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The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry Fukushima Chernobyl Mayak Three Mile Island Atomic Testing Radiation Isotope

Canada’s Conservative and Liberal politicians in the service of the nuclear lobby, not the Canadian people

Conservatives and Liberals advance corporate Canada’s nuclear dreams, http://www.rabble.ca/columnists/2019/09/conservatives-and-liberals-advance-corporate-canadas-nuclear-dreams   Ole Hendrickson September 18, 2019

Ignoring the advice of her own expert panel, Trudeau’s environment minister Catherine McKenna has exempted more projects and further gutted Canada’s environmental assessment regime.

The Trudeau government’s controversial Impact Assessment Act (Bill C-69) and its key regulation (the Physical Activities Regulations, better known as the “project list”) came into force on August 28 — slipped through during the summer season.

In 2012 the Harper government slashed the number of projects requiring environmental assessment, arguing that only the biggest projects have an impact on the environment.

Under the Impact Assessment Act, many nuclear projects can now proceed unimpeded by impact review requirements to assess effects on the environment, health, social or economic conditions; effects of malfunctions or accidents; or impacts on the rights of Indigenous peoples.

The Harper government’s 2012 project list did require assessment of new uranium mines or mills. The new list requires assessment only if a uranium mine or mill has a capacity over 2,500 tonnes per day.

The 2012 list required assessment of new nuclear reactors. The new list allows reactors generating up to 200 million watts of heat to be built anywhere without assessment. 

Furthermore, the new list allows nuclear waste storage facilities to be built on the sites of any of these so-called “small modular reactors” without assessment.

This paves the way for a Canadian landscape dotted with mass-produced nuclear reactors — the vision of a “roadmap” released by Natural Resources Minister Amarjeet Sohi in November 2018.

Canada’s nuclear industry giants — Cameco and SNC-Lavalin — were deeply involved in these developments. The nuclear industry has long been the darling of the federal government.

Cameco operates the world’s largest uranium mine in northern Saskatchewan, the world’s largest commercial uranium refinery in Blind River, Ontario, and the Port Hope, Ontario uranium conversion facility. But it has been losing global market share to facilities in Kazakhstan.

Competition is fierce. Uranium markets dried up after the Fukushima disaster. Rapid growth of renewables has virtually halted reactor construction.

Under a secret 10-year, multi-billion-dollar contract put in place during the fall 2015 election period, the Harper government gave SNC-Lavalin, in alliance with two U.S. companies, ownership of “Canadian Nuclear Laboratories” (then a subsidiary of the Crown corporation, Atomic Energy of Canada Limited).

The contract allows the alliance to carry out commercial activities — including small nuclear reactor development — at the federal government’s heavily subsidized research facility in Chalk River, Ontario.

According to the federal lobbyist registry, Neil Bruce, former president of SNC-Lavalin, met with Michael Binder, former president of the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC), to discuss “environment, climate, energy, infrastructure” on July 12, 2018.

The following week, on July 19, Tim Gitzel, president and CEO of Cameco, met with Christine Loth-Brown, a vice-president in the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency (CEAA), and with Jason Cameron, a CNSC vice-president. On July 26, Gitzel again met with these same two people, plus another CEAA vice-president. For that meeting he was accompanied by Pierre Gratton, president of the Canadian Mining Association.

On November 11, 2018, Gratton met with the following people, at the same time: Rumina Velshi, president, CNSC; Ron Hallman, president, CEAA; Christyne Tremblay, deputy minister, Natural Resources Canada; and Stephen Lucas, deputy minister, Environment and Climate Change Canada.

Canada’s senior bureaucrats gutted environmental assessment after this series of meetings.

The SNC-Lavalin affair has ripped the veil off the domination of Canada by a corporate oligarchy. Government departments, regulatory bodies such as the CNSC and CEAA (now the “Impact Assessment Agency”), and elected officials behave like corporate lapdogs.

The Conservatives handed the federal government’s nuclear research facilities over to SNC-Lavalin and its partners, along with a juicy multi-year, multi-billion-dollar contract. The Liberals pulled out all the stops so SNC-Lavalin could continue to hold federal contracts, despite fraud and corruption charges.

Natural Resources Minister Amarjeet Sohi released a road map promoting new nuclear reactors.

Environment Minister Catherine McKenna exempted these reactors and their wastes from impact assessment.

The 2015 Liberal election promise to restore public trust in environmental assessment has been broken.

Ole Hendrickson is a retired forest ecologist and a founding member of the Ottawa River Institute, a non-profit charitable organization based in the Ottawa Valley.

September 19, 2019 Posted by | Canada, politics, secrets,lies and civil liberties | 1 Comment

Canada didn’t sign the nuclear ban treaty, but can still take up its humanitarian provisions  

August 31, 2019 Posted by | Canada, weapons and war | Leave a comment

U.S. and Canadian govts funding promotion of Small Nuclear Reactors: nuclear lobby infiltrates education

Regulators formalise technical collaboration on SMR regulation,WNN, 16 August 2019  Canadian and US nuclear regulators have signed a first-of-a-kind Memorandum of Cooperation (MoC) that will see them collaborate on the technical reviews of advanced reactor and small modular reactor (SMR) technologies. Meanwhile, the US Department of Energy has awarded funds to build SMR simulators at three US universities.
The MoC was signed on 15 August in Ottawa by Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) President Rumina Velshi and US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) Chairman Christine Svinicki and follows a Memorandum of Understanding signed two years ago. …..
The US DOE has awarded three grants to support the installation of a NuScale reactor plant simulators at Oregon State University, Texas A&M University-College Station and the University of Idaho, NuScale Power announced on 15 August. The simulators will be used for research and educational purposes…..
We are very grateful to our university partners for their collaboration and eagerness to participate in this project, and to the Department of Energy for its continued support of NuScale’s groundbreaking work in the advanced nuclear industry,” NuScale Chairman and CEO John Hopkins said. “These simulator facilities will create new research opportunities and help ensure that we educate future generations about the important role nuclear power and SMR technology will play in attaining a safe, clean and secure energy future for our country.”

The simulator facilities will also be used for educational outreach to school-age students and public advocacy regarding nuclear power and SMR technology. The three grants are awarded through the DOE Nuclear Energy University Program and are worth a total of nearly USD844,000.

The simulators are based on NuScale’s simulator technology and computer models, and include an interface that accepts input from operators in a virtual control room and displays parameters simulating the plant response. They facilitate research into human factors engineering, human-system interface design, advanced diagnostics, cyber security and plant control room automation. In addition to supporting STEM research and education at universities, NuScale’s simulator can be used to show students and members of the public advanced nuclear technology in a control room setting. http://www.world-nuclear-news.org/Articles/Regulators-formalise-technical-collaboration-on-SM?feed=feed

August 19, 2019 Posted by | Canada, Education, USA | 1 Comment

Wildfire cloud study sheds light on the processes of ‘nuclear winter’

To better grasp nuclear winter, scientists study wildfire cloud, https://www.nationalgeographic.com/environment/2019/08/cloud-wildfires-how-nuclear-winter-works/  

A giant cloud from 2017 Canadian fires lingered in the atmosphere for a year, showing scientists how a cloud from a nuclear bomb would behave. BY 


August 10, 2019 Posted by | Canada, climate change | Leave a comment

The nuclear accidents we don’t hear about – Chalk River Ontario

5 Unknown Nuclear Disasters: Chernobyl Is Far from the Only One, Chernobyl is not the world’s only nuclear disaster, there are plenty of others to keep you up at night., Interesting Engineering, By  

Chalk River Ontario, Canada Incident

On December 12, 1952, there was a power excursion and partial loss of coolant in the NRX reactor at the Chalk River nuclear laboratories. Because of mechanical problems, the control rods couldn’t be lowered into the core, and the fuel rods overheated, resulting in a meltdown of the core.

Just like at Chernobyl, hydrogen gas caused an explosion that blew off the multi-ton reactor vessel seal. Also like at Chernobyl, 4,500 tons of radioactive water was found in the basement of the Chalk River reactor building.  During the accident, 10,000 curies or 370 TBq of radioactive material was released into the atmosphere.

Future U.S. president Jimmy Carter, then a U.S. Navy officer, led a team of 13 U.S. Navy volunteers who helped in the cleanup of this disaster.

On the International Nuclear Event Scale, Chalk River is a 5, along with Goiânia, Three Mile Island, and Windscale. https://interestingengineering.com/5-unknown-nuclear-disasters-chernobyl-is-far-from-the-only-one

August 3, 2019 Posted by | Canada, incidents, Reference | Leave a comment

Nuclear company SNC-Lavalin in a bit more of a mess?

SNC-Lavalin Group Inc. warns its 2019 results could be significantly lower than anticipated, largely due to cost overruns at some construction projects and says it will undergo a reorganization to exit or section off its poorer performing segments. More coming.

July 23, 2019 Posted by | business and costs, Canada | Leave a comment

Small Modular Nuclear Reactors – at least 10 years away – Canadian Nuclear Association

July 22, 2019 Posted by | Canada, Small Modular Nuclear Reactors | 1 Comment

CANADA: A generation of children were given radiation treatment without warning of cancer risks  

CANADA: A generation of children were given radiation treatment without warning of cancer risks  https://www.thoroldnews.com/local-news/canada-a-generation-of-children-were-given-radiation-treatment-without-warning-of-cancer-risks-1581753m 14 July 19

No systemic investigation into how many children underwent radiation treatment in Canada for benign conditions has been done thus far

This article, written by Itai BavliUniversity of British Columbia, originally appeared on The Conversation .

On February 9, 2001, the Vancouver Sun published an article about Nancy Riva who lost her two brothers and was diagnosed with cancer as a result of thymus radiation treatment they received as children — in the belief that this would prevent sudden infant death.

Riva and her brothers were born in Vancouver General Hospital (VGH) in the late 1940s and underwent radiation treatment at the hospital as babies.

Radiation treatment for benign illnesses (that is not for treating cancer), like Riva’s inflamed thymus gland, was a standard medical practice worldwide during the 1940 and 1950s. The treatment was considered to be safe and effective for non-cancerous conditions such as acne and ringworm as well as deafness, birthmarks, infertility, enlargement of the thymus gland and more.

In the early 1970s, medical research confirmed the long-standing suspicion that children and young adults treated with radiation for benign diseases, during the 1940s and 1950s, showed an alarming tendency to develop thyroid cancer and other ailments as adults.

In our recent paper, published in the American Journal of Public Health, Shifra Shvarts and I have explored how health authorities in the United States responded to the discovery of the late health effects of radiation treatment.

Over two million people are estimated to have been treated with radiation in the U.S. for benign conditions. We show how an ethical decision at Michael Reese Hospital in Chicago in 1973 to locate and examine former patients, who had been treated with radiation in childhood, led to a nationwide campaign launched in July 1977 by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) — to warn the medical community and public about the late effects of radiation treatment in childhood for a variety of diseases.

U.S. campaign promotes thyroid checkups

Media coverage of the Chicago hospital’s campaign had a snowball effect that prompted more medical institutions to follow suit (first in the Chicago area and later in other parts of the U.S.), resulting in the NCI’s campaign.

Hundreds of thousands of pamphlets were distributed in shopping centres across the U.S., asking people who had undergone radiation treatment to go to their family doctor for a thyroid checkup. In addition, television presenters opened their programs with warnings; notices were published in newspapers.

Meanwhile in Canada, an unknown number of patients, like Riva and her brothers, were treated with radiation. Interviewed by the Vancouver Sun in 2001, Riva wanted to raise public awareness about this issue, encouraging people who might have been treated with radiation as children to have their thyroid checked.

According to VGH’s officials, quoted in the article, locating former patients was logistically impossible. Spokeswoman Tara Wilson told Vancouver Sun reporter Pamela Fayerman:

“Under the Hospital Act, records only have to be maintained for 10 years after a patient’s last hospital admission, so it’s unlikely we would have these birth records, although people can still phone the hospital to check.”

No systematic investigation in Canada

Riva’s story raises the question of why the Canadian health authorities did not launch a campaign to warn the public, as happened in the United States. Early detection of thyroid cancer saved lives.

The U.S. campaign was known in Canada. On July 14, 1977 a Globe and Mail article titled, “U.S. increasing efforts to warn million potential cancer victims,” described the national program to alert the public of the late health effects of radiation treatment.

Moreover, in an article published in Annals of Internal Medicine in February 1978, two University of Toronto professors of medicine, Paul Walfish and Robert Volpé, discussed the long-term risk of therapeutic radiation and described the efforts made by the U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare to educate the American public about the late effects of the treatment.

To date, there has been no known attempt to systematically investigate how many children underwent radiation treatment in Canada for benign conditions and what has been done to alert the public and the medical community of the risks. From Riva we learn that in 2001 patients were still looking for advice.

Had the Canadian health authorities effectively warned the public of the long-term risk of radiation treatment, illnesses and deaths may have been prevented.

Perhaps some still could?The Conversation

Itai Bavli, PhD candidate in Interdisciplinary Graduate Studies (Public Health and Political Science), University of British Columbia

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

July 15, 2019 Posted by | Canada, radiation, Reference | Leave a comment

Cancers caused by unnecessary radiation treatment to children in 1940s and 50s. No warning was given

A generation of Canadian children was given radiation treatment and never warned of the cancer risks https://theconversation.com/a-generation-of-canadian-children-was-given-radiation-treatment-and-never-warned-of-the-cancer-risks-116403   Itai Bavli
PhD candidate in Interdisciplinary Graduate Studies (Public Health and Political Science), University of British Columbia  June 20, 2019
  On February 9, 2001, the Vancouver Sun published an article about Nancy Riva who lost her two brothers and was diagnosed with cancer as a result of thymus radiation treatment they received as children — in the belief that this would prevent sudden infant death.

Riva and her brothers were born in Vancouver General Hospital (VGH) in the late 1940s and underwent radiation treatment at the hospital as babies.

Radiation treatment for benign illnesses (that is not for treating cancer), like Riva’s inflamed thymus gland, was a standard medical practice worldwide during the 1940 and 1950s. The treatment was considered to be safe and effective for non-cancerous conditions such as acne and ringworm as well as deafness, birthmarks, infertility, enlargement of the thymus gland and more.

In the early 1970s, medical research confirmed the long-standing suspicion that children and young adults treated with radiation for benign diseases, during the 1940s and 1950s, showed an alarming tendency to develop thyroid cancer and other ailments as adults.

In our recent paper, published in the American Journal of Public Health, Shifra Shvarts and I have explored how health authorities in the United States responded to the discovery of the late health effects of radiation treatment.

Over two million people are estimated to have been treated with radiation in the U.S. for benign conditions. We show how an ethical decision at Michael Reese Hospital in Chicago in 1973 to locate and examine former patients, who had been treated with radiation in childhood, led to a nationwide campaign launched in July 1977 by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) — to warn the medical community and public about the late effects of radiation treatment in childhood for a variety of diseases.

U.S. campaign promotes thyroid checkups

Media coverage of the Chicago hospital’s campaign had a snowball effect that prompted more medical institutions to follow suit (first in the Chicago area and later in other parts of the U.S.), resulting in the NCI’s campaign.

Hundreds of thousands of pamphlets were distributed in shopping centres across the U.S., asking people who had undergone radiation treatment to go to their family doctor for a thyroid checkup. In addition, television presenters opened their programs with warnings; notices were published in newspapers.

Meanwhile in Canada, an unknown number of patients, like Riva and her brothers, were treated with radiation. Interviewed by the Vancouver Sun in 2001, Riva wanted to raise public awareness about this issue, encouraging people who might have been treated with radiation as children to have their thyroid checked.

According to VGH’s officials, quoted in the article, locating former patients was logistically impossible. Spokeswoman Tara Wilson told Vancouver Sun reporter Pamela Fayerman:

“Under the Hospital Act, records only have to be maintained for 10 years after a patient’s last hospital admission, so it’s unlikely we would have these birth records, although people can still phone the hospital to check.”

No systematic investigation in Canada

Riva’s story raises the question of why the Canadian health authorities did not launch a campaign to warn the public, as happened in the United States. Early detection of thyroid cancer saved lives.

The U.S. campaign was known in Canada. On July 14, 1977 a Globe and Mail article titled, “U.S. increasing efforts to warn million potential cancer victims,” described the national program to alert the public of the late health effects of radiation treatment.

Moreover, in an article published in Annals of Internal Medicine in February 1978, two University of Toronto professors of medicine, Paul Walfish and Robert Volpé, discussed the long-term risk of therapeutic radiation and described the efforts made by the U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare to educate the American public about the late effects of the treatment.

To date, there has been no known attempt to systematically investigate how many children underwent radiation treatment in Canada for benign conditions and what has been done to alert the public and the medical community of the risks. From Riva we learn that in 2001 patients were still looking for advice.

Had the Canadian health authorities effectively warned the public of the long-term risk of radiation treatment, illnesses and deaths may have been prevented.

Perhaps some still could?

June 20, 2019 Posted by | Canada, radiation, USA | Leave a comment

Dispute over Ottawa River nuclear waste dump: more transparency needed

Fight over Ottawa River nuclear waste dump getting political, but Liberals downriver standing behind the project—or staying quiet, The HillTimes, By PETER MAZEREEUW, BEATRICE PAEZ      Aplan to bury low-level nuclear waste at a site near the Ottawa River is raising opposition from municipalities and environmentalists. The company behind the project, Canadian Nuclear Laboratories, says it’s safe. The Near Surface Disposal Facility proposal is in year three of an environmental assessment handled by a regulator the Liberal government is on the verge of stripping of that responsibility.

A proposed dump for low-level nuclear waste near the Ottawa River has stirred up opposition from community groups, environmentalists, and municipalities worried the waste could leach into the river that flows past about 50 federal ridings, including Ottawa Centre, the home of Parliament Hill and Canada’s environment minister, Catherine McKenna.

Members of Parliament from riverside ridings closest to the site of the proposed dump at thesprawling nuclear laboratories at Chalk River, Ont., are largely staying out of the fray. That includes Ms. McKenna, who has the final say over an environmental assessment for the project that is being conducted through a Harper-era assessment process, which she and an independent review panel have discredited………

Several Liberal MPs from ridings just downstream of the site declined to comment on or be interviewed about the proposed project, as did Natural Resource Minister Amarjeet Sohi (Edmonton Mill Woods, Alta.), , while two others organized or held information sessions on the subject for their constituents.

Ms. McKenna told The Hill Times during a press conference that she “heard” concerns from her constituents about the project, but didn’t say whether she shared them. Her office did not respond to numerous interview requests on the subject.

The Ottawa Riverkeeper environmental group and the NDP candidate in Ottawa Centre, Emilie Taman, are among those who say they will raise the issue during the upcoming election campaign. Municipal politicians in Montreal and Gatineau have already expressed their opposition. CNL staff, meanwhile, are trying to spread the word about the safety and safeguards planned to keep the proposed dump, which is located less than one kilometre from the Ottawa River, from harming the environment, or people around and downstream from Chalk River.

No ‘public trust’ in assessment system

The Near Surface Disposal Facility to hold the low-level nuclear waste is being proposed by Canadian Nuclear Laboratories (CNL). It is part of a complicated arrangement of private and public organizations created under the previous Conservative federal government, which privatized the operation of the Chalk River nuclear facilities that had been run by Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd. (AECL), a Crown corporation, in 2013.

Under the new model, the part of AECL that ran the labs was shrunk down to a shell of its former self, with most of its employees transferred to CNL. The government pays CNL to run the Chalk River facilities, and AECL—and by extension, the federal government—keeps both the assets and liabilities tied to the site.

CNL is owned by a consortium of companies that mounted a bid for the right to run Chalk River. It includes Quebec’s SNC-Lavalin and U.S. engineering firms Fluor and Jacobs, which call themselves the Canadian National Energy Alliance.

The Near Surface Disposal Facility, commonly abbreviated as NSDF, is three years into an environmental impact assessment overseen by the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, a regulator for the nuclear industry.

It started the assessment in 2016, months after Ms. McKenna was given a mandate letter from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (Papineau, Que.) that tasked her with reviewing the process immediately “to regain public trust and help get resources to market.”

Ms. McKenna struck an expert review panel that same year, which spent seven months surveying environmental groups, project proponents, academics, government officials, and other stakeholders about the environmental assessment process established by the previous Conservative government in 2012. Some said that CNSC should continue to be responsible for conducting assessments, given the technical expertise of its staff, but others said it was too close to industry, creating an “erosion of public trust” in the process and its outcomes. The panel recommended that CNSC be stripped of its role conducting assessments on nuclear projects.

Ms. McKenna tabled a bill in Parliament, C-69, which did just that. An omnibus bill that has been subject to criticism by Conservative politicians, industry, and some environmentalists, C-69 would put the power over assessments into the hands of the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency, which it would rename to the Impact Assessment Agency of Canada. CNSC officials would still play a role, occupying some of the seats on review panels struck to guide assessments of nuclear projects. The Senate sent Bill C-69 back to the House last week with nearly 200 amendments, including those that would put more power over reviews back into the hands of CNSC officials.

In the meantime, however, the NSDF nuclear dump proposal is being evaluated under the old assessment system. Isabelle Roy, a spokesperson for CNSC, said in an email statement that the projects currently being examined “would not be subject to Bill C-69 if it passes,” and that the decision will ultimately be made by its independent commission. Ms. Roy said CNSC is awaiting CNL’s response to public comments regarding concerns about the project. ………

More transparency needed on what CNL considers low-level waste, experts say

In the face of public concerns that one per cent of the waste in the engineered mound would be intermediate-level waste, Ms. Vickerd said, CNL has since tweaked its proposal, limiting it to low-level waste.

According to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), a near-surface disposal facility doesn’t have the capacity to safely contain and isolate intermediate-level waste, which, by its definition, has long-lived radionuclides. Such waste, it says, has to be buried underground, by up to a few hundred metres.

Michael Stephens is a former AECL employee whose career in the nuclear industry spanned 25 years, including 16 years at the Chalk River labs, where he helped oversee the decommissioning of nuclear waste. He is one among several retired AECL employees who have decried the project as environmentally unsound.

Mr. Stephens said his main contention with NSDF is the criteria CNL is using to determine what the mound can hold. “What bothered me from the outset was originally the proposal [called] for intermediate-level waste [to be dumped],” he said. “That, by definition, is a non-starter.”

Gordon Edwards, president of the Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility, a non-profit organization that aims to educate the public on nuclear-energy issues, said the lab seems to be trying to push the limits of what it can reasonably get away with. “If you put forward an outrageous, totally unacceptable proposal, you can trim it and see how far you can go,” Mr. Edwards said. “CNL [was urged by the Harper government] to act quickly, to find a timely remediation to reduce Canada’s nuclear liability, in a … cost-effective manner. That’s code for relatively quickly, cheaply.”

Mr. Edwards has worked as a nuclear consultant; in 2017, he was hired by the federal auditor general’s office to consult for its performance audit of CNSC.

He said scrapping the idea of adding intermediate-level waste only goes “a little way” to addressing the larger issue. “What we’re talking about is a mound of literally hundreds of radioactive materials. All have different chemistries, and have different pathways to the environment, to the food chain,” he said………

Another concern for him is the plan to transport and dump the waste of other decommissioned plants, including from Whiteshell Laboratories in Pinawa, Man. “How do they know what’s in those containers? As far as we know, if they get the go-ahead to drive those containers right into where the mound will be, they’ll simply put them there, bury them … without having properly identified what’s in there,” he said.

Mr. Stephens echoed Mr. Edwards’ concerns about what, he said, could conceivably wind up in the dump. CNL, he argued, hasn’t been transparent about whether, for example, it would dump packaged solid waste, which could have varying degrees of toxicity, or building rubble that’s just been slightly contaminated…………

https://www.hilltimes.com/2019/06/10/fight-over-nuclear-waste-dump-getting-political-but-liberals-downriver-standing-behind-the-project-or-staying-quiet/203454

June 11, 2019 Posted by | Canada, politics, wastes | Leave a comment

A new way to remove CO2 from the air – (perhaps – or too good to be true?)

Scientists Have Found A Way To Remove CO2 From Air, Which May Reverse Global Warming,   https://www.indiatimes.com/technology/science-and-future/scientists-have-found-an-easy-way-to-remove-co2-from-air-reduce-global-warming-368327.html      Gwyn D’Mello,  May 31, 2019,  
A number of research teams around the world are currently working towards scrubbing all the excess carbon dioxide from the air. It’s one of the prime reasons we are seeing record breaking rise in temperature across India this summer.Not only could this do wonders to push back global warming, but we can also put all of that CO2 to good use in other applications. Take this research team from the University of Toronto Engineering for instance. They’ve developed a new electrochemical path to transform carbon dioxide that’s been pulled from the atmosphere into valuable products like jet fuel or plastics.

“Today, it is technically possible to capture CO2 from the air and, through a number of steps, convert it to commercial products,” says Professor Ted Sargent who led the research team. “The challenge is that it takes a lot of energy to do so, which raises the cost and lowers the incentive. Our strategy increases the overall energy efficiency by avoiding some of the more energy-intensive losses.”

The previous direct-air carbon capture method does so by forcing air through an alkaline liquid solution. The CO2 dissolves in the liquid, forming a carbonate. To use that captured CO2 however, it has to be turned back into a gas, which is the convoluted part. It requires adding chemicals to the carbonate to turn it into a solid salt, and then heat that powder to a whopping 900-degrees Celsius to regain CO2 gas. That heating method is what’s responsible for the energy wastage that makes this sub-optimal.

This team’s new method instead uses an electrolyzer, a device that uses electricity to power a chemical reaction. Electrolyzers are sometimes used to produce hydrogen fuel from water, and this team realised they can also use it to release the CO2 from dissolved carbonate, skipping the heating entirely.

The electrolyzer also has a silver-based catalyst that immediately converts the CO2 into a gas mixture known as syngas. Syngas can be easily turned into a wide variety of products, including jet fuel and plastic precursors.

“This is the first known process that can go all the way from carbonate to syngas in a single step,” says Sargent.

According to the team’s reports, their method has an overall energy efficiency of 35 percent, much higher than current methods. They do believe there’s scope to improve that, and it can of course be scaled up to an industrial level given enough time.

When that happens, we might actually be able to set up giant plants, the sole purpose of which is to scrub carbon dioxide from our air, and turn it into products we can use, helping reverse climate change in the process.

June 1, 2019 Posted by | Canada, climate change | Leave a comment

Panicky nuclear lobby produces a propaganda book, desperate to win public support

U.S., Canada Energy Leaders Announce New Book on Nuclear Innovation in Clean Energy USA Dept of Energy 
MAY 28, 2019, VANCOUVER, CANADA – Today, leaders from the United States and Canada are unveiling a new book, Breakthroughs: Nuclear Innovation in A Clean Energy System, at the Tenth Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM10), a forum including ministers from 25 nations, occurring this year in Vancouver, Canada from May 27-29.  MAY 28, 20

 “The combination of vision and innovation is having a profound impact on our energy landscape, and nowhere is that more true than nuclear energy,” said U.S. Under Secretary of Energy Mark W. Menezes. “Nuclear energy is one of our most reliable and cleanest sources of energy, and we are determined to revive and revitalize the nuclear energy industry with advanced and smart designs. This book highlights some of the incredible transformative opportunities nuclear innovation can bring to society and the clean energy future of our planet.”

Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources Amarjeet Sohi said, “The Clean Energy Ministerial is part of building the world’s clean energy future. Canada is proud to host the 10th Clean Energy Ministerial in Vancouver at this historic moment in time. We are pleased to be working with the United States, Japan, and other countries under the nuclear innovation initiative. We also welcome the release of Breakthroughs – a collection a real stories about nuclear innovations and how they can contribute to our climate change goals.”  ………

The Breakthroughs book is a product of the CEM Nuclear Innovation: Clean Energy Future (NICE Future) initiative that was launched at the May 2018 Ninth CEM in Copenhagen, Denmark. The NICE Future initiative envisions nuclear energy’s many uses in contributing to clean, reliable energy systems of the future.  …….. https://www.energy.gov/articles/us-canada-energy-leaders-announce-new-book-nuclear-innovation-clean-energy

May 30, 2019 Posted by | Canada, spinbuster, USA | Leave a comment

Canada’s plans for nuclear waste disposal

Canada’s nuclear waste to be buried in deep underground repository, By Eric Sorensen, Global News, 29 May 19, “……..While the nuclear creating heat and electricity has been well contained in reactors, ceramic pellets and fuel bundles, we have been left with big a problem that everyone saw coming:  the hazard posed by nuclear waste.

At the Bruce plant, low and intermediate level wastes are accumulating.  Low-level includes worker clothing and tools.  Typically, they could be radioactive for 100 years.  Intermediate-level waste is described as resins, filters and used reactor components that could be a hazard for 100,000 years.

Ontario Power Generation has slowly made headway for a plan to bury this waste in a deep underground repository next to the Bruce plant.  Much of it now sits in large tanks with row upon row of cement lids poking above the surface.of the ground.

Fred Kuntz, wearing an OPG hard hat, gazed over the containers:  “This is all safe storage for now, but it’s not really the solution for thousands of years.  The lasting solution is disposal in a deep geologic repository.”

He pointed to a stand of trees. “The DGR would be built here.”

Some think that’s a terrible idea.  The repository could leak, it could be attacked, and the location on the Bruce site is barely a kilometer from Lake Huron, which has opponents on both sides of the Great Lakes up in arms.

“There isn’t a magic bullet. It’s not like we can put it out of sight and we’ve solved the problem.” said Theresa McClenaghan of the Canadian Environamental Law Association.

She suggests humans have little concept of how long 100,000 years is.  She questions whether the facility would last and whether we can be sure we’ll be able to communicate the dangers to some future civilization.
………..The deep geological repository was approved by an environmental review panel in 2015, but both the Harper and Trudeau governments have put off giving the final go ahead. It now appears to hinge on the approval by indigenous people in the region.
For the Saugeen Ojibway Nation, it’s about time they were consulted.  Fifty years ago, the concerns of indigenous people were an afterthought when it came to major public policy decisions.

The nuclear plant was built on the traditional land of the Saugeen Ojibway. OPG says it has come to recognize the “historic wrongs of the past” and is negotiating compensation for those wrongs.  And moving forward, OPG has given its assurance that the repository will only be built if the Saugeen Ojibway approve – from an afterthought to the power of veto over a multibillion-dollar enterprise……….

Remarkably, this is the relatively easy stuff to deal with: low- and intermediate-level nuclear waste. An even bigger problem is high-level radioactive used fuel. It too is piling up, primarily at the three big Ontario plants. It may be toxic for a million years. ……..

Ultimately they need to find one particular community to be a “willing host” for what amounts to 57,000 tonnes of used nuclear fuel……..

The plan is to pack the bundles into carbon steel tubes coated in copper – 48 bundles per container. They look like a big torpedoes. Each one will be packed snugly into what look like coffins made of a special clay called bentonite.

Thousands of bentonite boxes will be moved by robotic machines into hundreds of long placement rooms deep underground. Dried slightly, the clay will expand and plug every last space, ultimately sealing the repository. ……

Picking a host community, getting regulatory approval, building the repository, and transferring high-level waste will take the next 50 years.

It is separate from the OPG plan for low- and intermediate-level waste, which could have an answer from the Saugeen Ojibway Nation by the end of this year, and federal approval in 2020.

As it turns out, two of the NWMO sites for high-level waste – South Bruce and Huron-Kinloss – are also on Saugeen Ojibway land, so they may ultimately have to decide on separate nuclear waste projects on their land………https://globalnews.ca/news/5329835/canadas-nuclear-waste-to-be-buried-in-deep-underground-repository/

May 30, 2019 Posted by | Canada, wastes | Leave a comment

Nuclear power to fix climate change? As likely as catching a unicron

Alberta nuclear energy just a unicorn, EDMONTON JOURNAL 

Re. “Fear not, new nuclear reactors can solve Canada’s climate change crises,” David Staples, April 26

David Staples argues nuclear means we don’t have to fear climate change. There are a few assumptions behind his suggestions that I take issue with.

First, is that a consensus on nuclear is politically achievable. It’s as if Fukushima, Chernobyl, Three Mile Island, et cetera, haven’t happened or that we’ll just forget about them and agree to build something better this time. I suggest approval of nuclear is as likely as finding Sasquatch. If you think it’s tough to build a pipeline, just try to sell something with toxic waste that lasts forever but can make terrible weapons.

Nuclear would take years of lobbying, and if successful, be followed by years of construction. The technical complexity, political controversy and financial uncertainty guarantee these projects are always way behind schedule. Reactor projects in the UK and Germany have been cancelled.

The second assumption is that business as usual is fine in the meantime. The Calgary flood, Fort McMurray fire, et cetera, have shown Albertans and Canadians that we are in an emergency.

We do not have time to waste chasing unicorns; carbon capture and storage has certainly taught us that. Time is more valuable than money now.    https://edmontonjournal.com/opinion/letters/saturdays-letters-alberta-nuclear-energy-just-a-unicorn

 

April 29, 2019 Posted by | Canada, climate change | Leave a comment

Canada’s Came co Corp slow to clean up groundwater contaminated with uranium at Saskatchewan mill

Saskatoon Star Phoenix 20th April 2019 , Canada’s largest uranium producer says it’s developing a plan to clean
up groundwater contaminated with uranium and radiation four months after it was first discovered at a shuttered mill in northern Saskatchewan.

Cameco Corp. reported in December that a sampling well adjacent to its Key Lake mill “was showing an increasing trend in uranium concentration” after 50,000 litres of water were “released” over the previous year. Carey Hyndman, aspokeswoman for the Saskatoon-based company, said this week that the incident was immediately reported to the Saskatchewan Ministry of Environment and the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission.

https://thestarphoenix.com/news/local-news/cameco-developing-plan-to-clean-up-contaminated-groundwater-at-key-lake

April 22, 2019 Posted by | Canada, Uranium, water | Leave a comment