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Close Pickering Nuclear Station – Former Minister of Energy

Former Minister of Energy calls for closure of Pickering Nuclear Station in 2018, Angela Bischoff, Outreach Director, Ontario Clean Air Alliance Ontario Clean Air Alliance , 30 June 16   Yesterday, George Smitherman, former Deputy Premier and Minister of Energy for Ontario, called for the closure of the Pickering Nuclear Station in a deputation to the City of Toronto’s Executive Committee. (View Mr. Smitherman’s remarks).

Mr. Smitherman suggested that Ontario extend its “cash for clunkers” program to include Pickering and noted that he was informed as Energy Minister as early as 2007 that the plant was nearing the end of its useful life. He also warned that Pickering was an example of badly outdated technology with weak radioactive containment systems.

Mr. Smitherman went on to note that Ontarians are far too passive about the threat posed by an aging nuclear plant on the doorstep of its largest city and suggested that the City of Toronto had every right to express concern, given the likely impacts on residents and first responders of an accident at North America’s 4th oldest nuclear plant. Asked what had motivated him to speak out about Pickering, Mr. Smitherman simply replied “I’m here in my capacity as a father.”

Mr. Smitherman was speaking in favour of Councillors Glenn De Baeremaeker’s and Gord Perks’ motion that the City of Toronto request the Government of Ontario close the Pickering Nuclear Station in 2018 when its licence expires. He was among a number of speakers who addressed the threats posed by Pickering, including routine releases of radioactive tritium and the continued build up of high level radioactive waste.

Unfortunately, the executive committee adopted precisely the passive response that former Minister Smitherman warned about, and voted to defer the motion indefinitely. Deputy Mayor Minnan-Wong’s motion was supported by Mayor Tory and Councillors Crawford, Di Giorgio, Pasternak, Robinson and Thompson.

The Deputy Mayor’s motion was opposed by Councillors Ainslie, Holland, McMahon and Shiner.


July 1, 2016 Posted by | Canada, opposition to nuclear | Leave a comment

International Energy Agency favours clean energy to cut air-pollution mortality

renewable-energy-pictureShift to Clean Energy Could Save Millions Who Die From Pollution
Reducing deadly pollution has the double benefit of quickly trimming carbon dioxide emissions, the International Energy Agency says
. Inside Climate News, BY PHIL MCKENNA  27 JUNE 16 

Extra investments to control deadly pollutants like smog and soot could cut worldwide deaths from air pollution in half in a few decades and end the growth of global warming emissions in just a few years, international experts declared on Monday.

In its first report ever to examine the links between these twin goals, the authoritative International Energy Agency said the solutions go “hand-in-hand.”

With a 7 percent increase in energy-related investment, it said, the world could cut air-pollution mortality from about 6.5 million today to 3.3 million in 2040. And the changes would bring about a peak in CO2 emissions by 2020, it said.

Along with spending on pollution control equipment, the keys, it said, are energy efficiency and the use of renewables like wind and solar.

The report marks a new movement among those who favor the long-term goal of fighting global warming toward an equal and more immediate concern—protecting the health of the world…….

The IEA assessment outlines a Clean Air Scenario where an additional $4.8 trillion in pollution control technologies, renewable energy and energy efficiency measures is invested worldwide between now and 2040. The investment would include making clean cooking facilities available to an additional 1.8 billion people worldwide.

The $4.8 trillion cost represents an additional 7 percent on top of energy spending plans already announced by the world’s nations, including the pledges to reduce carbon dioxide emissions that they made under the new Paris climate treaty.  (The IEA calls this baseline its “New Policies Scenario” to distinguish it from business as usual.)

The alternative Clean Air Scenario detailed in the report would result in a drop of more than 50 percent in global emissions of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides and a nearly 75 percent reduction in harmful particulate matter emissions by 2040.

Air pollution reductions would be greatest in developing countries. The 60 percent of India’s population currently exposed to air with a high concentration of fine particles would, for example, fall to less than 20 percent, according to the report.

“Implementing the IEA strategy in the Clean Air Scenario can push energy-related pollution levels into a steep decline in all countries,” Birol said.

“It can also deliver universal access to modern energy, a rapid peak and decline in global greenhouse-gas emissions and lower fossil-fuel import bills in many countries.”…….

July 1, 2016 Posted by | 2 WORLD, health, renewable | Leave a comment

Floating solar panels – the go for drought-stricken US lakes

Flag-USAFloating solar is a win-win energy solution for drought-stricken US lakes
Sunbaked southwest US is a prime spot for floatovoltaic projects, where they could produce clean energy and prevent evaporation in major man-made reservoirs, reports Environment 360, Guardian, Philip Warburg , 1 July 16  The Colorado River’s two great reservoirs, Lake Mead and Lake Powell, are in retreat. Multi-year droughts and chronic overuse have taken their toll, to be sure, but vast quantities of water are also lost to evaporation. What if the same scorching sun that causes so much of this water loss were harnessed for electric power?

solar floating farm London

Installing floating solar photovoltaic arrays, sometimes called “floatovoltaics,” on a portion of these two reservoirs in the southwestern United States could produce clean, renewable energy while shielding significant expanses of water from the hot desert sun.

The dual energy and environmental benefits of floating solar arrays are already beginning to earn the technology a place in the global clean energy marketplace, with floatovoltaic projects now being built in places as diverse as Australia, Brazil, China, England, India, Japan, South Korea, and California. And nowhere could they prove as effective as on lakes Mead and Powell, the two largest man-made reservoirs in the US.

The US Bureau of Reclamation estimates that800,000 acre-feet of water – nearly six percent of the Colorado River’s annual flow – is baked off Lake Mead’s surface by the searing desert sun during an average year. Lake Powell loses about860,000 acre-feet annually to evaporation and bank seepage. Since floatovoltaics can reduce evaporation in dry climates by as much as 90%, covering portions of these two water bodies with solar panels could result in significant water savings.

Extrapolating from the spatial needs of floating solar farms already built or designed, the electricity gains from installing floatovoltaics on just a fraction of these man-made desert lakes could be momentous. If six percent of Lake Mead’s surface were devoted to solar power, the yield would be at least 3,400 megawatts of electric-generating capacity – substantially more than the Hoover Dam’s generating capacity of 2,074 megawatts.

This solar infusion could give the power-hungry Southwest a major boost in renewable electricity, and at least some of that power could piggyback on underused transmission lines built for the Hoover Dam…….

July 1, 2016 Posted by | renewable, USA | 1 Comment

Women’s Action for New Directions honours Dr Helen Caldicott

Caldicott-2013the Smithsonian has named Dr. Caldicott one of the most influential women of the 20th century.

#WomanCrushWednesday: Dr. Helen Caldicott by Honora Gibbons, WAND Intern, Arlington, MA Dr. Helen Caldicott holds a special place in our hearts and history at WAND as our founder. Over her long career, she has demonstrated tremendous passion, skill, and dedication for consistently raising and calling citizens to action on the pressing nuclear and environmental issues of our time.

Caldicott was born in Melbourne, Australia. She earned her medical degree from the University of Adelaide Medical School. Her anti-nuclear stance is rooted in her identity as a physician and as a mother. As Caldicott spoke publicly on the health hazards of radiation, she rose to prominence as an activist for nuclear disarmament.

In the 1970s, Dr. Caldicott moved to the United States, joining Boston’s Children’s Hospital and briefly teaching pediatrics at Harvard Medical School. In 1979, the Three Mile Island nuclear disaster occurred, the worst nuclear power accident in U.S. history. Following this, in 1980, Caldicott resigned from her medical career in order to dedicate herself fully to the prevention of nuclear warfare and dependency on nuclear power. From then on, she worked to call attention to the world’s growing reliance on nuclear power and the dangers of the nuclear arms race.

In 1981, Caldicott founded Women’s Action for Nuclear Disarmament in Arlington, MA. (Following the end of the Cold War in 1991, WAND changed its name to Women’s Action for New Directions.) Her years of service are a constant reminder and inspiration to WAND women that peace can be attained through relentless and well-informed collective action.

For her decades of work Helen has received many honors and awards, including twenty one honorary doctoral awards and nomination for a Nobel Peace Prize by Linus Pauling, himself a Nobel Laureate. Additionally, the Smithsonian has named Dr. Caldicott one of the most influential women of the 20th century.

Helen Caldicott has contributed much through her nuclear disarmament activism and research. The highlights of these contributions are her numerous publications, including her booksNuclear Madness,Missile Envy, and If You Love This Planet: A Plan to Heal the Earth. She is also the subject of manyfilms which have received notable critical acclaim.

Caldicott currently divides her time between Australia and the United States, often lecturing and participating in community outreach, still determined to stress the danger of our nuclear-dependent world. Caldicott exemplifies these efforts through her organization, The Helen Caldicott Foundation, which hosts symposiums and educational outreach programs in order to promote a nuclear energy- and weapons-free world.

At a recent event for the Massachusetts Peace Action Distinguished Peacebuilders Series, Dr. Helen Caldicott spoke in Cambridge, Massachusetts on the imperative need to disarm nuclear weapons worldwide. In her talk titled “Courting Armageddon,” Caldicott discussed the ways in which the international community has insufficiently addressed nuclear weapons-related catastrophes, including the 1945 bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. According to Dr. Caldicott, the world has since increased its dependency on nuclear weapons and nuclear power. “We are closer to a nuclear war today than we ever were during the Cold War,” Caldicott urged.

Dr. Helen Caldicott is a trailblazer and role model, not only for the women at WAND, but for women everywhere who seek to make the world a healthier, safer, more peaceful place.

A brief history of WAND can be found on our website:

For more information on Helen, visit:

July 1, 2016 Posted by | opposition to nuclear, USA | Leave a comment

Scrapping Trident won’t destroy tens of thousands of jobs

logo-CND-1Ignore pro-nuclear spin: CND says scrapping Trident won’t destroy tens of thousands of jobs Jun, 2016 Any threat to jobs resulting from a decision to scrap Britain’s Trident nuclear weapons system must be seen in its actual context and not through the prism of flag-UKpro-nuclear spin, the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) claims in a new report.

Released on Thursday, “Trident and jobs: The employment implications of cancelling Trident replacement” picks apart the myth that scrapping the nuclear weapons would wipe out tens of thousands of jobs.

The government claims that “the current system and its replacement provide civilian jobs, some of them highly-skilled and well paid, many in deprived areas where alternative employment of the same quality is scarce,” said CND.

CND argues that the current figure of around 30,000 usually given for the number of jobs dependent on the current and proposed deterrents is overestimated, and that armed forces personnel and others must be subtracted from that sum in order to reach a true figure.

Those workers, the group says, would be reallocated to other parts of the military or set to work decommissioning the subs if the program was scrapped.

CND say the actual figure is closer to 11,000 and that Trident itself cannot justify the money required to continue funding it given that it is not self-sustaining, incredibly costly, and effectively useless.

Instead, they argue that “a host of industries are in need of investment, from wind and wave power, to nuclear decommissioning, to aerospace technology to marine industries and others.

British industry as a whole “faces chronic skills shortages which public sector-led investment can address,” the group adds.

The money saved by not replacing Trident would provide the finances for this program. This would amount to an industrial strategy for Britain with the existing workforce and regions at its core.

At a cost of £205 billion, CND posit that replacing Trident cannot be justified on its own terms, and other uses for the money and the workers must be found.

July 1, 2016 Posted by | UK, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Mainstream media stays silent about about nuclear hazards, and rising cancer rates

media-propagandaAs the utility companies and government agencies continue to downplay the severity of these situations, the residents who live the closest to these spots are already feeling the effects.

According to a recent report, Radiation and Public Health Project researchers compared the state and national cancer data from 1988-92 with three other five-year periods (1993-97, 1998-02, and 2003-07). The results, published in 2009, show the cancer rates going from 11 percent below the national average to 7 percent above in that time span. Unexpected increases were detected in 19 out of 20 major types of cancer. Thyroid cancer registered the biggest increase, going from 13 percent below the national average to 51 percent above.

While the U.S. war machine spends hundreds of billions of dollars per year waging war against humanity, Americans at home are dying from a crumbling nuclear infrastructure. The realization that multiple nuclear disasters are currently unfolding across the country, while the mainstream media remains silent, speaks to the fact that most media is owned by the same benefactors that have a vested interest in maintaining the status quo.

There’s No Covering Up This One — Visible Pollution Leaking From NY Nuclear Plant, Activist Post,  By Matt Agorist, 1 July 16  US Coast Guard officials have cordoned off a portion of Lake Ontario this week, after aerial spotters found a visible “sheen” that is coming from a nuclear power plant in upstate New York.

The Coast Guard Auxiliary aircrew first noticed the sheen on Sunday. Shortly after, a boat crew from the Oswego station tested the sheen and a “temporary safety zone” was put in place.

The Free Thought Project spoke to the Coast Guard Sector Buffalo Command Center on Tuesday and confirmed that the zone was still closed off, and there is no information as to when it will reopen.

The oil sheen is said to be coming from the vent for the hydrogen seal system of the Fitzpatrick plant is in Scriba, New York, approximately 10 miles northeast of Oswego……..

It appears that this Fitzpatrick leak is likely the least worrisome of current leaks popping up around the country.

Although the media spotlight is rarely shined upon America’s aging nuclear infrastructure, U.S. nuclear power plants are decaying rapidly, precipitating numerous nuclear environmental disasters across the country.

To give you an idea of the scope of the crisis facing America’s aging nuclear infrastructure, a startling investigation by the Associated Press found radioactive tritium leaking from three-quarters of all commercial nuclear power sites in the United States.

As The Free Thought Project reported last month, a major nuclear disaster is unfolding in Washington state at what is known as the Hanford nuclear site. There have been reports that the Hanford has been leaking massive amounts of radioactive material for over two weeks. Continue reading

July 1, 2016 Posted by | environment, health, USA | Leave a comment

America’s future in renewables: nuclear can’t compete on costs nor on safety

poster renewables not nuclearFlag-USAOur future is in green energy not aging, costly nuclear plants Seattle Times,  June 29, 2016   By   “……..The nuclear station, now called the Columbia Generating Station (CGS), was once known as Washington Public Power Supply System No. 2. This is a relic of an energy plan begun in the 1960s and built with technology from the 1970s. It is an 8-track tape player in an iPad world. The prices of electric power have plummeted over the years as renewables have sharply declined in price, natural gas is facing a glut and new technologies from LED lighting to rooftop solar have arrived.

Over the past four years, the market price of power that is produced from CGS has been only a bit more than half what it cost to produce it. We recently reviewed the cost and value data for our Northwest clients and found that ratepayers had paid more than $500 million more in cost than the energy was worth since 2012. We know that given the lower prices today, running the plant for the next four years will cost the region $800 million more than the value of the power it produces. Put another way, we could pay each employee of the nuclear plant a $500,000 severance and still have money left over for wind generators and solar panels.

Why is the plant so expensive? It is in a poor location — competing with far less costly renewable resources like wind and hydroelectricity. When the wind blows and the rivers surge, we have to turn off these resources, since the nuclear plant can’t adjust its output like alternative-energy resources. We have no storage solution for the nuclear waste that is being stored in its elevated spent fuel pool and in dry casks outside the plant. The plant is a singleton, rather than having twin units — there are strong economies of scale for twin plants that share repair and operating resources.

However, even more efficient, better-located nuclear plants are closing across the U.S. — recent announcements indicate plants closing in Illinois, New York, California, Massachusetts, and Nebraska. These plants are not closing because they are ailing. They are closing because the costs of aging nuclear is simply much higher than cleaner and simpler technologies.

The Nebraska closure is a case in point. Last week, the Omaha Public Power District, a public power entity comparable to Energy Northwest, announced the closure of the Fort Calhoun Nuclear Station on economic grounds. This was a thoughtful, well-considered opinion that weighed the costs over the rhetoric…….

The bottom line is that we can afford a much better mix of resources — at lower cost — than this aging nuclear station. As the Omaha Public Power District put it, it is time to rebalance our generating portfolio for a less expensive and less risky future.

July 1, 2016 Posted by | business and costs, USA | Leave a comment

Moldova hesitant – for now, resisting China’s nuclear marketing

Buy-China-nukes-1Will China Bring Nuclear Power to Moldova?, Eurasia Net 30 June 16  China appears willing to help Moldova become a nuclear power. But for now officials in Chi?in?u seem hesitant to go all-in on atomic energy.

Chinese representatives from the state-run National Nuclear Power Company (NNPC) were in Moldova in mid-May for talks aimed at identifying opportunities to boost “bilateral cooperation in the energy sector,” according to an official statement. Chinese and Moldovan officials agreed to complete a feasibility study on “launching new projects for producing electricity in Moldova” by the end of 2016……

For now, the Moldovan government seems more interested in renewable energy. ……

Târ?u said that he advised against a nuclear power plant because of the environmental risks, plus Moldova’s lack of water resources, facilities for storing radioactive waste, and “qualified and experienced staff in this field.”

Another risk also exists: an Associated Press report in late 2015 indicated that Moldova could be atrafficking hub for nuclear materials. Criminal groups with supposed Russian ties allegedly have used the country four times since 2010 to try and pass radioactive materials to anti-Western customers (including a Moldovan undercover agent posing as a representative of the Islamic State terror organization). None of the attempts succeeded……..

energy expert Târ?u does not believe that a nuclear power plant will be built in Moldova. Thirteen years ago, Moldova also considered the possibility of a French-built nuclear power plant, but the discussions resulted in nothing .

July 1, 2016 Posted by | China, EUROPE, marketing, safety | Leave a comment

World action effective against damage to ozone layer: our choices can help

The world decided to take an action on these chemicals, and the planet is responding as we expected. People can take heart by seeing that our choices can help the environment.”

Ozone depletion 15Hole in the ozone layer is finally ‘healing’ ABC Science  Dani Cooper 1 July 16 The ozone hole over Antarctica is finally “healing” almost 30 years after the world banned the chemicals responsible for its creation, researchers say.

Key points:

  • The ozone hole fluctuates from year to year due to natural factors
  • Last year volcanic eruptions increased the hole to its largest size ever
  • But now there is evidence it is finally on a downward trend
  • This is 30 years after the decision to ban the chemicals that created it

According to the latest measurements, the ozone hole above the Antarctic is now smaller than it was around the year 2000, by about 4 million square kilometres.

However, renowned ozone hole expert Professor Susan Solomon, from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, said the hole still averages about 17 million square kilometres in size.

“It isn’t completely healed, but it’s better than the 21 million we had around 2000,” she said. The surprise finding comes just a year after scientists reported the ozone hole was the biggest it had ever been.

However, Professor Solomon and colleagues have pinpointed the growth in the hole in 2015 to the eruption of the Calbuco volcano in Chile, which increased particles in the Antarctic stratosphere.

“The reason we have an ozone hole is because Antarctica is so cold that clouds form in the Antarctic stratosphere, and chlorine can react on the surfaces of those cloud particles,” Professor Solomon said.

“Volcanic particles are one thing that can serve as the ‘seed corn’ for those clouds, so a volcanic eruption will increase the clouds, and slow down the healing.”

Legacy of past pollutionThe ozone layer plays a critical role in protecting life on Earth by absorbing ultra-violet radiation from the sun. UV radiation is linked to skin cancer, genetic damage and immune system suppression in living organisms.

It is also linked to reduced productivity in agricultural crops and the food chain.

In 1987 there was an international decision to phase out the use of chlorine-containing gases called chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), which were identified as being the main cause of depletion of the ozone layer.

But Professor Solomon said the chemicals that had led to the ozone hole had a life span of between 50 to 100 years in the atmosphere.

“These molecules have long lifetimes in our atmosphere so even though we aren’t making them anymore there is still a lot in the atmosphere,” she said.

“It will be many years before the hole closes completely, but we can now see signs that it is not only not getting worse, but actually starting to get better.”

Professor Solomon said the discovery, published today in Science, lent hope for the fight against climate change.

“The ozone example shows that when people engage with environmental problems, policymakers have a basis for making choices,” she said.

“The world decided to take an action on these chemicals, and the planet is responding as we expected. People can take heart by seeing that our choices can help the environment.”………



July 1, 2016 Posted by | 2 WORLD, ANTARCTICA, climate change | Leave a comment