No Nukes News 7

Ontario Clean Air Alliance: Angela Bischoff - August 10, 2009

Quote of the Week:

“The province can order more renewables, import hydro power from Quebec, and find other ways of filling the void left as aging reactors begin to shut down.”

You might think this was a quote from Jack Gibbons, Chair of the Ontario Clean Air Alliance, but no, it was Amir Shalaby, Vice-President of Ontario Power Authority, the agency responsible for long-term electricity planning. Kudos!

Democracy in Action

Based on public feedback, we’ve revised our leaflet, and we think you’ll love it! Check it out and let us know what you think:

The two blows that killed the industry

Once-promising sector never lived up to its promise

No industry in history has held more promise, been more welcomed, received more favours and failed more spectacularly than the commercial nuclear power industry.

Is it time to press reset on nuclear?

Cost overruns, delays in building reactors are sapping a nuclear revival

In a throwback to its tumultuous past, nuclear power is teetering on the brink of renaissance or relapse, waffling between a return to its golden age and a slow demise…

Shortly after the announcement of the Darlington delay, Saskatchewan's Energy and Resources Minister Bill Boyd -- who is considering a proposal for a nuclear reactor in Northern Saskatchewan -- said Ontario's situation adds "additional questions about the whole area of nuclear power." …

Said Energy Probe's Lawrence Solomon: "Better late than never to bail out," he said. "This is a question of throwing more good money after bad."

Nuclear summer

The much-heralded nuclear "renaissance" appears to have stalled this summer, at least temporarily -- not because of unsettled questions over the disposal of radioactive waste, or fear of nuclear accidents, but because the costs of building new reactors is proving prohibitive.

That, at least, was Premier Dalton McGuinty's explanation for his government's recent decision not to proceed with two new reactors for Ontario's Darlington facility. They were expected to cost $6 billion; the final tally from Atomic Energy of Canada Limited, the winning bidder, was rumoured to be closer to $26 billion…

A related problem for nuclear-power advocates is waning political and public support for AECL, flagship of Canada's state-supported nuclear industry. After its costly failures at Chalk River, the ongoing isotope crisis, and its difficulty finding buyers abroad for its advanced CANDU, the Harper government is contemplating breaking up AECL and selling off any marketable assets.

If Ontario decides not to buy an AECL reactor, the crown corporation's prospects in other countries -- and Canada's foothold in the global industry -- would be further imperiled. Aware of this, McGuinty is pressing Ottawa to subsidize AECL's bid, in effect, asking Canadian taxpayers to pay for Ontario's nuclear future. It doesn't seem likely, given Harper's disdain for an agency regarded in Tory circles as "a sinkhole."

Uncertainty over AECL's future could also threaten development of a proposed second reactor at New Brunswick's Point Lepreau, the province's energy minister, Jack Keir, said recently.

Elsewhere, while European governments move to embrace nuclear power and memories of Three Mile Island and Chernobyl fade, the nuclear revival is also running into practical roadblocks. Finland's attempt to create a new reactor is three years behind schedule and 50 per cent over budget. Plans to build two reactors in Texas have been postponed. An accident at a German reactor days (ago) has revived apprehensions…

Meanwhile, there is a window opening for renewables and less controversial alternatives -- especially if some of the millions invested in nuclear power were to be re-directed to green options, energy efficiency and conservation…

But Amir Shalaby, vice-president of Ontario Power Authority, a provincial oversight agency, doesn't sound pessimistic. In a recent interview, he said the province can order more renewables, import hydro power from Quebec, and find other ways of filling the void left as aging reactors begin to shut down.

Years of fitful efforts at promoting conservation and efficiency might also be paying off -- finally.

Ontario 'scratching its head' over nuclear plan; One high-profile project on hold, another scrapped

The fate of nuclear energy in Ontario, once assured, appears more ambiguous than ever after one high-profile project was recently put on hold and another scrapped altogether…

According to the Ontario Power Authority's 2007 Integrated Power System Plan, a 20-year blueprint currently under review, 8% of the 2025 grid is slated for green energy -- not including hydro -- while nuclear generation will grow to 14,000 megawatts from its current level of roughly 12,000.

For this to occur, all of the province's 16 reactors will have to be refurbished or replaced, beginning with the oldest reactor at Pickering-B before its slated retirement in 2014…

Last fall, Mr. Smitherman asked the OPA to revisit its plan with a "view to establishing new targets" and "further enhancing its current emphasis" on areas including the amount of renewable energy sources in the supply mix…

Rosemary Yeremian, president of Strategic Insights, a market-research firm that specializes in Canada's nuclear industry, said she has no choice but to advise her energy-sector clients to consider opportunities outside Ontario.

Canada's nuclear know-how in accelerated decay, scientists fear

Some believe the nuclear experts brought it on themselves. AECL built two small Maple reactors on the Chalk River site that were supposed to be capable of providing the world's entire supply of medical isotopes.

After spending eight years and more than $600-million trying to get them to work properly, AECL shuttered the Maples last year.

"The Canadian nuclear industry brought about its own end," said the Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility's Mr. Edwards. "If they can't build a small reactor, why should we give them another chance? Maybe they should give it a rest."

The federal government apparently agrees. Two months ago, Prime Minister Stephen Harper's chief spokesman referred to AECL as "dysfunctional" and as a $30-billion "sinkhole."

Mr. Edwards suggests nuclear engineers pursue another line of work. "There are over 100 plants around the world that need to be decommissioned," he said. "And there is no established process for doing it. Nobody wants to think of themselves as a garbage man, but why not invest in the assured future of nuclear cleanup rather than speculative future of nuclear energy?"

Race on in the Prairies to solve isotope shortage

The modest Manitoba initiative pales compared to Saskatchewan's plans to build a whole new reactor, but the smaller operation could be up and running inside three years, with little regulatory hassle, and for the bargain-basement price of $35-million.

Nuclear suicide

Our best science now predicts that nuclear arsenals are fundamentally incompatible with continued human existence.

Uranium travels nerves from nose to brain

Radioactive uranium that is inhaled by soldiers on the battlefield and by workers in factories may bypass the brain's protective barrier by following nerves from the nose directly to the brain.

Is Nuclear Power Renewable?

International Renewable Energy Agency Rejects 'Renewable Nuclear' Category

"Many environmental groups are fundamentally opposed to the notion that nuclear power is a renewable form of energy -- on the grounds that it produces harmful waste byproducts and relies on extractive industries to procure fuel like uranium.

Even so, the nuclear industry and pro-nuclear officials from countries including France have been trying to brand the technology as renewable, on the grounds that it produces little or no greenhouse gases. Branding nuclear as renewable could also enable nuclear operators to benefit from some of the same subsidies and friendly policies offered to clean energies like wind, solar and biomass.

So far, however, efforts to categorize nuclear as a renewable source of power are making little headway.

Anti-nuclear protest march against German U-turn

BERLIN — Some 50,000 anti-nuclear protestors on Saturday demonstrated here against Germany possibly reversing a decision to abandon nuclear power, and instead extend the life of its nuclear power plants.

The marchers, backed by 400 tractors, demanded that Germany stick to its commitment to close all nuclear plants by 2020 and also called for the closure of a radioactive dump at Gorleben in eastern Germany.

Amory Lovins

interviewed by Charlie Rose

An excellent 40 min. video

Amory Lovins, CEO of the Rocky Mountain Institute, discusses alternative fuels, the future of energy and the problems with nuclear energy.

Bruce Power dismisses 40 contractors

About 40 contract workers at the Bruce Power nuclear station have been fired or temporarily suspended for violating the company's code of conduct regarding Internet use.

Shawn Patrick Stensil, an anti-nuclear campaigner with Greenpeace, said officials at Bruce Power have an obligation to be upfront with the public. Since the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001, he said, digital security has become a top concern for nuclear plant operators, as has securing the physical premises.

"The lack of transparency isn't comforting at all," he said. "If it's simply a matter that contractors are surfing for porn or Facebooking, they should have the guts to say that."

Nuclear power - Undermining climate protection

There is a clear scientific consensus that we must halve global carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by 2050 or suffer changes to the global climate with catastrophic consequences. Avoiding the most severe impacts of climate change requires governments, individuals and businesses world-wide to take immediate action. The nuclear industry, which has been in decline in the US and Europe, has seized upon the climate crisis as a revival opportunity, claiming to offer a carbon-free contribution to our future energy mix, but is it, or it is mere industry spin? A Greenpeace report.

Nuclear waste in your backyard?

Decision on Canadian storage facility expected within a year

The $24-billion question about nuclear waste storage in Canada is this: in which community will more than two million high-level radioactive bundles be stored for perhaps 10,000 years or more?

This question is posed as experts try to avoid a repeat of a failed attempt at resolving the storage issue 10 years ago in Canada and consider what is happening in Europe and in the U.S., where a nuclear waste storage plan recently died after billions of dollars were wasted. As well, there is now the consideration that the waste may not be buried for thousands of years and left where it is, and that future generations and their plans should be considered.

Don't be surprised, say some, if the facility, targeted for a 2035 opening, ends up on aboriginal land.

With no central location available, high-level waste has been stored at the various reactor sites in New Brunswick, Quebec and Ontario, as well as at AECL's nuclear research facility in Manitoba for more than 40 years.

Nuclear not good, even in remote Quebec: environmentalists

A proposed nuclear reactor that would power mining operations in Quebec's remote regions carries more risks than benefits, according to an environmental group.

Simard said he's concerned about nuclear waste and safety at the mining site.

Quebec generates cleaner energy through its hydro facilities, and those options should be exhausted first, Simard suggested.

Production halted at Zircatec

PORT HOPE - The Peter Street employee parking lot may be full, but operations at Cameco's nuclear fuel fabrication plant is down due to a single defective fuel bundle.

Bob Kelly, Cameco's director of public and government affairs, said production at Zircatec Precision Industries was stopped in mid-August after one of its customers, Bruce Power, in the Municipality of Kincardine, raised concerns over a defective fuel bundle.

Bruce Power to carry on despite fuel supply strike

A strike at a nuclear fuel-bundle- making facility won't affect Bruce Power's nuclear electricity generation for the foreseeable future, spokesman Steve Cannon said yesterday.

"It's business as usual for us. We carry many months in inventory of fuel," Cannon said, responding to a query about the impact of a strike at Cameco Fuel Manufacturing Inc., which provides the Bruce reactors with fuel.

Bruce Power is using less fuel anyway. Bruce A's Unit 3 was taken down yesterday morning, while Unit 4 was turned off earlier for planned inspections of the vacuum building safety systems.

This maintenance is required by the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission to be completed every 12 years, Cannon said. It will keep both units out of service until October, he said.

The other two reactors at Bruce A are being refurbished with a projected restart in early 2010, at a cost of close to $3 billion.

The four reactors at Bruce B generating station are still running. Power has been throttled back during periods of low demand and that practice will continue, Cannon said.

TURNING THINGS AROUND: Actions for a Healthy Environment

Sponsored by: International Institute of Concern for Public Health - Celebrating 25th Anniversary

Sat. September 26, 8.30 am.- 4.00 pm.
Native Canadian Centre, 16 Spadina Rd., Toronto

10 a.m. Keynote Address Rosalie Bertell Ph.D. G.N.S.H., Founder and Immediate Past President introduced by Founder and Prof. Emerita Ursula Franklin

Other presentations include:

- What about the nuclear renaissance?

- International Perspectives on the Energy Future

Promises to be a dynamic anti-nuclear teach-in! –a

For more info:

Int'l Institute of Concern for Public Health

Bombs Away

An evening of anti-nuke comedy and music

Sat. Sept.26th, 7:30 p.m

Cecil Community Centre, 58 Cecil Street (south of College, just east of Spadina), Toronto

Adults $20 or pay what you can, Students $7 or pay what you can

Seriously, Time to Stop is committed to spreading the word about nuclear weapons and finding ways to let governments know what you think about this issue.

Stop URANIUM-Mining in Ontario

DEMAND a LEGISLATED BAN for ONTARIO like the one granted to British Columbia

B.C., Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Labrador are protected. Ontario is a free-for-all!


SUNDAY SEPT. 27, 2:00-4:00 p.m.


SPEAKERS: Elizabeth May, Leader of the Green Party of Canada; Bruce Cox, Executive Director Greenpeace Canada;

Robert Lovelace, Retired Chief of the Ardoch Algonquin First Nation

Live Music

Organized by Cottagers against Uranium Mining and Exploration, CUME -

For more info:


The University of Toronto Environment Resource Network (UTERN) and Bikechain are proud to present EarthCycle, a weeklong festival at the University of Toronto running from September 21st to September 26th. The university’s most ambitious Environment Week to date, EarthCycle will feature 28 events over six days of almost constant activity. From bike races to eco-tours, documentary film screenings and lectures by world renowned thinkers, EarthCycle has something for everyone.

Catch Jack Gibbons, Ontario Clean Air Alliance, and Shawn-Patrick Stencil, Greenpeace, as they discuss Ontario's Energy Future - Nuclear or Renewable?

Wed./ Sept. 23, 3 – 5 p.m., Hart House, East Common Room, U of T – Free.