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Secretive and corrupt plan to make Labrador, Canada, the world’s nuclear toilet

Plans they had for a meeting in April 2020 with partners in Japan were foiled by pandemic-related health restrictions. 

Former prime minister Jean Chrétien part of secretive project to store nuclear waste in Labrador, emails show,   
Marie-Maude Denis
Jacques TaschereauDaniel Tremblay  · CBC News ·Apr 01, 2021   As borders closed and lockdowns hit last spring, a group of entrepreneurs and lawyers had something else on their minds: setting up a facility in Labrador for international nuclear waste. 

The meeting was to bring together former U.S. government nuclear adviser Tim Frazier, Montreal business executive Albert Barbusci, as well as influential figures in Japan’s nuclear and public relations industries. 

Emails drafted in 2019 and 2020, obtained by Radio-Canada’s Enquête investigative program, reveal they were going to discuss a secretive project to bury nuclear waste from foreign countries in Labrador. 

Former prime minister Jean Chrétien was a player in the initiative. Another backer of the plan highlighted Chrétien’s ties to the current Liberal government and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Chrétien has acted as counsel for the project’s promoters, who are clients of his law firm, Dentons. 

In a letter Chrétien wrote in summer 2019 to an executive at a major Japanese public relations agency, Hisafumi Koga, he argues in favour of storing other countries’ nuclear waste in Canada and said he will help move the project forward……….

Experts puzzled by secrecy

But some nuclear energy experts, who spoke to Enquête after reviewing the emails, question the safety of such a project and raise concerns around the lack of government involvement, and secrecy surrounding it. 

“I must say I was really stunned that there is a small group of very high-profile representatives … that are coming together to form this conspiracy,” said Mycle Schneider, an international consultant on nuclear energy based in Paris. 

Schneider, whose expertise is sought after around the world, said this type of project should be led by governments, not industrialists. 

“We are not talking about building a garage somewhere,” he said. 

“We’re talking about a highly complex project that no country in the world has so far successfully implemented and, you know, storing radioactive material.”

Schneider also takes issue with the group’s explicit wishes to keep their plans covert, considering “the dangers of the substances involved.”

The group wants to bury the imported nuclear waste in what is known as a “deep geological repository” or DGR. ……..

Canada’s Nuclear Waste Management Organization has for years tried to build a DGR to bury waste from Canadian nuclear power plants, including in Ontario.

But the emails show this project is different, focusing instead on working with other nations to store their waste — starting with Japan — something that hasn’t been done before, according to Schneider. 

“And there are good reasons,” he said. “This is extremely radioactive material. From a meter away, if spent fuel is not protected, it would deliver a lethal dose to a human being within a minute.”……..

Emails reveal project may be years in the making

When Radio-Canada reached out to Albert Barbusci, the Montreal entrepreneur promoting the project, and to Chrétien, both appeared to minimize its importance, as well as their involvement…….

A June 2020 email from Barbusci refers to a “smooth transition” after former Newfoundland and Labrador premier Dwight Ball’s resignation, which took effect in August…….

Four years ago, Ball’s chief of staff, Greg Mercer, was found to have failed to report his previous lobbying activities on time. Some of his lobbying involved the company at the heart of the group’s nuclear storage project, Terravault. 

Frazier, the former U.S. nuclear adviser and another key player in the project, is one of Terravault’s major shareholders. He refused to speak with Radio-Canada. 

Mercer was found at the time to have been more than a year late declaring his lobbying activities with Terravault before working for Ball. 

Ball also said Thursday Chrétien mentioned the idea of a DGR in Labrador to him. ……………..

Translated by CBC Montreal’s Verity Stevenson

April 2, 2021 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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