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The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

Ambitious solar power plan for 12,000 homes in Saskatchewan

community-solarSaskPower says solar plan to power up to 12,000 homes by 2021
Crown says between 10,000-12,000 Sask. homes will run on solar power within 5 years 
CBC News                   22, 2016  SaskPower says between 10,000-12,000 homes in Saskatchewan will be run on solar power by 2021, from a project aiming to deliver 60 megawatts. Some of that electricity should be reaching the grid by 2018.

The government’s target is to have 50 per cent of its power delivered by renewable sources by 2030.

“So if we think about it, 2000 megawatts would be about fifty per cent of our mix today,” said Guy Bruce, SaskPower’s Vice President of Planning, Environment and Sustainable development. “So it’s a relatively small percentage, but it’s a move in the right direction.”

Three types of solar power providers

The 60-megawatt plan is divided into three types of providers. Twenty megawatts are expected to be provided by community projects, and another 20 from a competitive bidding process with vendors due to begin in September. SaskPower says it’s currently in negotiations with the First Nations Power Authority to provide two more 10-megawatt solar projects. ………http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/saskatchewan/saskpower-solar-plan-2021-1.3774119

September 26, 2016 Posted by | Canada, decentralised | Leave a comment

Canada’s SNC Lavalin marketing nuclear reactors to China

nuclear-marketing-crapSNC-Lavalin to build Candu nuclear reactor for China, BERTRAND MAROTTE, MONTREAL — The Globe and Mail, Sep. 22, 2016 SNC-Lavalin Group Inc. is closing in on its goal of becoming a major player in China’s thriving nuclear-energy industry with an agreement for the development in that country of the next generation of Candu reactors.

The Montreal-based global engineering giant said on Thursday it has an agreement in principle for a joint venture with state-owned atomic-power and weapons company China National Nuclear Corp. and manufacturing conglomerate Shanghai Electric Group Co. Ltd. to design, market and build the Advanced Fuel Candu Reactor (AFCR).

SNC signed an initial memorandum of understanding with CNNC to pursue power generation, mining and nuclear-related environmental projects around the world more than two years ago.

 The joint venture to be created – the new company is expected to be registered in China by mid-2017 – is the first between a foreign company and the Chinese nuclear giant involving the development of new technology…….

SNC bought the Candu unit from Ottawa for $15-million in 2011. But Candu has had a poor track record of selling its technology abroad and questions have also been raised over its cost-effectiveness.

China, however, appears to have endorsed the concept of building reactors that run on recycled uranium…….

The proposed joint venture follows the signing of a framework agreement in 2014 and is subject to government and regulatory approvals, SNC said. http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/industry-news/energy-and-resources/snc-lavalin-strikes-deal-to-build-nuclear-reactors-in-china/article32000350/

September 23, 2016 Posted by | Canada, China, marketing | Leave a comment

Canadian political parties forced to reimburse illegal SNC-Lavalin donations

Liberals, Conservatives reimburse illegal SNC-Lavalin donations, ROBERT FIFE AND DANIEL LEBLANC OTTAWA — The Globe and Mail, Sep. 08, 2016 The federal Liberal and Conservative parties were forced to reimburse the government after the commissioner of elections found they had received $117,803 in illegal donations from SNC-Lavalin’s political slush fund.

The unlawful contributions span from March, 2004, to May, 2011, and showcase how dirty money that funded Quebec political parties also found a home in the federal arena.

The Liberal Party received the bulk of the illegal donations from the Quebec engineering giant, amounting to $109,615, while the Conservatives got $8,187. As part of its reimbursement, the Liberal Party covered $12,529 in donations that SNC-Lavalin gave in 2006 to the leadership campaigns of Michael Ignatieff, Bob Rae, Stéphane Dion and Gerard Kennedy.

 Montreal-based SNC-Lavalin has been mired in corruption and bribery scandals over the past decade involving attempts to curry favour with politicians and other influential players to win lucrative engineering and construction contracts in Canada and abroad. The RCMP has raided SNC-Lavalin’s offices a number of times over the years.

The Commissioner of Canada Elections, Yves Côté, announced Thursday morning that the company had signed a compliance agreement with the federal agency and committed to put in place a series of steps to ensure it does not make illegal donations in the future.

SNC-Lavalin has already admitted it made more than $1-million in illegal donations to Quebec political parties during the 2000s. Like other engineering firms in the province, managers and family members made personal donations to parties, which were then reimbursed with salary bonuses.

A commission of inquiry found that officials inside the Quebec Liberal Party and the Parti Québécois were aware of SNC-Lavalin’s political slush fund, although there is no evidence the federal political parties knew the donations were illegal.

The Liberal Party said it was informed of the illegal donations by the Commissioner of Canada Elections last month, and immediately reimbursed the Chief Electoral Officer……….

An elections commissioner investigation found that senior SNC-Lavalin executives illegally donated $83,534 to the Liberal Party of Canada; $13,552 to various Liberal riding associations; $12,529 to contestants involved in the 2006 Liberal leadership race; $3,137 to the Conservative Party; and $5,050 to Conservative riding associations………

Facing the threat of getting barred from future federal contracts, SNC-Lavalin signed an “administrative agreement” last year with the Public Services and Procurement Department under the government’s new integrity regime. The agreement allows companies that have federal charges pending against them to continue to contract with or supply the government. As part of the deal, SNC agreed to strict conditions and third-party oversight of its business practices. http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/snc-lavalin-violated-elections-act-with-contributions-to-liberals-tories/article31762290/?cmpid=rss1&click=sf_globe

September 13, 2016 Posted by | Canada, Legal, secrets,lies and civil liberties | Leave a comment

Nuclear company SNC-Lavalin’s sorry history of corruption

corruptionLiberals, Conservatives reimburse illegal SNC-Lavalin donations, ROBERT FIFE AND DANIEL LEBLANC OTTAWA — Theflag-canada Globe and Mail, Sep. 08, 2016 The federal Liberal and Conservative parties were forced to reimburse the government after the commissioner of elections found they had received $117,803 in illegal donations from SNC-Lavalin’s political slush fund.

The unlawful contributions span from March, 2004, to May, 2011, and showcase how dirty money that funded Quebec political parties also found a home in the federal arena.

The Liberal Party received the bulk of the illegal donations from the Quebec engineering giant, amounting to $109,615, while the Conservatives got $8,187. As part of its reimbursement, the Liberal Party covered $12,529 in donations that SNC-Lavalin gave in 2006 to the leadership campaigns of Michael Ignatieff, Bob Rae, Stéphane Dion and Gerard Kennedy.

 Montreal-based SNC-Lavalin has been mired in corruption and bribery scandals over the past decade involving attempts to curry favour with politicians and other influential players to win lucrative engineering and construction contracts in Canada and abroad. The RCMP has raided SNC-Lavalin’s offices a number of times over the years.

The Commissioner of Canada Elections, Yves Côté, announced Thursday morning that the company had signed a compliance agreement with the federal agency and committed to put in place a series of steps to ensure it does not make illegal donations in the future.

SNC-Lavalin has already admitted it made more than $1-million in illegal donations to Quebec political parties during the 2000s. Like other engineering firms in the province, managers and family members made personal donations to parties, which were then reimbursed with salary bonuses.

A commission of inquiry found that officials inside the Quebec Liberal Party and the Parti Québécois were aware of SNC-Lavalin’s political slush fund, although there is no evidence the federal political parties knew the donations were illegal…….

An elections commissioner investigation found that senior SNC-Lavalin executives illegally donated $83,534 to the Liberal Party of Canada; $13,552 to various Liberal riding associations; $12,529 to contestants involved in the 2006 Liberal leadership race; $3,137 to the Conservative Party; and $5,050 to Conservative riding associations.

In the compliance agreement, SNC-Lavalin “acknowledges that, in offering to reimburse its employees for federal political contributions, and in reimbursing such contributions, it was in fact making those contributions itself.”……..

SNC-Lavalin, or former officials of the company, have in the past been accused of bribery in Algeria, Bangladesh and Libya, as well as in connection with major projects in Canada.

In March, 2012, then-CEO Pierre Duhaime, who oversaw the illegal donations and was involved in other scandals, abruptly resigned after an independent review found he had signed off on $56-million in payments to undisclosed agents to win contracts.

Later that year, Mr. Duhaime and former SNC-Lavalin vice-president Riadh Ben Aissa were charged with fraud for $22.5-million in alleged bribes paid to win SNC-Lavalin the contract to build Montreal’s super hospital. Mr. Ben Aissa served 2 1/2 years in jail in Switzerland for involvement in corruption and money laundering tied to SNC-Lavalin projects in Libya. http://www.theglobeandmail.com//news/politics/snc-lavalin-violated-elections-act-with-contributions-to-liberals-tories/article31762290/?cmpid=rss1&click=sf_globe

September 9, 2016 Posted by | Canada, secrets,lies and civil liberties | Leave a comment

$25,000 funnelled into Cabinet Minister’s riding, by nuclear company SNC Lavalin

corruption-1Cabinet minister’s riding may have received $25K from SNC-Lavalin execs   CTVNews.ca Staff  CTV News, , November 28, 2014 

SNC-Lavalin executives involved in an illegal political slush fund for Quebec provincial parties may have conducted the same practice at the federal level, CTV News has learned.

Elections Canada records reveal that 10 top SNC-Lavalin managers and their wives wrote personal cheques in 2009 to two federal Conservative riding associations that showed little chance of winning.

A total of $25,000 was funnelled to the ridings of Laurier-Sainte-Marie and Portneuf-Jacques-Cartier……..

A top SNC-Lavalin executive has previously admitted to Quebec’s corruption inquiry, the Charbonneau Commission, that the company illegally donated more than $1 million to Quebec provincial parties.

Managers made personal donations and were reimbursed with salary bonuses……http://www.ctvnews.ca/politics/cabinet-minister-s-riding-may-have-received-25k-from-snc-lavalin-execs-1.2125096

September 9, 2016 Posted by | Canada, secrets,lies and civil liberties | Leave a comment

Canada’s federal election rules violated by nuclear company SNC-Lavalin

corruption-1flag-canadaSNC-Lavalin violated election rules with campaign donations, commissioner rules
CBC News  September 8, 2016  The federal elections commissioner says SNC-Lavalin has entered into a compliance agreement for making nearly $118,000 in contributions that violated the Canada Elections Act over a seven-year period.

Problematic contributions made between 2004 and 2011 The Canadian Press Sep 08, 2016 

The federal elections commissioner says SNC-Lavalin has entered into a compliance agreement for making nearly $118,000 in contributions that violated the Canada Elections Act over a seven-year period.

The commissioner says the contributions were made to the Liberals and Conservatives between March 9, 2004, and May 1, 2011.

In the past, CBC has reported on one instance of something similar, in which a number of SNC-Lavalin executives and their families donated $15,000 to the campaign of a conservative candidate in the 2011 election.

The commissioner’s report Thursday singles out almost $118,000 in contributions made to federal parties and subsequently reimbursed, including:

  • Liberal Party of Canada: $83,534.51;
  • Various registered riding associations of the Liberal Party of Canada: $13,552.13;
  • Contestants in the Liberal Party of Canada’s 2006 leadership race: $12,529.12;
  • Conservative Party of Canada: $3,137.73; and
  • Various registered riding associations and candidates of the Conservative Party of Canada: $5,050.00.
  • According to the compliance agreement, the commissioner says former senior executives with the Montreal-based engineering firm solicited employees to make political contributions and in some cases, those employees were reimbursed with false personal expenses, fictitious bonuses or other benefits……….http://www.cbc.ca/news/business/snc-lavalin-campaign-donations-1.3752869?cmp=rss

September 9, 2016 Posted by | Canada, politics | Leave a comment

India and Canada hoping to market nuclear technology together?

nuclear-marketing-crapIndia, Canada discuss civil-nuclear cooperation The two leaders discussed a wide range of issues of mutual interest, including civil-nuclear cooperation between the two countries, an official release issued said today. Indian Express  By: PTI | New Delhi September 8, 2016 India and Canada have discussed a wide range of issues of mutual interest, including the civil-nuclear cooperation between the two countries. The discussion was held during a meeting between Union Minister Jitendra Singh and visiting Canada Minister for Natural Resources, James Gordon Carr, here on Wednesday.

The two leaders discussed a wide range of issues of mutual interest, including civil-nuclear cooperation between the two countries, an official release issued said today. As a country with large energy requirements, India looks forward to promoting nuclear energy production at a significant scale and the two nations can jointly work to achieve this, said Singh, Minister of State in Prime Minister’s Office.

He referred to a common technological base of Pressurised Heavy Water Reactor (PHWR) in which India and Canada are global leaders and it is an area offering opportunity of potential bilateral cooperation between the two countries……….

Singh referred to the visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Canada in April 2015 during which a long term uranium procurement contract was signed by Department of Atomic Energy, Government of India with the Canadian Uranium producer CAMECO…….http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-news-india/india-canada-discuss-civil-nuclear-cooperation-3020552/

September 9, 2016 Posted by | Canada, India, marketing | Leave a comment

Outcry over secret trucking of weapons grade nuclear waste to South Carolina

secret-agent-SmWeapons-grade nuclear waste shipments to U.S. prompt outcry  Trucks expected to carry radiation-truckcasks containing highly enriched uranium and radioactive isotopes  CBC News Sep 05, 2016 A highly secretive plan to ship weapons-grade nuclear waste from a federal lab northwest of Ottawa to the United States is drawing ire in some of the southern Ontario and American communities along the potential route.

Radioactive waste from the former Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd. laboratory in Chalk River, Ont., a major but dwindling world supplier of medical isotopes that is now run by a private consortium, is set to be transported in liquid form to a site in Savannah River, S.C., for processing and disposal. The route could take it through Ontario’s fruit-rich Niagara Region, or possibly even through the border crossing at Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., into Michigan, according to a lawsuit trying to stop the shipments. Thelawsuit was filed in a U.S. federal court last month by a coalition of American environmental and nuclear watchdog groups. …….

Kept secret from emergency personnel

The plan is for about 150 shipments by truck to South Carolina, a minimum distance of nearly 1,700 kilometres from Chalk River, which is 180 km northwest of Ottawa. Each shipment would carry four 58-litre steel containers placed inside a larger steel and lead tube, carrying liquid radioactive waste including isotopes of cesium, iodine, strontium and plutonium, according to the U.S. lawsuit.

The waste would also contain a modest but dangerous quantity of highly enriched uranium, which can be used to make a nuclear bomb, the lawsuit states.

The waste is a byproduct of making molybdenum-99, a medical isotope used in diagnostic tests of organs and other body parts.

The Niagara area’s regional government passed a motion last year opposing the shipments…….

One problem raised by opponents is that, for security reasons, the route through Canada and the timetable for shipments are being kept under tight secrecy — so secret that local emergency responders haven’t been kept in the loop.

“There would be no notice given, but of course it would be our first responders, my friends, my neighbours, working in our volunteer force and in our emergency services, that would be exposed… in case there was an accident,” Hodgson said, adding that even his local fire chief only found out through the media.

The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, the federal nuclear safety regulator, approved the steel tube design last year for transporting the nuclear waste, but full environmental assessments have not been conducted in either Canada or the U.S., opponents complain. …… http://www.cbc.ca/news/health/nuclear-waste-chalk-river-uranium-transport-carolina-1.3748658

September 7, 2016 Posted by | Canada, safety, secrets,lies and civil liberties, USA | Leave a comment

Canada’s nuclear scientists want freedom to express their safety concerns

see-no-evilflag-canadaNuclear scientists push for freedom to express views without fear of reprisals http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/nuclear-scientists-push-for-freedom-to-express-views-without-fear-of-reprisals/article31219139/ GLORIA GALLOWAYOTTAWA — The Globe and Mail, Aug. 01, 2016 Scientists working for the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission have asked their union to negotiate a policy on scientific integrity that would allow them to express their views about nuclear-safety issues without fear of reprisals from management.

The unionized professional employees at the nuclear regulator and two nuclear research facilities – Chalk River in Ontario and Whiteshell in Manitoba – have been negotiating a new contract for the past three years, a process that was significantly delayed as a result of last year’s federal election.

The labour talks have continued as the two reactors are gradually being decommissioned.

 Sources familiar with the bargaining say the CNSC workers decided that, with all of the changes that will be occurring at the two facilities, this is the time they should negotiate for the right to point out potential problems without fear of embarrassing their managers or being told to keep problems under wraps.

The Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada (PIPSC), the union that represents them, says the aim is to secure scientific integrity in the workplace. Allowing more freedom for government scientists to speak to the public and the media has been a central theme of the PIPSC’s negotiations with many government departments.

“When our members fight for scientific integrity to be in the collective agreement, they’re not just fighting for their own right as regulatory scientists, they’re also fighting for the rights of every Canadian to live in safety,” Debi Daviau, president of PIPSC.

“The situation with specialists at the nuclear regulator is a clear case of that,” she said. “After a decade of disregard for the advice of public service professionals, we want to see real change reflected in our collective agreements.”

The effort to free the CNSC’s scientific staff to voice concerns comes as the regulator investigates allegations contained in an anonymous letter, purportedly written by employees at the nuclear regulator, that says information was withheld from commissioners while they were making critical decisions about the licensing of this country’s nuclear plants.

The letter, which was sent several weeks ago to CNSC president Michael Binder, points to five separate cases in which the commission’s staff sat on relevant material about risk or non-compliance that might have called the safety of a plant into question.

Environmental groups have complained for many years that the CNSC acts more as a booster for nuclear energy than as a watchdog for public safety. In response to the union’s demands, the CNSC created a working group, composed largely of managers, to develop ways to resolve scientific or regulatory disagreements, to establish the rules for publishing research and to discuss the scope of a potential policy on scientific integrity.

A document, obtained under Access to Information by the environmental group Greenpeace, says one of the aims of that working group is to “provide mechanisms for staff to express dissenting views without fear of reprisal in a respectful environment.”

That document says the CNSC would benefit from having a science policy and recommends the creation of a science adviser position to ensure compliance with that policy.

The CNSC said in an e-mail that its staff have always had scientific freedom to publish their research, that healthy debate is encouraged, that a formal process for resolving differences of professional opinion already exists and that whistle blowers can raise concerns anonymously.

But the union says CNSC scientists are extremely fearful of the repercussions they might face for speaking out. Although management is open to creating its own internal policy around scientific integrity, the union says it wants to the policy written into the collective agreement to ensure that its members are protected.

August 29, 2016 Posted by | Canada, civil liberties | Leave a comment

Renewable energy, energy efficiency would create over 145,000 jobs in Alberta, Canada

green-collarAlberta could produce over 145,000 jobs by going green: report HTTP://EDMONTONJOURNAL.COM/BUSINESS/ENERGY/ALBERTA-COULD-PRODUCE-OVER-145000-JOBS-BY-GOING-GREEN-REPORT GORDON KENT April 22, 2016 Alberta could create more than 145,000 jobs by investing more heavily in renewable energy, energy efficiency and public transit, a report by three environmental organizations says.

The move would boost employment when oil prices have dropped, reduce carbon emissions and help shift the economy toward green industries, according to the report released Friday by Greenpeace, the Alberta Green Economy Network and Gridworks Energy Group.

“The government can start putting people back to work without having to wait for the price of oil to go back up,” co-author David Thompson said Friday, which was also Earth Day.

The report estimates 68,400 positions are available from energy efficiency upgrades on more than 183,000 older homes and other buildings, requiring spending of $1 billion over five years.

Another 30,000 to 40,000 places would come from building LRT lines at a cost of more than $3.6 billion, along with the unpriced expansion of bike lanes, sidewalks and other sustainable transportation.

As well, there could be 46,780 jobs created by 2020 by almost doubling the amount of wind power to seven per cent of the electricity grid, boosting solar and geothermal production, and improving energy efficiency and storage.

No price tag is attached to this development. The provincial budget calls for investing $6.2 billion raised by the new carbon levy in green infrastructure, renewable energy, energy efficiency and other work over five years.

Many communities are already shifting toward renewable power.

The Lubicon Lake First Nation of Little Buffalo, 465 kilometres northwest of Edmonton, put in an 80-panel, 20.8-kilowatt solar electricity system next to its health centre last summer. The Louis Bull First Nation at Maskwacis, 70 kilometres south of Edmonton, will start installing 340 solar panels on four public buildings next month, training residents to work in this field and cutting electricity bills, councillor Desmond Bull said.

The approximately $300,000 cost is being covered with money from the federal government.

The project is intended to help the environment as well as produce economic development, Bull said.

“There’s not really any template or model for how First Nations can move in this direction.”

City of Edmonton chief economist John Rose cautioned this week that governments need to be prudent about major investments in renewable energy, but Thompson said Alberta has big wind and solar resources.

“We can learn from the mistakes others have made … We can go down the tunnel and hopefully get less scratched.”

gkent@postmedia.com

twitter.com/GKentEJ

August 24, 2016 Posted by | Canada, employment, renewable | Leave a comment

Canadian nuclear boss ridicules whistledblower

civil-liberty-2smflag-canadaCanadian nuclear boss jokes about whistleblowers and muzzles environmentalistBy Mike De Souza, National Observer August 18th 2016 Shawn-Patrick Stensil shook his head in disbelief as he walked out of a Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission public meeting on Thursday.

 The commission invited Stensil to speak about nuclear safety issues, but wouldn’t let him comment about a remarkable anonymous letter that raised serious engineering and procedural issues questioning whether the agency was doing a bad job overseeing reactors. The commission’s president and chief executive, Michael Binder, led a series of jokes ridiculing the whistleblowers the night before, prompting a public rebuke by the union representing government scientists. Today, Binder cut off Stensil’s microphone.

The commission also declined to review Stensil’s 26-page analysis of the safety issues raised in the anonymous letter.

“I’ve never been shut down before like that by the commission,” said Stensil in an interview withNational Observer after his brief appearance at the meeting.

Stensil is a senior energy strategist at Greenpeace Canada, who has researched nuclear safety policy issues for more than a decade and testifies frequently before federal panels about the issue.

The commission is an independent federal regulator that is responsible for overseeing the Canadian nuclear industry. In other words, it is there to ensure that Canada’s nuclear reactors don’t meltdown and cause a full-scale catastrophe.

“I’ve been intervening before the commission for 15 years,” Stensil said. “They didn’t want to see any outside opposing views. They didn’t want to ask why it happened in the first place and it also shows that the Harper government is still alive and well at the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission. Outside views aren’t welcome. Dissenting views aren’t welcome. And that’s a legacy of Harper that the Trudeau government needs to clean up.”

The letter, released by Stensil, a nuclear campaigner from Greenpeace Canada, to media outlets in July, was addressed to Binder, who was appointed by the government of former prime minister Stephen Harper. Stensil had received a copy of the letter, along with other senior officials at the commission in May. It suggested that commission employees were not doing their job properly, withholding critical information from commissioners, prior to decisions on nuclear safety.

The letter also alleged that some nuclear plants were violating safety rules and had licenses that were approved following inadequate reviews by staff, who then withheld information from commissioners prior to decisions. The author or authors said that the commission, as a result, failed to identify safety risks at nuclear plants and impose conditions to reduce the likelihood of serious accidents.

Stensil has compared these types of failings to the errors which led to the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan that was triggered by an earthquake and tsunami in 2011, causing serious damage in its wake.

“It’s very clear from this letter that people (the authors) have inside information about what’s going on at the CNSC,” Stensil said. “I’ve seen some of these issues raised in debates internally that I’ve gotten through access to information (requests). There’s a credibility issue here. And when you start dismissing a dissenter as not having expertise, it really shows why they probably did this in an anonymous fashion.”

But when Stensil began addressing the whistleblowers’ concerns, Binder told him that the commission had discussed the anonymous letter the night before and proceeded to cut off the environmentalist’s microphone.

Whistleblowers targeted by jokes, ridicule

At that previous meeting, the commission heard testimony from several staff, led by Peter Elder, an engineer and strategic advisor at the commission who presented a report that dismissed the concerns raised by the whistleblowers and defended the commission’s oversight and integrity.

Binder and the commission’s senior staff went a bit further, suggesting that the letter’s author or authors were incompetent……After several staff members further ridiculed the letter and commended their boss, Binder, for raising good points, another executive, Ramzi Jammal, the executive vice president and chief regulatory operations officer intervened to echo their comments…….

Stensil described the whole exercise as having appeared to be staged to embarrass and shame the author or authors of the letter and discourage others from coming forward with safety concerns.

Scientists’ union rebukes nuclear boss, vows to defend public interest   Binder’s behaviour prompted a rebuke from the union that represents the commission’s scientists and which has been trying to ensure that its collective agreements with government include protections for scientific integrity to prevent muzzling.

“Our members who are involved in protecting the safety of Canadians do not take their duties or concerns lightly,” said Steve Hindle, vice-president of the Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada. “It is unfortunate that Mr. Binder has chosen to make light of such an important issue. But his reaction will not prevent our members from defending the public interest.”……. http://www.nationalobserver.com/2016/08/18/news/canadian-nuclear-boss-jokes-about-whistleblowers-and-muzzles-environmentalist

August 19, 2016 Posted by | Canada, civil liberties | Leave a comment

General Electric Co. and Hitachi sell Canadian nuclear technology buisness

BWXT to buy Ontario nuclear business from GE-Hitachi, double presence in Canada, Globe and Mail, MISSISSAUGA, Ont. — The Canadian Press, Aug. 18, 2016 General Electric Co. and Hitachi Ltd. are selling a Canadian joint venture that supplies nuclear fuel and equipment for Candu nuclear reactors – a key source of electricity for Ontario.

The buyer is a Canadian subsidiary of BWX Technologies Inc., a U.S. publicly traded company headquartered in Virginia.

BWXT says the acquisition will nearly double its presence in Canada and “signals a long-term strategic commitment” to the Candu nuclear power segment.

 BWXT Canada recently signed a contract, valued at $130-million, to design and build eight generators for Bruce Power’s nuclear generation facility in Tiverton, Ont…….http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/industry-news/energy-and-resources/bwxt-to-buy-ontario-nuclear-business-from-ge-hitachi-double-presence-in-canada/article31456767/

August 19, 2016 Posted by | business and costs, Canada | Leave a comment

Huge majority of Scarborough-Rouge River residents oppose keeping Pickering Nuclear operating beyond 2018

text-Noflag-canadaOntario Clean Air Alliance, 12 Aug 16, Residents in the Scarborough Rouge River riding oppose keeping the Pickering Nuclear Station operating beyond 2018 by a wide margin. Informed about Pickering’s high costs and large surrounding population – including all the homes in this riding — close to 70% of voters said the plant should be shut down in 2018 when its current licence expires. (Click here for full polling results.)

Voters in Scarborough-Rouge River will head to the polls on Sept. 1st to elect a new MPP in a provincial by-election. Currently, it is a race between PC candidate Raymond Cho (49%) and Liberal candidate Piragal Thiru (43%). Liberal supporters overwhelmingly support closing the plant, as do a strong majority of PC voters concerned about costs. NDP and Green supporters support closure in even greater numbers.

Living as little as 10 kilometers from Canada’s oldest nuclear plant – which is also the 4th oldest nuclear plant in North America – residents also felt they had been poorly informed about emergency measures in case of an accident at the aging plant. Fifty-nine percent rated safety-related communications poor or very poor.

Riding residents overwhelmingly supported closing Pickering when told that the province has a large surplus of electricity and lower cost options for keeping the lights on. We hope local candidates — and party leaders — will listen to Scarborough voters and promise to direct Ontario Power Generation to drop its plan to apply for a ten-year licence extension for the old and trouble-prone Pickering station.

August 13, 2016 Posted by | Canada, politics | 1 Comment

Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission’s sham review of safety allegations

biasCNSC review dismissing nuclear-safety concerns called a ‘sham’ GLORIA GALLOWAY OTTAWA — The Globe and Mail – Corrected version, Aug. 09, 2016 An internal review by the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission dismisses allegations that important information was withheld during the licensing of nuclear plants but two nuclear scientists say the review is “less than impartial” and a “sham” that should give Canadians no comfort.

In June, CNSC president Michael Binder received an anonymous letter, purported to have been written by employees at the nuclear regulator, that pointed to five separate cases in which the commission’s staff sat on relevant information that might have called the safety of a nuclear plant into question.

Peter Elder, a strategic adviser within the CNSC’s regulatory operations branch, who says he was able to maintain a neutral position because he did not work on the safety of nuclear power plants between 2008 and 2015, conducted a review that concluded late last week that none of the five cases point to any safety issues………

But two nuclear experts have written subsequent letters to Mr. Binder asking him to discard Mr. Elder’s review and to allow an arm’s-length inquiry into the allegations of the anonymous whistle-blowers.

Frank Greening, a nuclear chemist who is a former senior research scientist at Ontario Hydro, the predecessor of Ontario Power Generation, wrote that Mr. Elder’s claim to have conducted an independent investigation was “quite extraordinary and ridiculous.”

Mr. Elder “cannot possibly be independent because he is an employee of the CNSC,” wrote Dr. Greening. He asked Mr. Binder to “reject Mr. Elder’s less than impartial review.”

In a telephone interview, Dr. Greening said PSAs have, for many years “been taken very very seriously and formed the backbone of a licence renewal. And now the CNSC turns around and says well actually, they’re really not that important. That’s absurd.

“If I was one of those whistle-blowers, I would be very very distressed at this stage of the game.”

In a second letter, Sunil Nijhawan, a nuclear safety engineer with more than 35 years in the industry, wrote that Mr. Elder’s conclusions display an ignorance of basic safety principles and the legislated role of the CNSC.

“After a lifetime of working in PSAs I am now asking why so many of us toiled for years and why the industry was forced to spend well over $50-million on PSAs so far?” Dr. Nijhawan wrote. “Why are many in the rest of the world doing brilliant peer-reviewed PSAs and using the findings to not only improve operations, reduce risk and also come up with improved designs?”

Mr. Elder’s “sham” review only reinforces that view held by international nuclear professionals that there is an “incestuous” relationship between the CNSC and the utilities, Dr. Nijhawan wrote.

CNSC officials said in an e-mail on Tuesday that Mr. Elder’s review would be discussed at a commission meeting next week and they could make no further comment.

Tom Mulcair, the Leader of the federal New Democrats, wrote to Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr after the anonymous letter became public to say he found the allegations alarming and warning that they must not be ignored……..http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/cnsc-review-dismissing-nuclear-safety-concerns-called-a-sham/article31338092/

August 12, 2016 Posted by | Canada, secrets,lies and civil liberties | Leave a comment

Canadians for a Nuclear Weapons Convention putting on pressure for nuclear disarmament

This is a critical moment for the disarmament movement, and activists in Canada and abroad are pushing for broad public support for a nuclear ban. In September, the United Nations’ open-ended working group on nuclear disarmament will present its final report, hopefully laying out a path toward a convention banning these weapons for good.

flag-canadaNuclear disarmament: back on centre stagELIZABETH RENZETTI, The Globe and Mail, text-relevantAug. 05, 2016 Could Donald Trump accidentally be the best friend of the nuclear disarmament movement? This may sound like Dr. Strangelove-level madness, but the prospect of the Republican presidential candidate anywhere near the nuclear launch codes could be a pivotal movement for public awareness, and it comes at a critical time for the movement to ban those weapons.

Consider, first, that the disarmament movement, although well-organized and determined, has done its important work largely in the dark for the past three decades. It’s just not an issue that electrifies the public, even if it should. As former U.S. defence secretary William Perry writes in his recent book, My Journey at the Nuclear Brink, “Our chief peril is that the poised nuclear doom, much of it hidden beneath the seas and in remote badlands, is too far out of the global public consciousness. Passivity shows broadly.”

Now, consider that Mr. Trump has made this existential threat – Russia and the United States each have nearly 2,000 weapons deployed and ready to launch – not so much theoretical as terrifyingly real. This week, MSNBC host Joe Scarborough created a stir when he said he had heard that a “foreign policy expert” was briefing Mr. Trump, and the presidential candidate mentioned nuclear weapons, asking, “If we have them, why can’t we use them?”……

This is a critical moment for the disarmament movement, and activists in Canada and abroad are pushing for broad public support for a nuclear ban. In September, the United Nations’ open-ended working group on nuclear disarmament will present its final report, hopefully laying out a path toward a convention banning these weapons for good.

The eight nuclear powers (North Korea is the ninth) will try to block this. Canada, which has traditionally sided with it large and domineering American friend on nuclear-arms issues at the UN, could instead take a leading and ground-breaking role toward a more stable and peaceful world, as it did with the Ottawa Treaty banning landmines in 1997. (Last year, Canada was one of only 29 countries refusing to endorse a humanitarian pledge to seek a weapons treaty at the UN, along with the United States and Britain, also a nuclear power. Meanwhile 139 countries supported the pledge. Seventeen abstained, including the nuclear states India, Pakistan and China.)

More than 800 members of the Order of Canada have supported the campaign by Canadians for a Nuclear Weapons Convention, and the group Science for Peace has started a national letter-writing campaign to persuade Canadian lawmakers. This may take some doing……..

As long as the disarmament issue remains at the back of the public consciousness, nothing will change. In early August every year, the world briefly stops to remember the destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, then moves on again. This might be changing, though: There were powerful protests last month as British lawmakers voted to renew the Trident nuclear submarine defence, and alarm bells when the failed Turkish coup threatened Incirlik Air Force base, where the United States stores some of its nuclear weapons…….

both Russia and the United States are moving, in real time, to refurbish their nuclear arsenals.

It’s worth keeping in mind the words of Mr. Perry, who witnessed the devastation of Japan as a soldier stationed there after the Second World War: “I believe that the risk of a nuclear catastrophe today is greater than it was during the Cold War – and yet our public is blissfully unaware of the new nuclear dangers they face.” That’s a scary message, but fear can be a great motivator, at the right time. http://www.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/nuclear-disarmament-back-on-centre-stage/article31284426/

August 6, 2016 Posted by | Canada, opposition to nuclear | Leave a comment