or Australia.”

April 22, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, Canada, India, politics international | Leave a comment

Tritium is a major radioactive pollutant from Canada’s CANDU nuclear power reactors.

safety-symbol-Smhighly-recommendedTritium Traffic: Deadly Dividends for Nuclear Industry, Peace Magazine By David H MartinIn February, 1934, the British journal, New Scientist, published an article by Tom Wilkie, “Old Age Can Kill the Bomb.” It was an ingenious solution to the arms control nightmare of verification; controlling not only the number of weapons, but the strategic materials that fuel them — mainly plutonium, enriched uranium and tritium. Wilkie focused on tritium, because it turns into non-radioactive helium at a rate of 5.5 per cent per year. A halt of tritium production would rapidly cripple all nuclear arsenals. Thus, attention was rivetted on Ontario Hydro’s plan to produce about 57 kilograms of tritium by 2006. A one megaton thermonuclear warhead (equivalent to one million tons of TN”) may contain as little as one gram of tritium.

Tritium (H3) (a form of hydrogen that emits beta radiation), is a major radioactive pollutant from Canada’s CANDU nuclear power reactors. Unlike American reactor systems, the CANDU uses heavy water as a moderator and coolant. The moderator and the heavy water coolant slows down the neutron release from the uranium fuel in the reactor so that a chain reaction can take place. The active ingredient in heavy water is deuterium, another form of hydrogen. When the deuterium picks up a neutron, some of it is transformed into tritium. The concentration of tritium in the heavy water increases with the age of the reactor.

The CANDU reactor system produces 2400 times as much tritium as the American light water reactor. Continue reading

April 20, 2015 Posted by | Canada, environment, radiation, Reference, technology | Leave a comment

Cameco uranium company a “great corporate citizen”? Actually NO!

Don’t call Cameco a “great corporate citizen,” group says BY JASON WARICK, THE STAR PHOENIX APRIL 17, 2015 Governments should not describe Cameco as a “great corporate citizen” while suing the company over a $1.5 billion tax debt, a lobby group says.

“One questions whether governments should promote companies who so flagrantly violate Canadian tax law,” said Dennis Howlett, executive director of Canadians for Tax Fairness………

Howlett noted Cameco is in court for allegedly avoiding payment of $1.5 billion in federal and provincial taxes by funnelling business through a Swiss subsidiary. The IRS in the United States also alleges the mining company owes it more than $30 million. Cameco is disputing the allegations.

Howlett said he wonders what deterrent there is for companies to dodge their taxes if governments continue to praise them. He said it sends all the wrong signals, noting the issue is particularly serious because of the massive amounts involved.

“It is very much a concern,” he said.

Speaking to reporters at the Saskatchewan legislature on Thursday, Wall said he’s been “watching very carefully” as the tax case develops……..

April 20, 2015 Posted by | Canada, Legal, Uranium | Leave a comment

Increased risk of nuclear weapons proliferation, with Canada-India uranium sales deal

Canada-India uranium deal will spur proliferation, experts warn Arms control experts say Canada sends the wrong signal to countries that play by the rules By Evan Dyer, CBC News 17 Apr 15 India test-fired a nuclear-capable ballistic missile Thursday, just hours after signing a deal to buy 3,000 tons of Canadian uranium.The Agni-III missile, which has a range of over 3,000 kilometres, was fired from the Indian army’s test range on Wheeler Island in the Bay of Bengal. India declared the test a success…….While the terms of this week’s deal are not public, the nuclear cooperation agreement, first announced in 2010 and finalized in 2013, includes assurances that India use Canadian material for civilian purposes only……..

some nuclear proliferation experts say India has been able to make such a deal without abiding by the rules set out for most other countries that abide by the international non-proliferation regime. And they warn that countries the West has been attempting to bring into the rules-based system — such as Iran — will be less inclined to submit when they see the rules don’t apply to India.

Canadian technology used to gain bomb…..Of particular concern to the rest of the world was that India developed its bomb using nuclear material from a reactor it had acquired from Canada ostensibly for civilian use……..

Some experts fear Canada appears to be selling India uranium with fewer controls and conditions than it typically demands from NNPT member countries that do play by the rules.

“Normally there’s some sort of tracking and accounting system so that Canada would be receiving information from India very specifically about what Canada-sourced material is being used for,” says Trevor Findlay, a senior research fellow at Harvard University’s Managing the Atom project.

“In this case, because the agreement [to buy the uranium] is secret, we have no idea whether that’s in place, and it probably isn’t because the Indians have been pushing against that,” he told The Current.

Findlay and other experts warn that the special treatment for India shows other governments a country can ignore the rules, build the bomb, tough it out for a few decades and emerge on the other side as an accepted nuclear weapons power.

Already, Pakistan says the deals give India a strategic advantage, and Pakistan has blocked preliminary talks on the most important arms control initiative in years: a Fissile Material Cutoff Treaty that would ban future production of weapons-grade material.

April 18, 2015 Posted by | Canada, India, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Scientists detect Fukushima radiation in Canadian waters

Fukushima radiation in Canadian waters, DW 10 Apr 15  Scientists have detected radiation from Japan’s 2011 nuclear disaster off the Canadian coast. Experts disagree as to whether the amount detected constitutes a dangerous level or not. Trace amounts of the radioactive isotopes cesium-134 and cesium-137 have been found in samples that were collected close to Vancouver Island in British Columbia. According to the Integrated Fukushima Ocean Radionuclide Monitoring (InFORM) Network, it was the first time that traces of cesium-134 had been detected off North American coasts.

Cesium-137As cesium-134 has a two-year half-life, any cesium-134 detected in the ocean today can only have been added recently – making Fukushima the only possible source.

Ken Buesseler, a marine chemist at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), said in a statement: “Radioactivity can be dangerous, and we should be carefully monitoring the oceans after what is certainly the largest accidental release of radioactive contaminants to the oceans in history.”

He led an initiative that measured 60 sites along the U.S. and Canadian West Coast and Hawaii over the past 15 months for traces of radioactive isotopes from Fukushima. Using computer models, the scientist had already predicted that the traces would reach the coast,……..

April 11, 2015 Posted by | Canada, oceans | Leave a comment

Michigan lawmaker urges Congress to oppose Canada’s waste dump plan near Lake Huron

Oscar-wastesMichigan lawmaker: Congress should oppose Canada’s plan to bury nuclear waste near Lake Huron Star Tribune  by: JOHN FLESHER , Associated Press  April 10, 2015 –  TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. — Michigan Rep. Dan Kildee said Friday he will push Congress to officially oppose Canada’s plans to allow nuclear waste to be stored underground less than a mile from Lake Huron, saying the country should find a site farther away from the Great Lakes, the world’s largest body of surface fresh water.

Kildee offered a similar resolution during the last congressional session, and numerous cities in the Great Lakes region have come out against the storage plan, but it failed to win House approval. Even if successful, it would have no force of law because Canadian officials will make the final decision.

Even so, the Democrat from Flint Township said the effort was worth making. He said the Ontario Power Generation plan to bury radioactive material, including discarded parts from the reactor core and ashes from incinerated floor sweepings and map heads, was “dangerous and an unnecessary risk we shouldn’t take.”

“The Great Lakes aren’t just a source of natural wonder,” said Kildee, whose district includes a section of the western Lake Huron coastline. “As the world’s largest body of fresh water, they’re vital to our way of life.”

Publicly owned Ontario Power Generation wants to bury 7.1 million cubic feet of low- and intermediate-level waste from its nuclear plants about 2,230 feet below the earth’s surface at the Bruce Power generating station near Kincardine, Ontario……..

Critics say there’s no way to guarantee the lake’s safety over the thousands of years that would be required for all the waste to lose its radioactivity.

Kildee’s office said the plan is opposed by 146 cities in the Great Lakes region, from Chicago to Toronto to Rochester, New York.

“My congressional resolution seeks to find an alternative location for this Canadian nuclear waste storage site so it does not endanger our state’s livelihood or economy — now or for future generations,” the congressman said.

A review panel of the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission has conducted hearings on the project and is expected to issue a report by May 6. The Canadian environment minister would decide whether to approve or deny the project. If the minister endorses it, the review panel will decide whether to issue a construction license.

April 11, 2015 Posted by | Canada, politics international, USA | Leave a comment

Muzzling scientists: UK follows Canada’s lead

flag-UKflag-canadaFollowing Canada’s Bad Example, Now UK Wants To Muzzle Scientists And Their Inconvenient Truths
from the non-appliance-of-science dept Free Speech by Glyn MoodyWed, Apr 1st 2015

Techdirt has been following for a while Canada’s moves to stop scientists from speaking out about areas where the facts of the situation don’t sit well with the Canadian government’s dogma-based policies. Sadly, it looks like the UK is taking the same route. It concerns a new code for the country’s civil servants, which will also apply to thousands of publicly-funded scientists. As the Guardian reports:

Under the new code, scientists and engineers employed at government expense must get ministerial approval before they can talk to the media about any of their research, whether it involves GM crops, flu vaccines, the impact of pesticides on bees, or the famously obscure Higgs boson.


The fear — quite naturally — is that ministers could take days before replying to requests, by which time news outlets will probably have lost interest. As a result of this change, science organizations have sent a letter to the UK government, expressing their “deep concern” about the code. A well-known British neurobiologist, Sir Colin Blakemore, told the Guardian:

“The real losers here are the public and the government. The public lose access to what they consider to be an important source of scientific evidence, and the government loses the trust of the public,” Blakemore said.

Not only that, by following Canada’s example, the British government also makes it more likely that other countries will do the same, which will weaken science’s ability to participate in policy discussions around the world — just when we need to hear its voice most.

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April 10, 2015 Posted by | Canada, media, secrets,lies and civil liberties, spinbuster, UK | Leave a comment

The 211 radioactive poisons left in wastes from CANDU nuclear reactors

Chart of 211 Radioactive Poisons in 10-Year Old CANDU Spent Fuel

The following chart identifies 211 radioactive poisons which are present in every ten-year old irradiated CANDU fuel bundle. The list is not complete.These data, compiled from AECL-9881, refer to the radioactive contents of an irradiated fuel bundle from the Bruce A reactors.

The origin of each radioactive poison is also indicated in the chart:

  • F.P. indicates ”Fission Products”: these are the broken pieces of atoms which were split or fissioned in the reactor to produce energy [fission products are also produced when an atomic bomb explodes].
  • F.I.A.P. indicates ”Fuel Impurity Activation Products”: during fission, impurities in the fuel become radioactive by absorbing neutrons.
  • Z.A.P. indicates ”Zircaloy-4 Activation Products”: elements in the zirconium sheath also become radioactive by absorbing neutrons.
  • ”Actinides” refer to the radioactive decay products of uranium and the trans-uranium (heavier-than-uranium) elements created during fission, when uranium atoms absorb one or more neutrons without fissioning.

The radioactivity of each poison is only roughly indicated:

  • a single yen-sign   ¥   indicates the presence of a particular radioactive poison;
  • a triple yen-sign   ¥ ¥ ¥   indicates the presence of over a million becquerels of that radioactive poison
    • per kg of uranium fuel (for FP, FIAP, and Actinides) or
    • per kg of zirconium alloy (for ZAP).

The list is organized according to the electric charge of the nucleus (the so-called “atomic number [Z]”), from the smallest charge (Hydrogen-3, also known as “tritium”) to the largest charge (Californium-252). This is consistent with the order of the elements in the periodic table.Within each chemical species, the radioactive varieties (called “isotopes” or “nuclides”) are organized according to the mass of the nucleus, indicated by the accompanying number in the chart, called the “mass number [A]”…….

CHART  – on original …..

April 6, 2015 Posted by | Canada, Reference, wastes | Leave a comment

Ontario federal court nullified approval of 4 new and rebuilt nuclear reactors

Anti-nuclear advocates, Federal Court trouble Ontario Liberal and PC energy plans, 

BY  STEVE CORNWELL MAY 30, 2014 Falling demand for electricity, sky-high cost projections, a catastrophic meltdown in Japan and a dedicated resistance to nuclear expansion have contributed to tough times for advocates of new and rebuilt nuclear reactors in Ontario.

The latest punch in the gut for nuclear proponents in the province comes from a May 14 Federal Court decision to nullify the approval of up to four new reactors at Darlington Station, about 60km east of Toronto.

Among other issues, the presiding Justice James Russell cited inadequate planning for both nuclear waste storage and a catastrophic accident as reasons to revoke the project’s license, which was originally secured following a multi-year environmental assessment (EA). Justice Russell found that the EA failed to adhere to the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act.

The Federal Court review of the EA was initiated by environmental groups Canadian Environmental Law Association (CELA), Greenpeace Canada, Lake Ontario Waterkeeper (LOW) and Northwatch with lawyers from Ecojustice and CELA representing the application in court.

In a press release following the decision, the environmental groups called the Federal Court’s ruling “common sense.”

Justin Duncan, Staff Lawyer for Ecojustice and co-counsel for groups, said “the court’s ruling means that federal authorities can no longer take shortcuts when assessing nuclear projects.”………

April 1, 2015 Posted by | Canada, Legal | Leave a comment

Ontario’s nuclear waste dilemma

text-wise-owlflag-canadaBurying nuclear waste big issue for Ontario now, Woodstock Sentinel Review,  By Greg Van Moorsel, The London Free Press Monday, March 16, 2015………..  a federally-appointed panel’s report, due by May, on whether to allow Ontario Power Generation to bury its least dangerous nuclear waste in a site deeper than the CN Tower is tall.

Opposed by more than 140 Great Lakes centres, including Toronto and Chicago, the 680-m-deep disposal site could be years away even if a construction permit is granted. OPG still needs approval of the local first nation and would have to go through more lengthy review to operate and fill the site, where low- and intermediate-level nuclear waste — not spent nuclear fuel rods — would be stashed more than a kilometre from Lake Huron, in ancient rock in the shadow of one of the world’s largest nuclear plants.

But that’s not the only thing to thrust nukes back onto public radar in Ontario: .Late next year, an overhaul of Ontario’s newest nuclear plant, Darlington, east of Toronto, is set to begin. Already more than 20 years old, Darlington is now at mid-life. OPG says the refurbishment will cost under $10 billion and create 2,000 direct jobs and half as many indirect jobs. It will add 30 years to the plant’s life.

A generation of Ontarians who watched the old Ontario Hydro binge on costly nuclear projects, often with monstrous over-runs, can be forgiven if they’re nail-biting. Yesterday’s mega-projects, which made taxpayers run for the hills, are today sold as “infrastructure” projects we’ve been conditioned to think of only as good. Barring an explosion in oil prices, and new oilsands mines, Darlington will become a construction site like few others in Canada starting in fall 2016.

Whether you support nuclear power misses the point: Ontario is a nuclear power in energy, and that demands public attention.

With 20 reactors, including two in safe storage, Ontario’s nuclear muscle dwarfs almost everything in the U.S. Only Illinois and Pennsylvania come close to Ontario, whose nuclear backbone provides about 60% of its energy needs.

And, yet, even in Southwestern Ontario, where the province first tested nuclear at Douglas Point in the 1960s, atomic energy is often out of mind even though it supports thousands of area jobs.

Southwestern Ontarians, their region Ground Zero for big fights on wind farms, can tell you about highrise-sized turbines. But fewer know the Bruce nuclear plant has the world’s largest operating capacity, or that it’s where OPG wants to sink its deep-burial waste disposal site.

For nuclear in Ontario, the lights are on but too few of us are home. That will soon change.

March 28, 2015 Posted by | Canada, wastes | Leave a comment

Campaign to get the Canadian government to stop muzzling science journalism

6ceed-japan-government-officially-censors-truth-about-fukushima-nuclear-radiation-disasterflag-canadaAsk Canadian Scientists Why You Can’t Ask Them About Science by
STEPHEN BURANYI March 24, 2015

​A coalition of journalists and academics is urging Canadians to write letters to government scientists, asking for data on pollution, global warming, and other federal research. They may not get much in response—but that’s precisely the point.

The week-long letter writing campaign, which bega​n on Monday and is called Write2Know, is a protest of the government’s controversial practice of controlling access to both science and scientists—a policy that has never been officially codified, but has been enforced by government agencies fo​r the past half-decade. Continue reading

March 27, 2015 Posted by | Canada, civil liberties, media | Leave a comment

A win for future generations in Saskatchewan, as nuclear waste dump rejected

The powerful Nuclear Waste Management Organization with all their money and all their experts could not beat back the duty we have to protect our future generations”

there has been strong Indigenous opposition in Ontario for years. Both the Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN), representing 49 First Nations in northern Ontario, and the Anishinabek Nation, representing 39 member First Nations across Ontario, have formally declared their opposition to nuclear waste in all of their traditional territories……

“This is what happens when people stick together and fight for what they believe in,” said Fred Pederson, a Pinehouse resident and member of the Committee for Future Generations Continue reading

March 27, 2015 Posted by | Canada, opposition to nuclear, wastes | Leave a comment

Canada’s Orwellian muzzling of science writers

6ceed-japan-government-officially-censors-truth-about-fukushima-nuclear-radiation-disasterflag-canadaTightened science muzzle is ‘Orwellian’ July 3, 2012 Vancouver Sun, Sept 13, 2010 By Margaret Munro, Postmedia News

The Harper government has tightened the muzzle on federal scientists, going so far as to control when and what they can say about floods at the end of the last ice age.

Natural Resources Canada (NRC) scientists were told this spring they need “pre-approval” from Minister Christian Paradis’ office to speak with journalists. Their “media lines” also need ministerial approval, say documents obtained by Postmedia News through access-to-information legislation.

The documents say the “new” rules went into force in March and reveal how they apply to not only to contentious issues including the oilsands, but benign subjects such as floods that occurred 13,000 years ago.

They also give a glimpse of how Canadians are being cut off from scientists whose work is financed by taxpayers, critics say, and is often of significant public interest — be it about fish stocks, genetically modified crops or mercury pollution in the Athabasca River.

“It’s Orwellian,” says Andrew Weaver, a climatologist at the University of Victoria. The public, he says, has a right to know what federal scientists are discovering and learning………

Environment Canada and Health Canada now tightly control media access to researchers and orchestrate interviews that are approved.

Environment Canada has even produced “media lines” for federal scientists to stick to when discussing climate studies they have coauthored with Weaver and are based on research paid for through his university grants.

“There is no question that there is an orchestrated campaign at the federal level to make sure that their scientists can’t communicate to the public about what they do,” says Weaver, adding that the crackdown is seriously undermining morale in federal labs. “Science is about generating new knowledge and communicating it to others.”

March 27, 2015 Posted by | Canada, civil liberties, media | Leave a comment

Over 70 experts produce report showing Canada can have100% renewable energy

Complete shift to renewable energy within Canada’s reach, academics say IVAN SEMENIUK AND SHAWN MCCARTHY TORONTO and OTTAWA — The Globe and Mail, Mar. 18 2015, Canada could shift entirely to renewable sources of electricity by 2035 and eliminate 80 per cent of its greenhouse gas emissions by mid-century, says a group of Canadian academics that is aiming to spur government action on climate change.

To get there, they recommend a national carbon-pricing plan, and greater effort to move electricity produced from low-carbon sources such as hydro dams across provincial borders.

In a 56-page policy document scheduled for release on Wednesday, more than 70 scientists, engineers and economists say Canada is in a more favourable position than most countries for a switch to renewable power, including large-scale hydroelectric. The most significant barrier is not technical or economic, but a lack of political will, they said.

The report says 77 per cent of Canada’s electricity is already produced without burning fossil fuels, and it has many sources of renewable energy.

“This is within reach. We could be the world leader … that’s a very important message for Canadians to understand,” said Catherine Potvin, an ecologist and Canada Research Chair in climate change mitigation at McGill University, who led the writing of the document.

The plan includes improvements to the east-west electrical grid so that energy that is produced where hydroelectric sources are abundant, such as Quebec, Labrador, British Columbia and northern Manitoba, to supply the rest of the country more efficiently.

Topping the list of policy recommendations is a move that would be anathema to Prime Minister Stephen Harper: a national program that would put a price on emitting carbon, either through a tax or a cap-and-trade system……..

March 21, 2015 Posted by | Canada, renewable | Leave a comment


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