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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.



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.

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

SNC-Lavalin nuclear contracts at risk if it’s convicted

Whether SNC is allowed to meet and make billions of dollars of new contractual obligations over the next decade will be crucial to the global nuclear industry and Canada’s future development…… (subscribers only)

April 11, 2019 Posted by | Canada, secrets,lies and civil liberties | Leave a comment

Canada’s controversial nuclear waste disposal design for Chalk River

April 9, 2019 Posted by | Canada, wastes | Leave a comment

“Northern Canada has warmed and will continue to warm at more than double the global rate.”

Canada Warming Twice as Fast as World, Report Warns

Many environmental effects being seen in the country are ‘effectively irreversible, say authors of study.

By Sintia Radu, Staff WriterApril 5, 2019 CLIMATE CHANGE IS ONE of the top threats that people in countries say confronts the world. Global warming is often referenced as a consequence of pollution and human activity. Levels vary across countries, yet a new report is showing a dire concern for one of the largest countries on the planet – Canada.

The North American nation is warming on average at twice the rate of the rest of the world, according to a new scientific report produced by the Environment and Climate Change Canada, the national government agency responsible for coordinating the country’s environmental policies. The average temperature in Canada today is 1.7 degrees Celsius (3 degrees Fahrenheit) higher than 70 years ago, according to the report. By comparison, the average global temperature increase during the same period is 0.8 degrees Celsius.

Both past and future warming in Canada is, on average, about double the magnitude of global warming,” say the authors of the report. “Northern Canada has warmed and will continue to warm at more than double the global rate.”

Additionally, the warming produced from carbon dioxide emissions from human activity is “effectively irreversible,” the report’s authors warn.

Among some of the report’s major findings:

  • Changes in temperature already show in various areas of the country and scientists say they will only intensify.
  • Precipitation is projected to increase, on average, yet summer rainfall may decrease in particular regions.
  • The Canadian Arctic and Atlantic Oceans have been the most impacted, with both experiencing “longer and more widespread sea-ice-free conditions”, the report says.
  • The availability of freshwater is changing, the report says, with the risk of water supply shortages expected to increase in the summer.

The magnitude of climate change in high versus low emission scenarios paint two future scenarios for the country, according to the scientists. If large and rapid warming occurs, Canada’s climate with be severely affected as greenhouse gas emissions will grow. Limited warming may only occur, the report notes, if Canada and the rest of the world work on eliminating carbon emissions early in the second half of the century and on substantially lowering other greenhouse gases

Research for the report began in February 2017 and draws “primarily from existing sources of information that have been peer-reviewed and are publicly available,” the authors say.

The report’s authors also say human influence on climate change is clear. “It is likely that more than half of the observed warming in Canada is due to the influence of human activities.”

Earlier this year a global survey of people in 26 countries named climate change as the greatest threat to international security.

April 9, 2019 Posted by | Canada, climate change | Leave a comment

Concern over Chalk River Nuclear Site’s radioactive wastes

How safe is the Ottawa River from nuclear waste? Canada’s National Observer   April 8th 2019  “……..Canada’s first nuclear reactor began operating at Chalk River, about 160 kilometres northwest of Ottawa. Since 1944, the facility has served as Canada’s major nuclear science hub. Researchers at CRL have studied reactors, nuclear energy and weaponry and produced medical isotopes for patients around the world.

“It is crucial to protect the drinking water source of over two million people,” says Ottawa Riverkeeper, a full-time, non-profit organization that serves as a public advocate for the watershed and is a key intervenor in the environmental assessment of the waste proposal.

The Chalk River site resembles an old university campus. It’s cut out of a thick and isolating forest spanning about 10,000 acres, with neatly trimmed patches of grass, and a regimented mix of large brick and smaller white structures.

The facilities owned by Canadian Nuclear Laboratories (CNL) are about seven kilometres from the gate at the border of Chalk River, a community of fewer than 1,100 residents, some of whom work at the lab which has about 2,800 employees.

Signs on a chain link fence and tree trunks along the perimeter indicate the grounds are protected by armed officers. Surveillance cameras cast a visual blanket over the road to the security clearance booth and over much of the site.

Chalk River Laboratories has for decades faced questions over the way it deals with its radioactive waste. Environmentalists have decried the facility for discharging waste into the river and for leaks. CNL says its methods for treating waste are sound and the regular liquid effluent discharges into the river have no significant public health or environmental impact on drinking water. It reports a steady evolution of environmental stewardship.

Fresh concern erupted after CNL announced detailed plans to build a nuclear disposal facility to permanently house one million cubic metres of radioactive waste — about 400 Olympic-sized swimming pools worth.

In May 2016, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission launched the environmental assessment process for the disposal project with an initial call for public comment.

Environmentalists and concerned citizens questioned how nuclear waste can remain securely contained for hundreds of years, and how it might endanger water quality if any leaks.

The waste has accumulated over decades of Chalk River’s operations. It includes low-level material, such as equipment from operations that has been irradiated and buildings that housed the reactors, and intermediate-level waste, such as filters used to purify reactor water systems and reactor core components. The irradiated material sits anywhere from a few metres to a few kilometres from the Ottawa River. ……..

Canadian Nuclear Laboratories (CNL) promotes itself as a global leader in developing applications for nuclear technology through research, engineering and waste management services.

It is a subsidiary of Atomic Energy of Canada Limited (AECL), a federal Crown corporation, and operated by the Canadian National Energy Alliance, a private consortium. Its operations are licensed by the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, the nation’s nuclear regulator.

What do water quality tests near Chalk River say?

Some nearby residents and environmental groups have argued that, while CNL says it is committed to safeguarding the health of the Ottawa River during the decommissioning process, questions remain about the lab’s ability to safely dispose of radioactive waste.

The lab’s history is peppered with minor leaks and malfunctions – and a few major ones. Critics worry that the organization’s confidence in the safety of decommissioning efforts is misplaced.

For instance, critics claim the lab is not fully transparent about its water quality testing methods and has not properly informed the public on plans for permanent storage and disposal of the radioactive material.

Ottawa resident Ole Hendrickson is a member of the Concerned Citizens of Renfrew County and Area, an Ottawa-based environmental activist group whose volunteers have worked for the clean-up and prevention of radioactive pollution from the nuclear industry in the Ottawa Valley for more than 40 years. He’s also a member of CRL’s environmental stewardship council, which convenes company officials, community representatives and other stakeholders several times a year to discuss updates from the lab.

Hendrickson said in an interview that CNL is stingy about providing environmental monitoring data, and that many of the documents with information on testing he has received through access to information requests include significant redactions.

Yet authorities in nearby towns appear unconcerned.

Brenda Royce works at the Ontario Clean Water Agency in Petawawa, about 20 kilometres downstream from Chalk River. It is a provincial Crown agency that the town contracts to do its water quality testing and water system maintenance.

In addition, Royce said her office collects a water sample from the Ottawa River at Petawawa every day for CNL to conduct its own tests. But the office does not get the results of the tests back from the private lab.

Every year, Petawawa’s water agency publishes its own report on the town’s drinking water quality and treatment system. The agency’s report includes testing for many chemicals — including uranium — but not for the two main radionuclides that might be discharged from Chalk River Laboratories operations: tritium and strontium. “It’s just what we do,” Royce said, adding she has never been curious to see results on radioactive waste in the water system.

Petawawa’s director of public works said he has never met with Chalk River officials over potential water quality hazards in the area……..

In 2012, the site’s former Crown operator contracted Université Laval to conduct independent environmental tests of the water, air and vegetation around Chalk River Laboratories and the municipalities of Petawawa and Pembroke, just south of the facility, which would be most directly affected by any potential nuclear contamination in the river. The results for 2012, 2013 and 2015 have been posted on the nuclear industry regulator’s website, and results for 2018 will be published. As of yet, no tests returned results that were expected to cause adverse health effects.

Canada’s Nuclear Safety Commission did not provide data or respond to technical questions before publication and was not available for an interview.

Test results from 2015 show levels of radioactive isotopes present in the river, such as strontium and tritium, were far below the threshold that would affect human health.

Health Canada guidelines state the maximum concentrations of strontium and tritium in drinking water are seven milligrams per litre, and 7,000 becquerels per litre, respectively.

Independent tests for strontium and tritium in the Ottawa River at Rolphton, Petawawa, and Pembroke were conducted specifically for this story. The results found strontium and tritium were not at dangerous levels in the water, as of November 2018. All indicated waste levels in the river were similar to results found by researchers from Université Laval in 2015, and reported last year by the lab itself.

While some local opponents believe there is no safe dose of radiation or safe level of radioactive waste, CNL says it abides by the standards set by the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission and the International Atomic Energy Agency, a United Nations body.

Members of CNL’s team acknowledge there are differences in international standards when it comes to certain substances, including tritium and strontium………..

When it comes to its own environmental monitoring, CNL releases a monthly performance report that indicates routine groundwater sampling at 170 locations across the site. The report does not include detailed results for the specific radioactive substances tested.

The Ontario Ministry of Environment conducts water quality tests at Petawawa every year and has never shown any concern over potential nuclear material in the water. As part of its Nuclear Reactor Surveillance Program, the Ontario Ministry of Labour published reports in 2011 and 2012 that show very low tritium levels in Ottawa’s water. No further reports have been published since.

This publication contacted recently elected municipal and provincial representatives, and the local federal politician whose seat will be up for election in 2019.

None of the representatives for the Chalk River area commented on the proposed waste facility or its possible impact on water quality. Renfrew-Nippising-Pembroke MPP John Yakabuski did not provide an interview. The area’s federal MP, Cheryl Gallant, was not available. Laurentian Hills mayor John Reinwald, the chief administrative officer and all council members did not respond to interview requests………..

April 9, 2019 Posted by | Canada, wastes | Leave a comment

Jail for hospital manager who took $10 million bribe from SNC Lavalin

Former hospital manager who took $10 million bribe to favour SNC Lavalin bid sentenced to 39 months in prison 8 Apr 19,  MONTREAL — A former hospital manager who pocketed a $10-million bribe in return for helping SNC-Lavalin win a Montreal hospital-building contract has been sentenced to 39 months in prison.

Quebec court Judge Claude Leblond sentenced Yanai Elbaz today in Montreal in a case that has been described as the greatest corruption fraud in Canadian history.

The judge rejected an argument from the McGill University Health Centre, which claimed it was entitled to compensation as a victim of the fraud. He ruled the question should be dealt with through civil proceedings.

In an agreed statement of facts tied to Elbaz’s plea, the former MUHC manager admitted to giving privileged information to engineering firm SNC-Lavalin to help its submission for the contract to build a massive hospital complex in west-end Montreal.

Elbaz, who has been detained since his Nov. 26 guilty plea, also admitted to denigrating SNC’s competitors in front of the hospital’s selection committee.

Elbaz and Arthur Porter, the ex-CEO of the MUHC who died a fugitive in Panamanian custody in 2015, received a total of $22.5 million to rig the bidding process to favour SNC-Lavalin, the statement of facts said.

April 9, 2019 Posted by | Canada, secrets,lies and civil liberties | Leave a comment

Proof now clear with evidence that Canadian government lied about the SNC Lavalin corruption case

Corbella: Wilson-Raybould’s version behind scandal is indisputable and nuclear, Calgary Herald, LICIA CORBELLA  March 29, 2019   Was she or wasn’t she (inappropriately pressured?) That is the central question behind the SNC-Lavalin controversy. All other questions are peripheral.

Licia Corbella is a Postmedia opinion columnist.


March 30, 2019 Posted by | Canada, politics, secrets,lies and civil liberties | Leave a comment

Ontario’s govt about to sabotage energy saving systems, – in the interests of the nuclear lobby

Nuclear power company backs Ford government energy plan, Canada’s National Observer , March 21st 2019 Premier Doug Ford’s Progressive Conservative government said on Thursday it will reform Ontario’s electricity system in a bid to reduce costs overall and lower rates for businesses, a move critics say limits the most efficient way to save money in the power grid and threatens thousands of clean energy jobs.

The plan, announced by Energy Minister Greg Rickford, confirm details reported exclusively by National Observer on Wednesday about a series of cuts to programs that were designed to save energy in buildings. …….

Environmental groups and opposition political parties say the moves don’t make economic sense, pointing to the IESO’s estimates that it costs more than four times more to produce nuclear energy than to conserve electricity, with nuclear costs likely to double in coming years.

The IESO estimates that it costs 1.7 cents to save a kilowatt hour (kWh) of electricity while Ontario Power Generation’s (OPG) nuclear electricity costs 8.8 cents per kWh and is forecast to rise to 16.5 cents per kWh by 2025 to pay for the re-building of the Darlington Nuclear Station.

“I’m worried that today’s announcement might set the stage for the abandonment of energy efficiency efforts while going all-in on expensive, outdated nuclear power,” Ontario Green Party Leader Mike Schreiner said in a statement.

Rickford’s plan would also threaten thousands of jobs in companies working on energy efficiency projects, according to Efficiency Canada, a lobby group that represents companies that provide energy efficiency products and services.

Corey Diamond, executive director of Efficiency Canada, said that this field of the economy has the potential to create over 14,000 jobs per year.

“Energy efficiency is the best bang for the buck for the people of Ontario,” said Diamond in a statement. “Scaling back on programs means fewer local jobs in communities across the province,” he said.

The group representing local power distributors also criticized the changes, citing IESO data showing local hydro utilities had saved over 5.8 billion kWh, enough to power more than 640,000 homes for a full year.

Local distribution companies “have made a vital contribution to delivering savings to all customers across Ontario, including families, small businesses, farmers, medium and large businesses,” said Teresa Sarkesian, president and CEO of the Electricity Distributors Association (EDA).

Ontario NDP energy and climate change critic Peter Tabuns said he agreed that the previous government’s plan was disastrous, but said that the Ford government was about to make the situation worse.

“For years, families saw their utility bills skyrocket under the Wynne Liberals and were left struggling to make ends meet each month,” Tabuns said. “Instead of making things better, and dropping the disastrous Liberal hydro borrowing scheme, the Conservatives are ripping up programs that help everyday families save money on their utility bills, so families and businesses will see their bills jump, yet again.”

March 25, 2019 Posted by | Canada, politics | Leave a comment

SNC Lavalin, Holtec poised to cash in on the world’s massive nuclear de3commissioning, nuclear waste problems

The Energy Mix 10th March 2019 On the anniversary of the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster, investigative
journalist Paul McKay reveals that the trade in radioactive waste is
becoming a lucrative opportunity for SNC-Lavalin and its U.S. partner.
If it is true that one person’s garbage can be another’s gold, then
Montreal-based multinational SNC-Lavalin and its new U.S. partner, Holtec
International, plan to be big global players in what promises to be a very
lucrative, long-term business: handling highly radioactive nuclear wastes
until permanent disposal methods and sites might be found, approved, and
That problem is pressing because the volume of spent reactor fuel is
cresting in the U.S., Canada, Europe, China, India, Russia, and Japan.
There are also hundreds of intensively contaminated reactors which must
sooner or later be entombed, dismantled, chopped up by robots, then sent in
special, sealed containers to interim storage sites somewhere.
But no country in the world has yet found a proven, permanent solution for the 250
million kilograms of spent fuel now in limbo in storage pools and
canisters, let alone the atomic furnaces which created them. There are now
about 413 operable civilian reactors in 31 countries, and another 50 under
construction. Physics tells us precisely how “hot” atomic garbage is.
Every commercial power reactor—regardless of model, type, country, or
owner/operator—contains the radioactive equivalent of many atomic bombs
locked within its spent fuel, reactor core, pumps, valves, and extensive
cooling circuits.

March 14, 2019 Posted by | Canada, wastes | Leave a comment


Centralized Storage, Beyond Nuclear 7 Mar 19 

With the scientifically unsound proposed Yucca Mountain radioactive waste dump now canceled, the danger of “interim” storage threatens. This means that radioactive waste could be “temporarily” parked in open air lots, vulnerable to accident and attack, while a new repository site is sought.



As reported by Newsweek.

Liberal Party Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau now faces calls from his Conservative Party challenger in this autumn’s election to resign over a scandal involving SNC-Lavalin, a giant engineering firm based in Montreal, Quebec. SNC-Lavalin has been accused of bribery, fraud, and other corruption over its practices in Libya. If convicted of such wrongdoing, SNC-Lavalin could be barred from Canadian federal contracts for a decade. (SNC-Lavalin has been previously barred for a decade from World Bank contracts.)

Holtec International has teamed with SNC-Lavalin to form a nuclear power plant decommissioning consortium. Already, the Holtec/SNC-Lavalin consortium has taken over ownership of the permanently shutdown Oyster Creek atomic reactor in NJ. This includes on-site irradiated nuclear fuel management.

Holtec & SNC-Lavalin are also vying for taking over the ownership of such other soon-to-be decommissioning nuclear power plants as Pilgrim in MA, and Palisades in MI.

Holtec is also the proponent for a national centralized interim storage facility for irradiated nuclear fuel in southeastern New Mexico.

Its partnership with a corrupt company like SNC-Lavalin calls into question Holtec’s own judgment.

However, Holtec itself has engaged in bribery, at the Tennessee Valley Authority’s Browns Ferry nuclear power plant; in addition, Holtec CEO Krishna Singh has been accused by whistleblowers Oscar Shirani (Commonwealth Edison/Exelon) and Dr. Ross Landsman (NRC Region 3) of attempting to bribe them into silence, re: QA violations (see below).

And Holtec CEO Krishna Singh has also made racist remarks re: his own African American and Puerto Rican American workers in Camden, NJ.

Holtec is also infamous for QA (Quality Assurance) violations in the manufacture of its irradiated nuclear fuel canisters, brought to light by whistleblowers.

See these previous Beyond Nuclear website posts, for more info. on concerns re: SNC-Lavalin:……..

March 9, 2019 Posted by | Canada, politics, secrets,lies and civil liberties | 3 Comments

Texas-based Uranium Energy Corporation strongly lobbying Trump administration, and demonising Canadian company Uranium One

The Nuclear Energy Industry Goes MAGA to Win Over Trump

A U.S. uranium company set up shop at CPAC and started spreading Clinton scare stories.  The Daily Beast, Lachlan Markay, 03.03.19   A leading U.S. uranium producer is confident that President Donald Trump is going to crack down on its foreign competitors. But in the spirit of not taking any chances, the company rented space at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference, enlisted a top Trumpworld public relations executive, and invoked a well-worn Trump attack line on his 2016 campaign opponent to try to nail down a policy win.

March 5, 2019 Posted by | business and costs, Canada, politics, Uranium, USA | Leave a comment

Corruption scandals involving engineering and nuclear build company SNC Lavalin

A closer look at SNC-Lavalin’s sometimes murky past  CBC, 12 Feb 19 One of Canada’s biggest engineering companies is at the centre of what appears to be a growing scandal engulfing Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his government.

The Globe and Mail reported Thursday that SNC-Lavalin lobbied the government to agree to a deferred prosecution agreement or remediation agreement. The company faces charges of fraud and corruption in connection with nearly $48 million in payments made to Libyan government officials between 2001 and 2011.

Trudeau denies he directed his former justice minister and attorney general, Jody Wilson-Raybould, to intervene in the prosecution. Wilson-Raybould was shuffled out of her position last month and has refused to comment on the story. Days after the story broke, the federal ethics commissioner confirmed he will investigate claims the prime minister’s office pressured Wilson-Raybould to help SNC-Lavalin avoid prosecution.

SNC-Lavalin has pleaded not guilty to the charges. The case is at the preliminary hearing stage. If convicted, the company could be banned from bidding on any federal government contracts for 10 years.

But the Libya case is just one scandal among many linked to SNC-Lavalin in the past decade.

Allegations of criminal activity are what led to the resignations in February 2012 of top executives Riadh Ben Aïssa and Stéphane Roy. CEO Pierre Duhaime followed them out the door the following month.

MUHC contract scandal…….

Corruption scandal in Bangladesh …….

Libya scandal……

Elections Financing

In late November 2018, former SNC-Lavalin vice-president Normand Morin quietly pleaded guilty to charges of violating Canada’s election financing laws.

According to the compliance agreement reached with the company in 2016, Morin orchestrated a scheme between 2004 and 2011 that used employees to get around the restrictions on companies donating directly to federal political parties. Morin would get employees to donate to political parties, riding associations or Liberal leadership candidates. The company would then reimburse them for their donations through false refunds for personal expenses or fictitious bonuses.

In total, $117,803 flowed from SNC-Lavalin to federal party funds during that period. The Liberal Party of Canada got the lion’s share — $83,534 to the party and $13,552 to various riding associations. Another $12,529 went to contestants in the 2006 Liberal Party leadership race won by Stephane Dion. The Conservative Party of Canada received $3,137 while Conservative riding associations got $5,050.

Which politicians received the money remains a mystery. Because Morin accepted the plea deal, the evidence gathered for the trial was never presented in court.

February 16, 2019 Posted by | Canada, secrets,lies and civil liberties | Leave a comment

“New nukes” company Terrestrial Energy sets up a new group to promote its (as yet non-existent) molten salt nuclear reactors.

Terrestrial Energy Forms Nuclear Innovation Working Group to Support IMSR Power Plant Development

– Bruce Power, Michael Rencheck, President and CEO — Burns & McDonnell, Glenn Neises, Nuclear Director — SNC-Lavalin, EVP and Candu Energy, President and CEO, William (Bill) A. Fox III, — Corporate Risk Associates Limited, Jasbir Sidhu, CEO — Kinectrics, David Harris, President and CEO — Laker Energy Products, Christopher Hughes, President and CEO — Promation, Mark Zimny, President and CEO — Sargent & Lundy, Michael J. Knaszak, Senior Vice President and Project Director

February 14, 2019 Posted by | Canada, spinbuster | Leave a comment

SNC-Lavalin, with its record of corruption should be barred from federal contracts:

SNC-Lavalin should be barred from federal contracts: Angus, Call comes after two former executives pleaded guilty to breaking laws  Elizabeth Thompson · CBC News  Feb 03, 2019 The Canadian government should suspend engineering giant SNC-Lavalin from competing for future federal government contracts after two former top executives pleaded guilty to charges in recent weeks, says NDP MP Charlie Angus.

February 4, 2019 Posted by | Canada, secrets,lies and civil liberties | Leave a comment