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

What would go into the Chalk River Mound? — Concerned Citizens of Renfrew County and Area

December 2020 Canadian taxpayers are paying a consortium (Canadian National Energy Alliance) contracted by the federal government in 2015, billions of dollars to reduce Canada’s $16 billion nuclear liabilities quickly and cheaply. The consortium is proposing to construct a giant mound for one million tons of radioactive waste beside the Ottawa River upstream of Ottawa-Gatineau. […]

What would go into the Chalk River Mound? — Concerned Citizens of Renfrew County and Area
There is considerable secrecy about what would go into the mound; the information that follows has been  derived from the proponent’s final environmental impact statement (EIS) (December 2020) which lists a partial inventory of radionuclides that would go into the gigantic five-to-seven story radioactive mound (aka the “NSDF”). The EIS and supporting documents also contain inventories of non-radioactive hazardous materials that would go into the dump.

Here is what the consortium says it is planning to put into the Chalk River mound (according to the final EIS and supporting documents)

1)  Long-lived radioactive materials

Twenty-five out of the 30 radionuclides listed in Table 3.3.1-2: NSDF Reference Inventory and Licensed Inventory are long-lived, with half-lives ranging from four centuries to more than four billion years.

To take just one example, the man-made radionuclide, Neptunium-237, has a half-life of 2 million years such that, after 2 million years have elapsed, half of the material will still be radioactive. At the time of emplacement in the mound, the neptunium-237 will be giving off 17 million ( check, 1.74 x 10 to the 7th) radioactive disintegrations each second, second after second.

The mound would contain 80 tonnes of Uranium and 6.6 tonnes of thorium-232.

2) Four isotopes of plutonium, one of the most deadly radioactive materials known, if inhaled or ingested.

John Gofman MD, PhD, a Manhattan Project scientist and former director of biomedical research at the DOE’s Lawrence Livermore Laboratory, stated that even one-millionth of a gram of plutonium inhaled into the lung, will cause lung cancer within 20 years. Sir Brian Flowers, author of the UK Royal Commission Report on Nuclear Energy and the Environment, wrote that a few thousands of a gram, inhaled into the lungs, will cause death within a few years because of massive fibrosis of the lungs, and that a few millionths of a gram will cause lung cancer with almost 100% certainty.

The four isotopes of plutonium listed in the NSDF reference inventory are Plutonium-239, Plutonium-240, Plutonium-2441 and Plutonium-242. According to Table 3.3.1-2 (NSDF Reference Inventory and Licensed Inventory) from the EIS, The two isotopes 239 and 240 combined will have an activity of 87 billion Bq when they are emplaced in the dump. This means that they will be giving off 87 billion radioactive disintegrations each second, second after second.

3) Fissionable materials 

Fissionable materials can be used to make nuclear weapons.

The mound would contain “special fissionable materials” listed in this table (avove) extracted from an EIS supporting document, Waste Acceptance Criteria, Version 4, (November 2020)

4) Large quantities of Cobalt-60 

The CNL inventory also includes a very large quantity of cobalt-60 (990 quintillion becquerels), a material that gives off so much strong gamma radiation that lead shielding must be used by workers who handle it in order to avoid dangerous radiation exposures. The International Atomic Energy Agency considers high-activity cobalt-60 sources to be “intermediate-level waste” and specifies that they must be stored underground. Addition of high-activity cobalt-60 sources means that hundreds of tons of lead shielding would be disposed of in the mound.

5) Very Large quantities of tritium

The mound would contain 890 billion becquerels of tritium, a radioactive form of hydrogen. Tritium readily combines with oxygen to form radioactive water. It moves readily through the environment and easily enters all cells of the human body where it can cause damage to cell structures including genetic material such as DNA and RNA.

Because it is part of the water molecule, removal of tritium from water is very difficult and expensive. There are no plans to remove tritium from the mound leachate. Instead the consortium plans to pipe the contaminated water directly into Perch Lake which drains into the Ottawa River.

6) Carbon-14

The mound would contain close to two billion becquerels of Carbon-14, an internal emitter that is hazardous in similar ways to tritium. Carbon is a key element in all organic molecules. When it is inhaled or ingested it can become incorporated into all manner of organic molecules and cellular components including genetic material.

7) Many other man-made radionuclides 

Radionuclides such as caesium-137, strontium-90, radium, technetium, nickel-59, americium-243 are listed in the partial inventory of materials that would go into the dump. See the partial inventory here:

8) Non-radioactive hazardous materials

Hazardous materials destined for the dump according to the final EIS and Waste Acceptance Criteria include asbestos, PCBs, dioxins, mercury, up to 13 tonnes of arsenic and hundreds of tonnes of lead. (Reference)


9) Large quantities of valuable metals that could attract scavengers

According the the final EIS, the mound would contain 33 tonnes of aluminum, 3,520 tonnes of copper, and 10,000 tonnes of iron. It is well known that scavenging of materials  occurs after closure of facilities. Scavengers who would be exposed to high radiation doses as they sought to extract these valuable materials from the dump.

10) Organic Materials

80,339 tonnes of wood and other organic material are destined for the mound. These materials would decompose and cause slumping in the mound, therefore potentially compromising the integrity of the cap.

Most of the radioactive and hazardous material would get into the air and water, some sooner, some later. Some would get into ground and surface water during creation of the mound, such as tritium which is very mobile and cannot be removed by the proposed water treatment plant. Others would get into the air, during construction and could be breathed by workers. Some materials would leach slowly into groundwater. Still others would be released when the mounds deteriorates over time and eventually disintegrates several hundreds of years into the future. For details on the expected disintegration of the mound in a process described as “normal evolution” see this po

The mound would actually get more radioactive over time

See the submission entitled “A Heap of Trouble” by Dr. Gordon Edwards, president of the Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility for a chilling description of this process. Here is a quote from the submission:

The Near Surface Disposal Facility (NSDF) project is presented not as a temporary, interim
storage facility but as a permanent repository that will ultimately be abandoned. We are
dealing with a potentially infinite time horizon. The proponent seeks approval not just for a
few decades, but forever. Such permission has never before been granted for post-fission
radioactive wastes in Canada, nor should it be granted. Long-lived radioactive waste
should not be abandoned, especially not on the surface beside a major body of water.

The facility will remain a significant hazard for in excess of 100,000 years.

This point was raised by Dr. J.R. Walker, a retired AECL radioactive waste expert in his submission on the draft environmental impact statement. You can read his full submission here:

This dump would not not meet international safety standards for radioactive waste management.

The dump would not meet provincial standards for hazardous waste disposal.

“There is no safe level of exposure to any man-made radioactive material.

“There is no safe level of exposure to any man-made radioactive material. All discharges, no matter how small,  into our air and water can cause cancer and many other diseases as well as genetic damage and birth defects.”

~ Dr. Eric Notebaert, Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment.


February 23, 2021 Posted by | Canada, radiation, wastes | Leave a comment

Opposition to nuclear dump plan for upstream at Chalk River

February 23, 2021 Posted by | Canada, opposition to nuclear, wastes | Leave a comment

Community fights Canadian govt’s slick propaganda pushing for high-level radioactive waste dump

Radio — A community’s fight to stop a high-level radioactive waste storage facility February 9, 2021 by Scott   Michelle Stein and Bill Noll are members of Protect Our Waterways – No Nuclear Waste, a group of concerned residents of South Bruce, Ontario, who have come together in opposition to the proposal to put a high-level radioactive waste storage facility in their community. Stein and her husband raise cattle and sheep on their farm, which sits next to the proposed site. And Noll is a retired engineer who lives right across from the site. Scott Neigh interviews them about their concerns with the proposed facility and their campaign to stop it.

Since the dawn of the nuclear age in the 1940s, humanity has faced stark questions of risk and safety. Some of those questions have to do with the dangers of acute catastrophe, but others are about the less dramatic but no less serious risk posed by the waste that the nuclear industry generates. Among the most challenging of that waste to deal with – designated “high-level radioactive waste” by the industry – is spent fuel bundles from nuclear reactors. Comprised of a highly toxic and radioactive mix of isotopes, the material in these bundles will be dangerous to living things for at the very least hundreds of thousands of years.

Though it has been decades since the industry first started producing radioactive waste, there has yet to be a fully satisfactory answer to the question of what to do with it. The organization currently tasked with figuring that out for the millions of used nuclear fuel bundles in the Canadian context is the Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO). Currently, used fuel bundles are kept in interim storage facilities on reactor sites, but the long-term plan is to put them in a “deep geological repository” (DGR), a location that is deep underground and geologically stable. A number of countries are currently developing DGRs for high-level radioactive waste, but none are currently operational.

The NWMO is in the middle of an elaborate selection process to find a site for both the plant that will repackage the fuel bundles for long-term storage and the storage facility itself. They began with 22 possible host communities in 2010 – mostly, it should be noted, small financially distressed communities – and they have narrowed their possibilities down to two, Ignace in northwestern Ontario and South Bruce in southern Ontario, near Lake Huron. They hope to announce their decision in 2023.

The concerns that Stein, Noll, and other members of their group have with the facility are many. Despite assurances from the NWMO that it will all be safe, their own investigation of processes for transporting and storing nuclear waste around the world have convinced them that very real risks remain under the NWMO’s plans. They fear that the facility could endanger human and environmental health, local agriculture, local drinking water, and the larger Great Lakes basin. And they argue that it is not just about their community being the wrong choice, but that the whole approach is flawed.

Moreover, they are quite concerned about the process. They have identified a pattern of what they say is incomplete and one-sided information from the NWMO, and a process that takes advantage of communities by downplaying risk and promising economic benefits that they say seem unlikely. The NWMO insists that whatever community ends up hosting the DGR must be willing, but they have refused to clarify exactly what that means.

Much of the group’s work has focused on mounting a local grassroots response to the slick and well-funded PR efforts of the NWMO. Before COVID, that involved knocking on doors. They’ve brought in speakers and hosted events, lobbied politicians, done media work, and made presentations to other local organizations. Last summer, they presented a petition against the DGR with signatures from more than 1500 residents to the local municipal council – and to put that in perspective, the current mayor got fewer votes than that in the last local election. They commissioned Mainstreet Research to do an opinion survey that found 64% of local residents would vote against locating a DGR for high-level radioactive waste in the community. The group is demanding a binding referendum on the issue.

Stein said, “Since they won’t give us a definition of what ‘willing’ is, we are going to just continue to show them what ‘not willing’ looks like.”

February 16, 2021 Posted by | Canada, opposition to nuclear, wastes | Leave a comment

Canada’s nuclear waste storage ”“cannot and will not go forward without the informed and willing consent of potential host communities”

Consent will be key to nuclear waste storage, The Chronicle Journal, BY CARL CLUTCHEY, NORTH SHORE BUREAU,   15 Feb 21, The incoming executive in charge of overseeing site selection regarding a potential underground storage facility for spent nuclear-fuel rods says consultation with affected neighbouring communities will be paramount.The potential facility “cannot and will not go forward without the informed and willing consent of potential host communities,” Lise Morton said on Jan. 29, in a Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO) news release………

One of two sites remaining in Nuclear Waste Management Organization’s search for a potential underground storage facility will permanently house three million spent nuclear-fuel rods.

One candidate site is in South Bruce in southwestern Ontario near an existing nuclear station; the other is located about 35 kilometres west of Ignace, south of Highway 17 and on the traditional lands of Wabigoon Lake First Nation.

The Nuclear Waste Management Organization wants to announce a site for its so-called deep geological repository by 2023.

The facility, which would cost $23 billion to build, would be operational by 2035…..

February 15, 2021 Posted by | Canada, wastes | Leave a comment

Canadian local community group opposes nuclear waste dump on farming land

South Bruce nuclear dump opponents address Minto council . Group: site near Teeswater would mean transporting waste through neighbouring communities,  , Wellington Advertiser,  Patrick Raftis, February 4, 2021  MINTO – A group fighting a proposal to locate an underground dumpsite for radioactive nuclear waste in neighbouring South Bruce brought its concerns to council here on Feb. 2.

“Over 50 years ago the nuclear industry told the government to let them start producing nuclear power and they would have a solution for the waste within five years,” said Michelle Stein of Protect Our Waterways – No Nuclear Waste (POWNNW), during a council video-conference meeting.

“But they didn’t. Now they have a problem.”

Stein explained POWNNW was formed last February after an announcement that 1,300 acres of prime farmland had been purchased and optioned by the Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO).

NWMO is proposing to locate a deep geologic repository (DGR) in South Bruce to contain high-level radioactive nuclear waste from all of Canada’s nuclear reactors.

Stein said the radioactive waste from Canada’s reactors is “safe where it is right now.

“But politically, it’s no longer acceptable and the government and the public are demanding a solution before they grant the nuclear industry permission to expand.”

Stein continued, “There’s a lot of money on the line. So the industry has set up [NWMO], which is funded and directed by the nuclear industry and the best idea they’ve come up with is to take this highly radioactive nuclear waste that is dangerous for over 100,000 years and bury it under prime farmland in the municipality of South Bruce.”

The proposed site near Teeswater was selected, said Stein, because “that’s where they found owners willing to sell them land” and “South Bruce was one of the municipalities who offered to learn more in exchange for money – lots of money.

“A lot of the money is spent on promoting the project, but there’s also donations to local organizations and community projects,” she noted.

Stein told council l the proposed site “has the Teeswater river running through it, wetlands at the edge of the Greenock Swamp, springtime floodplain and the town of Teeswater is close enough to see, with its elementary schools and the Teeswater Gay Lea plant.”

Stein called the proposed South Bruce repository “an experiment,” noting there are currently no operating DGRs for high level nuclear waste on the planet.

She noted an almost complete, but not yet licensed, DGR in Finland is presently the closest to coming on line.

According to the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, said Stein, the Waste Isolation Plant Pilot (WIPP) in New Mexico is the only operational DGR in the world.

It accepts only low/intermediate nuclear waste, not high level, and is located in a desert, 35 kilometres from the nearest town and surrounded by a controlled safety zone encompassing more than 10,000 acres.

“The only thing we can really learn from this project is that accident happens and you can’t predict human error,” said Stein.

She added that in 2014 the WIPP “became radio actively contaminated by explosion of an underground drum of nuclear waste due to human error.”

Stein said the 2014 incident was “a mistake that took three years and $500 million to clean up.”

She pointed out establishing a DGR in South Bruce would massively increase the amount of nuclear waste being transported through a wide region.

“Currently they are around five loads of high level waste being moved per year, but an operating DGR would increase that to one or two shipments per day. These loads would be transported through surrounding communities,” she stated.

“And what does this mean for agriculture? Will consumers want to purchase products produced next to a nuclear dump? Will people want to buy freezer beef or chicken raised on or beside a nuclear dump?”

With the NWMO publicly stating it is looking for a “willing host,” Stein said POPNNW wants to see a clear benchmark that defines the term.

The group is lobbying for a standard that would require a two-thirds vote in favour of the proposed DGR, using a community referendum with a clear yes or no question, supervised by an independent third party.

Councillor Ron Elliott asked Stein what her group believes would be a better solution to burying the waste.

“You’re recommending we can’t get rid of the nuclear waste underground. What do you recommend we do with it? Because it’s there, we’ve got nuclear waste to get rid of,” said Elliott.

Stein replied, “At this time we’re recommending they go with rolling stewardship, which is keeping it above ground in a monitored state until they come up with a real solution.”

“So wouldn’t that be more dangerous?” asked Elliott

“Building a DGR doesn’t remove it from above ground. It still needs to be above ground (in containment pools) for 30 years before it can even be moved,” said Stein.

“What is a safe recommendation?” Elliott persisted.

“At the end of the day the nuclear industry has had over 50 years to come up with an idea and they haven’t,” Stein responded.

“To be honest, most of us have only been thinking about it for a year. But to accept the wrong solution is in fact no solution at all.”

Bill Noll, another member of the POPNNW delegation, said Ontario Power Generation has stated nuclear waste has been stored safely above ground for 60 years “and it can be stored longer.”

Noll said the group would like to see Canada wait for the results from the planned Finnish DGR in 2024 before going ahead with one here.

“Let them experiment for a couple of decades while we keep it above ground safely and then maybe we can consider whether or not the DGR is safe,” said Noll.

Deputy mayor Dave Turton asked Stein if local officials in South Bruce responded to the group’s concerns.

“Are they listening to you?” he asked.

Noll replied, “We are up against the wall to some degree. Our council is very much interested to see some economic development in the area, and we certainly understand and appreciate that, and so they’re very much in tune with the agenda being put forward by the NWMO.”

Mayor George Bridge thanked the group for sharing information with council.

February 6, 2021 Posted by | Canada, opposition to nuclear, wastes | Leave a comment

Canada’s nuclear regulator updates its drug and alcohol testing requirements.

Canada’s nuclear regulator updates its drug and alcohol testing requirements. 22 Jan 21, ………Depending on the nature of their job, nuclear workers may be tested:

January 23, 2021 Posted by | Canada, safety | Leave a comment

We need parliamentarians to stop project, prevent Ottawa River from being permanently contaminated — Concerned Citizens of Renfrew County and Area

January 18, 2021 Re “CNL working to accomplish responsible action in managing Canada’s nuclear research and development legacy” (The Hill Times, Letters to the Editor, December 14, 2020). This letter from Joe McBrearty, President and CEO of Canadian Nuclear Laboratories (CNL) deepens my concern about the handling of Canada’s $8 billion nuclear waste liability.  Mr. […]

Hill Times Letter to the Editor ~ We need parliamentarians to stop project, prevent Ottawa River from being permanently contaminated — Concerned Citizens of Renfrew County and Area
………….Last month CNL published its final environmental impact statement listing a partial inventory of radionuclides that would go into the gigantic five-to-seven story radioactive mound (aka the “NSDF”).

Twenty-five out of the 30 radionuclides listed in the inventory are long-lived, with half-lives ranging from four centuries to more than four billion years. To take just one example, the man-made radionuclide, Neptunium-237, has a half-life of 2 million years such that, after 2 million years have elapsed, half of the material will still be radioactive. 

The inventory includes four isotopes of plutonium, one of the most deadly radioactive materials known, if inhaled or ingested.

It is incorrect to say that these materials “require isolation and containment for only a few hundred years.” Many of them will be dangerously radioactive for more than one hundred thousand years. The International Atomic Energy Agency states that materials like this must be stored tens of meters or more underground, not in an above-ground mound.

The CNL inventory also includes a very large quantity of cobalt-60, a material that gives off so much strong gamma radiation that lead shielding must be used by workers who handle it in order to avoid dangerous radiation exposures. The International Atomic Energy Agency considers high-activity cobalt-60 sources to be “intermediate-level waste” and specifies that they must be stored underground. Addition of high-activity cobalt-60 sources means that hundreds of tons of lead shielding would be disposed of in the mound along with other hazardous materials such as arsenic, asbestos, PCBs, dioxins and mercury.

CNL’s environmental impact statement describes several ways that radioactive materials would leak into surrounding wetlands that drain into the Ottawa River during filling of the mound and after completion. It also describes CNL’s intent to pipe water polluted with tritium and other radioactive and hazardous substances from the waste treatment facility directly into Perch Lake which drains into the Ottawa River.

I stand by my original conclusion: We need parliamentarians to step up now to stop this deeply flawed project and prevent the Ottawa River from being permanently contaminated by a gigantic, leaking radioactive landfill that would do little to reduce Canada’s $8 billion nuclear waste liability.

January 19, 2021 Posted by | Canada, environment, opposition to nuclear, wastes | Leave a comment

Why Won’t Canada Back a Nuclear Weapons Ban?

Government uses NATO as an excuse not to sign treaty

Why Won’t Canada Back a Nuclear Weapons Ban? — Beyond Nuclear International
Why Won’t Canada Back a Nuclear Weapons Ban? 
The UN nuclear ban treaty becomes international law on January 22, but the Trudeau government won’t sign,  January 17, 2021 by beyondnuclearinternational   By Bianca Mugyenyi 17 Jan 21,  In a win for the long-term survival of humanity, the United Nations’ treaty banning nuclear weapons was ratified by the 50th country, Honduras, allowing the pact to pass. 

But any celebration in Canada should be muted by embarrassment at our government’s indifference to the threat nukes pose to humankind.

The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons was negotiated at a 2017 UN conference, creating a legally binding agreement that would ban nuclear weapons and lead toward their total elimination.

Rather than showing support for this important meeting, Canada was in a minority of countries that voted against even holding this conference at a General Assembly vote in autumn 2016. (More than 120 countries were in favour of holding the conference; just 38 were opposed.)

Additionally, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau refused to send a representative to the 2017 conference, where two-thirds of the world’s countries were represented.

Trudeau was dismissive of the conference: “There can be all sorts of people talking about nuclear disarmament, but if they do not actually have nuclear arms, it is sort of useless to have them around, talking.” 

Around the same time, Trudeau made no effort to congratulate Canadian activist Setsuko Thurlow, a survivor of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, who co-accepted the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize on behalf of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons.

The Trudeau government has failed to join the 86 countries that have already signed the nuclear weapons treaty, described by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres as “a very welcome initiative.”

Mexico and New Zealand, an ally with Canada in the Five Eyes security network, as well as European Union members Ireland and Austria have ratified the treaty. With Honduras becoming the 50th nation to ratify it, the treaty will enter into force on January 22, 2021.

In a last-ditch attempt to block the accord from reaching the required 50 member states, the Trump administration delivered a letter calling on countries that had signed to withdraw their support.

According to an Associated Press report, the letter claimed U.S. NATO allies — like Canada — “stand unified in our opposition to the potential repercussions” of the treaty…….

Canada’s defence policy, “Strong, Secure, Engaged,” makes two dozen references to Canada’s commitment to the nuclear-armed NATO alliance. According to NATO, “nuclear weapons are a core component of the Alliance’s overall capabilities.” Canada contributes personnel and funds to NATO’s Nuclear Policy Directorate and Nuclear Planning Group.

The Liberal government says it cannot ratify the UN nuclear ban treaty because of Canada’s membership in NATO.

Rather than offer this excuse to avoid signing a treaty opposed by powerful allies and Canada’s military, it could instead be used as a moment to consider re-evaluating Canada’s involvement in NATO. 

The Canadian Foreign Policy Institute initiated an open letter to Trudeau after Canada’s second consecutive defeat for a seat on the UN Security Council.

The letter asked: “Should Canada continue to be part of NATO or instead pursue non-military paths to peace in the world?” It has been signed by Greenpeace Canada,, Idle No More, Vancouver and District Labour Council and 50 other groups, as well as four sitting MPs and David Suzuki, Naomi Klein, Stephen Lewis and more than 2,000 others.

The NDPGreens and Bloc Québécois have all called for Canada to adopt the UN nuclear ban treaty. Thousands of Canadians have also signed petitions calling on the government to join the initiative.

Nuclear weapons will soon be banned under international law. The government needs to be challenged to get on the right side of history and sign the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.

Only then can Canadians proudly celebrate the critical effort under way to protect the future of humanity. 

Bianca Mugyenyi is an author and former co-executive director of The Leap. She currently directs the Canadian Foreign Policy Institute. 

January 18, 2021 Posted by | Canada, politics international, weapons and war | Leave a comment

New consultations in Ignace, Ontario, over nuclear waste site

New consultations in Ignace over nuclear waste site, Residents asked to fill out survey from Nuclear Waste Management Organization between Jan. 18 and Feb. 26 By: Staff , 17 Jan 1,  IGNACE, Ont. – Residents in Ignace, one of two remaining candidates to serve as a repository for Canada’s nuclear’s waste, are being asked to weigh in as the Nuclear Waste Management Organization’s site selection process continues.

Beginning Monday, residents can fill out a short survey created by the NWMO and the Township of Ignace that will help guide how the agency engages the public as it conducts numerous studies in the area in early 2021.

The agency narrowed its list of candidate sites to two – Ignace and South Bruce – in January of 2020. Final site selection was scheduled for 2023, with construction of a nuclear waste repository expected to take another 10 years to complete.

………..   Some experts and civil society groups have raised serious concerns over “deficient” federal nuclear waste policies, calling for an overhaul before moving forward.

January 18, 2021 Posted by | Canada, wastes | Leave a comment

”Small Modular Reactors”’- governments are being sucked in by the ”billionaires’ nuclear club” 

SNC-Lavalin   Scandal-ridden SNC-Lavalin is playing a major role in the push for SMRs.

Terrestrial Energy…..  Terrestrial Energy’s advisory board includes Dr. Ernest Moniz, the former US Secretary of the Dept. of Energy (2013-2017) who provided more than $12 billion in loan guarantees to the nuclear industry. Moniz has been a key advisor to the Biden-Harris transition team, which has come out in favour of SMRs.

The “billionaires’ nuclear club”  …“As long as Bill Gates is wasting his own money or that of other billionaires, it is not so much of an issue. The problem is that he is lobbying hard for government investment.”

Going after the public purse

Bill Gates was apparently very busy during the 2015 Paris climate talks. He also went on stage during the talks to announce a collaboration among 24 countries and the EU on something called Mission Innovation – an attempt to “accelerate global clean energy innovation” and “increase government support” for the technologies.

Gates’ PR tactic is effective: provide a bit of capital to create an SMR “bandwagon,” with governments fearing their economies would be left behind unless they massively fund such innovations.

governments “are being suckers. Because if Wall Street and the banks will not finance this, why should it be the role of the government to engage in venture capitalism of this kind?”

It will take a Herculean effort from the public to defeat this NICE Future, but along with the Assembly of First Nations, three political parties – the NDP, the Bloc Quebecois, and the Green Party – have now come out against SMRs.

January 16, 2021 Posted by | Canada, investigative journalism, Reference, secrets,lies and civil liberties, Small Modular Nuclear Reactors, spinbuster | Leave a comment

Big doubts on small nuclear reactors – on economics, on waste problems

Former U.S. regulator questions small nuclear reactor technology,   Business case for small reactors ‘doesn’t fly,’ says expert on nuclear waste, Jacques Poitras · CBC News Jan 15, 2021   A former head of the United States’ nuclear regulator is raising questions about the molten-salt technology that would be used in one model of proposed New Brunswick-made nuclear reactors.

The technology pitched by Saint John’s Moltex Energy is key to its business case because, the company argues, it would reuse some of the nuclear waste from Point Lepreau and lower the long-term cost and radioactivity of storing the remainder.

But Allison Macfarlane, the former chairperson of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission and a specialist in the storage of nuclear waste, said no one has yet proven that it’s possible or viable to reprocess nuclear waste and lower the cost and risks of storage.

“Nobody knows what the numbers are, and anybody who gives you numbers is selling you a bridge to nowhere because they don’t know,” said Macfarlane, now the director of the School of Public Policy and Global Affairs at the University of British Columbia.

“Nobody’s really doing this right now. … Nobody has ever set up a molten salt reactor and used it to produce electricity.”

Macfarlane said she couldn’t comment specifically on Moltex, calling information about the company’s technology “very vague.”

But she said the general selling point for molten-salt technology is dubious.

“Nobody’s been able to answer my questions yet on what all these wastes are and how much of them there are, and how heat-producing they are and what their compositions are,” she said.

“My sense is that all of these reactor folks have not really paid a lot of attention to the back end of these fuel cycles,” she said, referring to the long-term risks and costs of securely storing nuclear waste.

Moltex is one of two Saint John-based companies pitching small nuclear reactors as the next step for nuclear power in the province and as a non-carbon-dioxide emitting alternative to fossil fuel electricity generation.

Moltex North America CEO Rory O’Sullivan said the company’s technology will allow it to affordably extract the most radioactive parts of the existing nuclear waste from the Point Lepreau Generating Station.

The waste is now stored in pellet form in silos near the plant and is inspected regularly.

The process would remove less than one per cent of the material to fuel the Moltex reactor and O’Sullivan said that would make the remainder less radioactive for a much shorter amount of time.

Existing plans for nuclear waste in Canada are to store it in an eventual permanent repository deep underground, where it would be secure for the hundreds of thousands of years it remained radioactive………..

Shorter-term radioactivity complicates storage

Macfarlane said a shorter-term radioactivity life for waste would actually complicate its storage underground because it might lead to a facility that has to be funded and secured rather than sealed up and abandoned.

“That means that you believe that the institutions that exist to keep monitoring that … will exist for hundreds of years, and I think that is a ridiculous assumption,” she said.

“I’m looking at the United States, I’m seeing institutions crumbling in a matter of a few years. I have no faith that institutions can last that long and that there will be streams of money to maintain the safety and security of these facilities. That’s why you will need a deep geologic repository for this material.”

And she said that’s assuming the technology will successfully extract all of the most radioactive material.

“They are assuming that they remove one hundred per cent of the difficult, radionuclides, the difficult isotopes, that complicate the waste,” she said.

“My response is: prove it. Because if you leave five per cent, you have high-level waste that you’re going to be dealing with. If you leave one per cent, you’re going to have high-level waste that you’re going to be dealing with. So sorry, that one doesn’t fly with me.”

Macfarlane, a geologist by training, raised doubts about molten-salt technology and waste issues in a 2018 paper she co-authored for the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists……….

January 16, 2021 Posted by | Canada, Small Modular Nuclear Reactors, wastes | Leave a comment

Small modular reactor plan bolsters nuclear industry’s future, but renewables could address energy issues now,

Small modular reactor plan bolsters nuclear industry’s future, but renewables could address energy issues now,

While SMRs are hailed as start of a nuclear renaissance, there are big questions about costs and timeframe,  Eva Schacherl ·  CBC News   Jan 15  In late December, as many Canadians were easing into a low-key holiday break, Minister of Natural Resources Seamus O’Regan pulled out a bag of goodies for the nuclear industry. It was the much-hyped Small Modular Reactor Action Plan for Canada.

Small modular reactors (SMRs) are experimental nuclear technologies that are still on the drawing board. They are the nuclear power industry’s hope for overcoming the problems that have plagued it: high costs, radioactive waste, and risks of accidents.

Public interest groups across the country, however, argue that SMRs won’t solve these issues.

The dozen SMR vendors backing the technology include GE-Hitachi, Westinghouse, and SNC-Lavalin (which, along with two U.S. corporations, already holds a multibillion-dollar contract with the federal government to run Canadian Nuclear Laboratories at Chalk River, Ont.). O’Regan’s plan did nothing to clarify the price tag of a nuclear renaissance, but it says the federal government expects to share the cost and risks of SMR projects with the private sector.

Proponents say that SMRs will cost less than conventional nuclear and be flexible enough to serve remote communities reliant on costly and polluting diesel. O’Regan has also said that SMRs are necessary to fight climate change: in short, a utopia of “clean, affordable, safe and reliable power,” as he told a nuclear conference last year.

But is this any more than a dream? The enthusiasm for SMRs sometimes sounds like a New Age cult — let’s examine the claims.

First, must we have a new generation of nuclear reactors to get to the promised land of net-zero emissions?

Many studies show a path to net-zero without nuclear energy. Energy scientists who modelled a 100 per cent renewable energy system for North America, for example, concluded that nuclear energy “cannot play an important role in the future” because of its high cost and safety issues. Closer to home, it has been shown how Ontario can meet its electricity demand without nuclear, using renewables, hydro and storage.

Meanwhile, a new study in Nature Energy uses data from 123 nations to show that countries focused on renewables do much better at reducing emissions.

Indeed, some fear that the federal government’s faith in nuclear reactors will delay Canada’s transition to clean energy. SMRs will take decades to develop and deploy, yet it’s projected that we have as little as 10 years left to stop irreversible damage from climate change.

Can SMRs one day be cost-competitive with renewable energy?

Right now, the cost difference between nuclear power and other low-carbon alternatives is growing because renewables and energy storage keep getting cheaper.

Meanwhile, the estimated cost of the most advanced SMR project, in Idaho, has increased from $4.2 billion to $6.1 billion before shovels are even in the ground. That’s nearly $12,000 per kilowatt of generation capacity.

The Canada Energy Regulator says wind and solar projects in Canada cost $1,600 to $1,800 per kilowatt to build in 2017 – and that their costs are expected to go down steeply.

an small reactors wean off-grid communities and mines from diesel fuel?

Perhaps some day. But if the government has a few hundred million dollars to spare for SMR projects, they should spend it now to speed up renewable energy adoption in those locations instead. Studies show that renewables would offer power as much as 10 times cheaper, using technologies that are ready to go now rather than ones still on the drawing board.

Finally, nuclear energy is neither green nor clean. All reactors produce radioactive waste that will need to be kept out of the biosphere for hundreds of thousands of years.

The proposal that some SMR models would reuse highly radioactive CANDU fuel and plutonium will only create worse problems in the form of radioactive wastes that are even more dangerous to manage.

For a livable future, Canada has pledged to get to net-zero emissions by 2050. Will we get a bigger bang for our buck from reactors that are still just design concepts? Or by retrofitting buildings, improving energy efficiency, and building solar, wind, geothermal and tidal power with existing technology?

Clearly, the latter. And it needs to be done now.

January 16, 2021 Posted by | Canada, Small Modular Nuclear Reactors | Leave a comment

Creating jobs and community opportunities -Pickering City Council wants immediate dismantling of nuclear station

Clean Air Alliance (accessed) 8th Jan 2021, Ontario’s new Minister of Finance, Peter Bethlenfalvy, can create 16,000 person-years of employment in Pickering by directing Ontario Power Generation (OPG) to immediately dismantle the Pickering Nuclear Station after its operating licence expires in December 2024.

According to the International Atomic Energy Agency, immediate dismantling is “the
preferred decommissioning strategy” for nuclear plants. In fact, dismantling is the one area of employment growth in the nuclear industry.

Immediate dismantling will permit most of the 600-acre site to be returned to the local community by 2034 for parkland, recreational facilities, dining, entertainment, housing and other employment uses. That is among the reasons why Pickering City Council unanimously supports having the plant dismantled as “expeditiously as possible” after it is shut down.

Unfortunately, OPG wants to delay dismantling until 2054 to put off its
dismantling costs for 30 years despite the fact that it already has more
than $7.5 billion in its decommissioning and dismantling fund.×11-nov-21-Readers-Spread-PROOF.pdf

January 10, 2021 Posted by | business and costs, Canada, decommission reactor, politics | Leave a comment

Canada shows how nuclear reactors are not needed for production of technetium-99m

these cyclotrons can be used to reliably create technetium-99m regionally and without the need for reactor-based materials.

Cyclotron-produced technetium-99m approved by Health Canada, TRIUMF, 

17 December 2020  Over the last 50 years, technetium-99m has driven unparalleled advances in the development of non-invasive imaging techniques and, in turn, our understanding of disease.

Now, a new cyclotron-based approach to producing this critical diagnostic tool has received Health Canada approval, greenlighting the made-in-Canada technology for national implementation and opening the door to a greener, more reliable way to make technetium-99m. 

The approval represents a critical milestone for the TRIUMF-led Cyclomed99 consortium, which spearheaded the innovative research effort. The consortium, including partners BC Cancer, the University of British Columbia (UBC), the Lawson Health Research Institute, and the Centre for Probe Development and Commercialization, is the first in the world to obtain full regulatory approval for cyclotron-based production.

It also a turning point for the consortiums licensee ARTMS Inc., the TRIUMF spin-off company bringing this technology to market. ARTMS’ technology makes technetium-99m production possible on many of the world’s most common medical cyclotrons, enabling regional production of this critical isotope within local communities. 

“Medical isotopes help so many people every day. It’s critical to have a stable, multi-faceted supply chain to avoid unexpected disruptions to their availability,” said Paul Schaffer, Associate Laboratory Director, Life Sciences at TRIUMF and Associate Professor at UBC’s Faculty of Medicine. “The approval of cyclotron-produced technetium-99m by Health Canada is an important milestone for this Canadian innovation that will ultimately deliver direct benefit for Canadian patients.”

While the Health Canada approval brings new promise for patients and researchers, it also highlights an important chapter in Canadian innovation, one which saw a focused national research effort produce an effective solution to a global problem.

The path towards cyclotron-produced technetium-99m ……

In 2009, following unplanned disruptions at NRU (which historically provided up to half of the world’s technetium-99m via molybdenum-99 generators), the Government of Canada initiated the Non-reactor-based Isotope Supply Contribution Program (NISP) which challenged researchers to find a new way to produce critical medical isotopes—in particular, technetium-99m.

Led by Schaffer and TRIUMFs Dr. Tom Ruth, scientists and engineers from TRIUMF joined partners at BC Cancer, the Centre for Probe Development Commercialization (CPDC), the Lawson Health Research Institute, and the University of British Columbia to launch a national collaboration to answer the NISP call:  the CycloMed99 consortium.

A new way to produce technetium-99m

The consortium’s proposal detailed a new and innovative technology to enable the production of technetium-99m using medical cyclotrons. These compact particle accelerators already operate in regional healthcare centres worldwide, producing isotopes by bombarding a target material with a proton beam and extracting the desired species. The process is safe and precise, employing stable targets and producing little to no long-lived radioactive waste. And, with the right target and extraction systems, these cyclotrons can be used to reliably create technetium-99m regionally and without the need for reactor-based materials.

“Cyclotron centres across Canada can produce these isotopes locally and on-demand, and we have shown the path that can be used to achieve regulatory approval,” said Francois Bénard, senior executive director of research at BC Cancer, professor of radiology and associate dean of research at UBC’s faculty of medicine. “The same approach can be followed at other sites in Canada and internationally. This has been a shared vision of many researchers across the country, and we have to recognize the many collaborators who worked for years to make this announcement possible.”  

This bright future will first take shape at TRIUMFInstitute for Advanced Medical Isotopes (IAMI), where a state-of-the-art TR-24 medical cyclotron will offer production capacity for the Lower Mainlands technetium-99 needsIn additionIAMI will serve as a hub for radiopharmaceutical research, providing access to leading-edge facilities and expertise in accelerator technology and isotope science. The Institute will further catalyze the Vancouver region’s diverse nuclear medicine sector by convening researchers, students, academic collaborators, not-for-profits, government, and industry partners.

With support from the Canadian government and our partners, we have developed an effective solution to the medical isotope crisis, one that will improve health outcomes and reaffirm Canada’s role as a global leader in isotope production and research. … …

January 7, 2021 Posted by | Canada, health | Leave a comment

Canada vocal about nuclear disarmament, but silent about the Treaty for Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons

January 7, 2021 Posted by | Canada, politics, weapons and war | Leave a comment