The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

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

Manitoba First Nation leader criticised – accepted money from the Nuclear Waste Management Organization

bribery-1FN leader asked to step down for accepting money from nuclear waste organization Grand Chief David Harper says nuclear waste will never be stored in northern Manitoba By Tim Fontaine, CBC News Mar 13, 2015 A northern Manitoba First Nation leader is being criticized for accepting money from the Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO) and some are even calling on Grand Chief David Harper to step down.

Harper, who is head of the Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak (MKO), recently signed a $312,689 agreement with the NWMO. Harper told CBC the money is going toward educating his citizens about the risks involved with nuclear waste, and was not accepted in an agreement to store it.

“As a matter of fact there is legislation that was put in place in 1987 that there will be no nuclear waste in Manitoba,” Harper said.

But a group of chiefs from the Swampy Cree Tribal Council (SCTC) — which is politically aligned with MKO — said just signing the agreement contravenes a 2014 moratorium against the storing of nuclear waste in Manitoba.

In a March 11, 2015 press release, the Swampy Cree chiefs said they’ve “lost all faith in MKO Grand Chief David Harper. His signing of this deal with NWMO without our knowledge or consent is a major breach of trust.”

Those chiefs say they’re pulling out of MKO until the grand chief has been removed from office — something Harper refuses to do.

“I’m doing my job to protect First Nations,” said Harper.

Since 2000, the NWMO has been trying to find sites to store radioactive waste produced by nuclear electricity plants in Ontario, Quebec and New Brunswick. They want to store the nuclear waste deep under the ground, in the rock of the Canadian Shield.

The NWMO recently ruled out Creighton, Sask. as a potential host site.

March 16, 2015 Posted by | Canada, indigenous issues | Leave a comment

Canada’s nuclear company Lavalin led Canada to the top of the World Bank’s Corrupt Companies Blacklist

text-cat-questionExtraordinary that South Australia should look to Canada, of all countries, for advice on how to set up a nuclear industry?

Canada’s Corrupt Corporations: World Bank’s Corrupt Companies Blacklist, Dominated By Canada By Global Research News, January 05, 2015 The Huffington Post Canada has the dubious honour of being home to the largest number of firms on a World Bank blacklist of corrupt companies.

corruptionBut virtually all of that can be attributed to one Canadian company — SNC Lavalin, the construction and engineering giant whose name is becoming a paragon of Canadian corruption.

Of the more than 600 companies now listed as barred from doing business with the World Bank over corruption, 117 are Canadian, the most of any one country. And of those, 115 represent SNC-Lavalin and its subsidiaries, the Financial Post reports.

Among the listed SNC subsidiaries are Candu Energy, which designs CANDU nuclear reactors, and Evergreen Rapid Transit Holdings, the SNC-Lavalin company established to build Vancouver’s new Sky Train line.

The World Bank’s head of corruption investigations, James David Fielder, told the paper the SNC subsidiaries’ inclusion was due to “a World Bank investigation relating to the Padma Bridge project in Bangladesh where World Bank investigators closely cooperated with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in an effort to promote collective action against corruption.”……

Bangladesh is not the only place where SNC-Lavalin is alleged to have engaged in bribery.

The company’s former CEO, Pierre Duhaime, was arrested last year on corruption charges related to $56 million in “questionable payments” believed linked to some of the company’s overseas operations. Duhaime was arrested again earlier this year in connection with allegations of corruption surrounding a contract to build a new facility for the McGill University Health Centre (MUHC) in Montreal.

SNC-Lavalin’s links to the former Gadhafi regime in Libya are said to have been so close that the company offered one of the dictator’s sons a vice-president position in 2008, according to news reports.

SNC-Lavalin is also alleged to have been engaged in corrupt practices in Algeria

March 9, 2015 Posted by | Canada, secrets,lies and civil liberties | Leave a comment

Areas in Creighton, Saskatchewan and Schreiber assessed, not likley to be suitable for nuclear wastes



they should stop making radioactive trash – with nowhere to put it


NWMO Concludes Studies in Creighton, Saskatchewan and Schreiber, Ontario TORONTO, March 3, 2015 – The Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO) is concluding preliminary assessment work in two communities engaged in learning about Adaptive Phased Management (APM), Canada’s plan for the long-term management of used nuclear fuel.

New geological studies in the vicinity of  Ontario revealed that areas assessed near both communities have geological complexities that reduce the likelihood of finding a suitable site for either area to safely host a used nuclear fuel repository…..
It will take several more years of detailed technical, scientific and social study and assessments, and much more engagement with interested communities, First Nation and Métis communities and their neighbours before a preferred safe site for the project can be confirmed.

March 6, 2015 Posted by | Canada, wastes | Leave a comment

A Canadian plea for ethical government, media integrity and true science

see-no-evilflag-canadaNot In Our Name, Kickstarter 1 March 15  by Chris Hill A film telling how a nation went to war against its own veterans and scientists, and kept its head in the tar sands on climate change.

About this project How many wrong decisions can one nation endure? Every
week there’s a new story that shows a shocking lack in judgment or ethics on the part of the government. It’s open season on the environment, on science, on the rights of veterans, and it shames us all.

Media in disarray  Cuts to investigative journalism by most media outlets (including Canada’s CBC, which has been decimated by recent government funding cuts) are allowing many stories to remain under-covered, or untold altogether.

Media consolidation has meant there are fewer voices reporting, with ever-tightening restrictions on what they can say. This is a critical threat to democracy, and it’s the principal motivation for this film. Independent voices must pick up the slack.

Science Abandoned The Canadian tradition of being at the forefront of scientific research and innovation, critical to the nation’s prosperity, has been all but abandoned. The Harper government has pulled the plug on any science that doesn’t conform to its specific oil and gas agenda, and it has effectively muzzled scientists by forbidding them from speaking out to the press.

Critical programs that monitored the melting arctic, smoke stack emissions, food inspections, water quality, oil spills and climate change have been systematically dismantled.

Hundreds of the world’s scientists have written an open letter to the Harper government, voicing concerns over the inability to conduct basic research environmental and health issues, and other areas of science that should contribute to the public good.

It is a frivolous waste of taxpayers’ dollars to fund research only to have it repressed, causing decisions to be made without adequate data and information. This puts our citizens at risk, as it leaves us flying blind amid the dangers of increasing pollution and climate change.and other environmental hazards.

Our tradition of scientific prowess and innovation has been flushed down the toilet because of what scientific research is revealing — the effects of our own country’s destructive policies……..

“Not in Our Name”: the film

“Not in Our Name” (NION) will explore the axis of Industry, Media, and Government, which prioritizes corporate interests over the people’s. The film will show how similar tactics are being employed in the US, Britain, Australia…leaders administering the instructions of the multinational corporations who bought them. They count the profits while we, society and the environment count the cost.

If we don’t vigorously confront their stranglehold on our governments, we will have forever crossed the Rubicon, and there will be no turning back.

March 1, 2015 Posted by | Canada, media | Leave a comment

The massive costs and massive dangers of hosting a radioactive nuclear trash dump

flag-canadaInside the race for Canada’s nuclear waste: 11 towns vie to host deep burial sitCanada’s nuclear waste will be deadly for 400,000 years. What town would like the honour of hosting it?CHARLES WILKINS TheGlobe and Mail Feb. 26 2015,


With his wife, Fran, Tony McQuail operates a lush organic farm near Lucknow, Ontario, within hailing distance of Bruce Power, the world’s largest nuclear power facility. The plant’s grounds, on the shores of Lake Huron, are also the place where nearly half of Canada’s nuclear fuel waste is “temporarily” stored. “What they’ve done,” McQuail says, “would be like me piling up decades’ worth of my operation’s waste, which is to say shit, and leaving it out by the road.

“If I piled any quantity of shit out there and left it with no disposal plan, I’d be shut down and condemned within weeks. And here’s an industry with the capacity for global devastation, with no permanent plan for their garbage, the most dangerous stuff on Earth, and they’re allowed to keep producing it indefinitely.”

There is in fact a plan for that waste. A federally mandated body, the Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO), wants to bury it in what the nuclear industry calls a Deep Geological Repository, or DGR. First, though, the organization must complete its quest—in effect, a competition, although the NWMO doesn’t see it that way—to find a municipality that will serve as a “willing host” for the repository. Among the contenders for the distinction are the municipalities of Huron-Kinloss, South Bruce and Central Huron, all of them close neighbours to Fran and Tony McQuail.

If it doesn’t seem like a competition any municipality would want to win, consider that spending on the project will likely run as high as $24 billion. And, the construction phase aside, the jobs involved are not the sort that will last only until another, perhaps cheaper, location is found. According to the NWMO’s plan, 400,000 years or more will pass between the point at which the waste is buried and the happy day when any sort of safety sticker is likely to be affixed to the vast toxic grave.

One morning in October, 1957, the principal of Keyes Public School in Deep River, Ontario, came into our Grade 5 classroom and declared that we, the children of the town, had “nothing to be afraid of.” We were to pay no attention to rumours that the reactors at nearby Chalk River would be among the Soviet Union’s first targets should the Cold War suddenly heat up.

Because we had older siblings ever willing to heighten our appreciation of reality, we already knew that if the reactors got hit, the explosion would be the equivalent of a thousand, maybe a million, H-bombs. We knew, too, that Deep River was located exactly seven miles from the reactors because that was the minimum distance at which human life would be spared if the plant ever got hit.

Mercifully, the missiles never came. And the plant never blew.

Others did: Three Mile Island (1979), Chernobyl (1986), Fukushima (2011).

Most of the reactor stories we heard as kids turned out to be fables. Yet more than half a century later, they remain bristling little allegories not just of the risks of splitting the atom but of the doggedness of those who continue to tell us we have “nothing to fear” from an industry that in 1945 said hello to humanity by incinerating 80,000 citizens of Hiroshima…….

February 27, 2015 Posted by | Canada, wastes | Leave a comment

The ever-accumulating tonnage of Canada’s radioactive trash

text-wise-owlthe Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO), wants to bury it in what the nuclear industry calls a Deep Geological Repository, or DGR

Finally,” says Eugene Bourgeois, whose idyllic property lies within a kilometre of the Bruce Power reactors, “it has to be impervious to the potential ignorance or delinquency of people, perhaps ‘peopleoids,’ more than a quarter-million years from now”—which is to say, peopleoids who likely will have no notion even of the languages in which the safety code and signage of the DGR were written.

At the same time, the site can’t be too remote. It must be serviced by roads and rail, so that waste can be brought in, and must have a sufficient population that the thousands of folks who will build the facility and the hundreds who will be employed there long-term will have a place to live


flag-canadaInside the race for Canada’s nuclear waste: 11 towns vie to host deep burial site Canada’s nuclear waste will be deadly for 400,000 years. What town would like the honour of hosting it? CHARLES WILKINS TheGlobe and Mail Feb. 26 2015,

……..the Western Waste Management Facility, where Ontario Power Generation stores much of its share of the 48,000 tonnes of waste that have accumulated in Canada during the past 65 years and that the company and other nuclear-power producers hope will eventually be lowered into the national DGR (Deep Geological Repository)

The ever-accumulating tonnage, which in the wrong hands could provide payloads for thousands of atomic bombs, is entombed in a thousand snow-white containers (a half-inch of steel atop reinforced concrete), each the size of, say, a Lincoln Navigator set on end and weighing 70 tonnes……..

The $24-billion cost of a deep repository—to be paid by the producers (hence ultimately their customers) out of a fund that now stands at less than $3 billion—sounds like a lot for the existing quantity of nuclear-fuel waste in the country. NWMO spokesman Mike Krizanc visualizes Canada’s 48,000-tonne waste pile as “enough to cover six NHL-sized hockey rinks to the top of the boards.”

The discrepancy is explained by toxicity. According to Gordon Edwards, a mathematician who has critiqued the nuclear industry for decades as president of the Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility, irradiated—that is, used—nuclear fuel is “millions of times more radioactive and deadly than when the unirradiated fuel was placed in the reactors.” Studies have connected the various isotopes contained in the waste to cancer, immune system damage and genetic mutation. Those six hockey rinks are enough, say nuclear detractors, that if the waste is buried in the wrong place, or in the wrong way, it could ruin our water, render the landscape useless for agriculture, or, in a darker scenario, render it useless for human habitation…… Continue reading

February 27, 2015 Posted by | Canada, wastes | Leave a comment

SNC Lavalin Nuclear and Ontario Power Generation (OPG) in court over costs of Darlington nuclear rebuild

justiceflag-canadaWe’ll see SNC Lavalin Nuclear in court Angela Bischoff 24 Feb 15 In March 2011, the Ontario Clean Air Alliance (OCAA) filed a Freedom of Information (FOI) request to obtain details of the contract between Aecon Construction, SNC Lavalin Nuclear and Ontario Power Generation (OPG) for the re-building of four reactors at the Darlington Nuclear Station on Lake Ontario.

Aecon Construction and SNC Lavalin, not surprisingly, are not keen to reveal just how rich this mega contract is and refused to provide the information. However, the the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario (IPC) ruled that the companies should provide relevant details, a decision Aecon and SNC then appealed to the Superior Court.

secret-dealsThe companies are insisting that they were “confused” by the Freedom of Information request process, which the Privacy Commissioner’s counsel notes is rather odd, considering that these “are multi-billion dollar companies that have access to a wealth of internal and external legal resources [and] have a history of being involved in access to information requests in other Canadian jurisdictions.“

The companies are also trying to use another technicality to shield the details of the deal, including whether it allows cost overruns to be passed onto taxpayers and ratepayers. They are insisting that contracts are not covered by FOI legislation because they represent information provided by one party to another. The Commissioner’s counsel strongly disagrees in her response, citing an explanation from the Government of Canada:

“.. . The intention of Parliament in exempting financial and commercial information from disclosure applies to confidential information submitted to the government, not negotiated amounts for goods or services. Otherwise, every contract amount with the government would be exempt from disclosure, and the public would have no access to this important information …”

Given the long history of secret deals in Ontario’s nuclear power sector that have led to massive cost overruns – and massive debt for Ontario taxpayers and ratepayers – the OCAA believes the public has every right to know more about the deal struck between OPG and these two construction and engineering giants. We would like to thank the Information and Privacy Commissioner for robustly defending our right to see this information.

We’re hoping we won’t have to repeat this difficult and time consuming exercise with another secret nuclear deal – an agreement to rebuild reactors at the Bruce Nuclear Station. Instead of forcing public interest groups to file freedom of information requests after the fact, the government should walk its talk on openness and transparency by sending any proposed Bruce Deal to the Ontario Energy Board for a full public review.

Please join us to observe the proceedings as well as to show your support for greater transparency in government decision making this coming Monday :

  • Monday March 2, 10 a.m.(come at any time during the day)
  • Osgoode Hall, 130 Queen St. West (NE corner of Queen/University), in Courtroom # 3 (on 2ndfloor), entrance off Queen St., Toronto

A little sunshine can keep everyone healthier.

p.s. Our Ontario budget proposal to take a pass on rebuilding the Darlington Nuclear Plant in favour of importing lower-cost water power from Quebec has clearly made some vested interests in the Ontario nuclear industry very nervous. Our proposal on the government’s budget consultation website has suddenly been inundated with “thumbs down” votes. This orchestrated campaign to deep six our idea just shows how the nuclear industry really can’t compete with our highly sensible proposal. Don’t let them get away with it! Give our idea a thumbs up right now.

February 27, 2015 Posted by | ACTION, Canada, Legal | Leave a comment

White Elephant CANDU nuclear technology sold to scandal-plagued engineering firm SNC Lavalin.

flag-canadaInside the race for Canada’s nuclear waste: 11 towns vie to host deep burial sitCanada’s nuclear waste will be deadly for 400,000 years. What town would like the honour of hosting it?CHARLES WILKINS TheGlobe and Mail Feb. 26 2015,

…….So accustomed have we become to such power, we have largely stopped thinking about its uncomfortable truths: For example, that Canada’s signature nuclear technology, the CANDU reactor, seeded proliferation of atomic weapons in Pakistan and India.

white-elephant-blue-ribbonOr that the supposedly world-beating CANDU turned out to be a financial white elephant: The CANDU’s creator, Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd., devoured billions in subsidies before the CANDU technology was finally sold for a pittance to scandal-plagued engineering firm SNC Lavalin.

Nuclear power is said to be cheap—but only if one doesn’t count costs that either have been offloaded or are yet to be fully funded, such as accident liability, waste management and the debts incurred in reactor construction. Moreover, the industry has a history of wild cost overruns: The bill for creating Ontario’s Darlington facility during the 1980s climbed from a projected $3.9 billion to more than $14 billion………

February 27, 2015 Posted by | Canada, secrets,lies and civil liberties | Leave a comment

Disadvantaged Canadian towns look at the $billions promised by nuclear waste hosting

Offended tribal elders formed the Committee for Future Generations and initiated what they called the 7,000 Generations Walk Against Nuclear Waste, which saw participants trudge nearly 1,000 kilometres from Pinehouse to the legislature in Regina.

No local DGR debate has been harder fought than the 30-month marathon of psychological and ground warfare that unfolded in Saugeen Shores, one of several contestant municipalities in Bruce County, between 2011 and 2014.

Inside the race for Canada’s nuclear waste: 11 towns vie to host deep burial sitCanada’s nuclear waste will be deadly for 400,000 years. What town would like the honour of hosting it?CHARLES WILKINS TheGlobe and Mail Feb. 26 2015,

“……..There are 11 rural and wilderness municipalities vying for the DGR, survivors of an original roster of 22. The aspirants include veteran northern encampments such as Hornepayne, Ontario, where, as Brennain Lloyd of the environmental education group Northwatch describes it, there is “a really fierce desire” on the part of at least a few municipal administrators to “bring the nuke dump to town.”

And Schreiber, a struggling railway town on the north shore of Lake Superior. And Ignace, another struggler, in the boreal wilds to the west. And, to the east, Manitouwadge.

And Creighton, Saskatchewan, directly across the Manitoba border from Flin Flon (Creighton is a town described by a former resident as “having had its fiscal balls to the wall for half a century”).

And Blind River, Ontario, on the north shore of Lake Huron, where survival has for years depended on the uncertain flow of traffic along the Trans-Canada Highway.

And Elliot Lake, some 50 kilometres north of Lake Huron, where uranium mining was the sustaining industry during the 1950s and ’60s but which these days survives on the pensions of retirees who moved to the town to take advantage of discount housing left over from the boom years.

“What makes it all so attractive to competing municipalities is, of course, the money,” says Tony McQuail.

While billions of dollars will flow directly through the chosen town over a period of four or five decades, Lloyd suggests that most of the money is likely to end up in the pockets of big-city consultants and other outside beneficiaries.

Mainly, the price tag will buy decades’ worth of infrastructure and construction costs, as well as maintenance, monitoring and employment training. It will also pay for the transportation of the waste to the spanking new DGR, which will, by the time it opens, have been a reality for its “willing host” for a quarter of a century or more.

Finishing just the first phase of the preliminary assessment brings $400,000 of NWMO money to candidate towns, so they can “build sustainability and well-being.” It has been speculated that some towns had no intention of staying in the process beyond the early payout.

While some towns applied to participate of their own volition, others were, according to Lloyd of Northwatch, courted by the NWMO. “What bothers me most about the process,” says Lloyd, “is the ‘siloing’ that the NWMO practises on the municipal politicians they choose to target.

“They approach them not in the context of their communities, where the politicians are immediately answerable to their constituencies, but at municipal conferences and conventions where they’re away from home, isolated, perhaps a little unsure of themselves. They wine and dine them and soft-talk them about the unimaginable benefits that could accrue to their towns should they consider hosting the DGR.

“Then they fly them to Toronto and put them up in the best hotels and take them up to the Bruce Power site, or other nuclear generating stations, and show them what of course appears to be secure and flawless waste storage. The politicians are just snowed—they’re made to feel like important players. They take this dream of hope and prosperity and safe science back to their communities and in effect go to work for the NWMO.”

Other northern councils—at Ear Falls, at Nipigon, at Wawa—have been more divided over the DGR and so were eliminated early, or withdrew, from the process. Similarly, Brockton, near the site of Bruce Power, was cut late in 2014 after its residents elected a largely anti-DGR council. (The NWMO says Brockton’s assessment simply didn’t pan out.)

The aboriginal communities of Pinehouse and English River, Saskatchewan, were dropped from the process when community debate over land and water issues, as well as a growing distrust of the NWMO, became irresolvable.

While Pinehouse was still in the running, three community leaders, including a cousin of the mayor, received money from the NWMO. Offended tribal elders formed the Committee for Future Generations and initiated what they called the 7,000 Generations Walk Against Nuclear Waste, which saw participants trudge nearly 1,000 kilometres from Pinehouse to the legislature in Regina.

No local DGR debate has been harder fought than the 30-month marathon of psychological and ground warfare that unfolded in Saugeen Shores, one of several contestant municipalities in Bruce County, between 2011 and 2014………..

February 27, 2015 Posted by | Canada, wastes | 1 Comment

Lavalin, the company promoting thorium nuclear reactors faces rare corporate fraud and bribery charges

bribery handshakeflag-canadaSNC-Lavalin faces rare corporate fraud and bribery charges LES PERREAUX, JEFF GRAY AND BERTRAND MAROTTE MONTREAL and TORONTO — The Globe and Mail, Feb. 19 2015, The RCMP have laid rare corporate fraud and bribery charges against SNC-Lavalin Group Inc. after protracted negotiations with prosecutors failed to reach a settlement, threatening the future of an enormous Canadian firm that builds infrastructure around the world.

While former company executives already face criminal charges related to bribing Libyan officials – former vice-president Riadh Ben Aissa has pleaded guilty to Swiss charges – a series of scandals has shown a culture of breaking ethics rules in the company’s executive suite prior to 2012. These are the first charges targeting the company as a whole.

SNC is accused of using at least $47.7-million to bribe Libyan officials. A second count is for fraud of about $130-million related to construction projects in Libya. SNC responded quickly, saying the alleged activities took place between 2001 and 2011 and the people involved have been fired. The company says it has co-operated with authorities for the past three years and intends to plead not guilty.

A source familiar with the investigation said settlement talks between SNC-Lavalin and prosecutors were close to a deal in October.

As part of any deal, the company was expected to face a multimillion-dollar fine. But the possibility that a guilty plea could automatically trigger a 10-year ban on winning Canadian government contracts “complicated everything” and must have been among the factors that scuppered the settlement, the source said.

Long considered soft on anti-corruption enforcement, Canada’s international reputation may benefit from the charges, according to one of the country’s staunchest critics.

“This is a step in advance. Canada is actually gaining ground on its past,” said Mark Pieth, a criminal law professor at the University of Basel in Switzerland and the former chairman of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development’s bribery working group.

“Finally. I had waited for action against the company for a long time.”

Business analysts played down any immediate threat to the company, saying charges and an eventual fine of up to $300-million were expected. But chief executive Robert Card was unequivocal when he told The Globe and Mail last fall SNC could be broken up or “cease to exist” if the company were convicted and barred from Canadian government contracts for 10 years. He said even laying charges could be damaging enough to SNC’s reputation to pose a threat…..

Riyaz Dattu, a Toronto lawyer with Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP who advises companies on corruption issues, said the charges for SNC-Lavalin are a dire warning for other Canadian companies that they need to bring in stronger anti-corruption controls and new training for employees to ensure bribes are not being paid around the world.

“The message is coming through loud and clear to corporate Canada,” Mr. Dattu said.

The Libyan allegations are not the only corruption troubles facing SNC. Ethics probes have involved SNC employees who worked on projects in Algeria, Bangladesh and Montreal. Mr. Ben Aissa is at the centre of many of the allegations, including fraud and corruption charges related to building a Montreal hospital……….

February 21, 2015 Posted by | Canada, secrets,lies and civil liberties | Leave a comment


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