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Canada

Canada is the world's largest exporter of uranium and operates nuclear reactors including on the Great Lakes. Attempts are underway to introduce nuclear power to the province of Alberta and to use nuclear reactors to power oil extraction from the tar sands.

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Wednesday
Mar252015

Nuclear Licensing Board Examines Brittle Vessel Risks at Entergy’s Palisades Atomic Reactor; Critics Call for Permanent Shutdown

NRC file photo of Entergy Nuclear's Palisades atomic reactor on the Lake Michigan shore in Covert, MIAs reported by a press release, a coalition of environmental groups, including Beyond Nuclear, today testified before the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission's (NRC) Atomic Safety and Licensing Board (ASLB), at the agency's HQ in Rockville, Maryland, just outside D.C.

The coalition, represented by Toledo attorney Terry Lodge, defended its intervention against an Entergy License Amendment Request (LAR) to further weaken reactor pressure vessel (RPV) embrittlement/pressurized thermal shock (PTS) safety regulations.

Palisades has the worst-embrittled RPV in the U.S., at risk of a PTS fracture, Loss-of-Coolant-Accident, core meltdown, and catastrophic release of hazardous radioactivity. A bad precedent at Palisades will then be applied by NRC to approve operations at other dangerously brittle pressurized water reactor (PWR) RPVs across the U.S.

The coalition intervened on Dec. 1, 2014. Entergy Nuclear and NRC staff counter-attacked on Jan. 12, 2015. The coalition rebutted the attacks on Jan. 20.

Today's "oral argument pre-hearing" was essentially an ASLB exercise to determine whether the coalition's intervenion is worthy of an evidentiary hearing on the merits of the contention. The ASLB is scheduled to rule on the admissibility of the intervenors' contention within 45 days.

On March 9, the coalition filed a parallel intervention regarding loss of Charpy V-Notch Upper-Shelf Energy in Palisades RPV, another form of age-related degradation.

From 2005 to 2007, a broad environmental coalition sought to block Palisades' 20-year license extension. The coalition's main safety objection was PTS risks. NRC rubber-stamped the extension anyway.

This is an international issue. Palisades threatens the drinking water supply of 40 million people in 8 U.S. states, 2 Canadian provinces, and a large number of Native American First Nations.

Tuesday
Feb242015

Urge President Obama to oppose burial of TransCanada's radioactive wastes on Great Lakes shore!

Successul resistance to TransCanada's Keystone XL tar sands crude oil pipeline must now shift to fend off the dumping of TransCanada's radioactive wastes on the Great Lakes shore!

As reported by the Associated Press, on Feb. 24th, President Obama vetoed Senate Bill 1, which would have rushed the immediate construction of TransCanada Pipelines' Keystone XL tar sands crude oil pipeline. Our friends and colleagues at 350.org called for a rapid response action at the White House, at 5pm, just hours after the veto. As we have many times in the past -- on tar sands, fracking, and other environmental issues -- Beyond Nuclear answered the call, and stood in solidarity with our allies. We have also joined a unity statement with a large number of other groups, calling on President Obama to reject TransCanada's Keystone XL Pipeline once and for all.

Take action!

Please contact President Obama. You can email, fax, snail mail, and/or phone the White House, at the contacts posted on the White House website. Thank President Obama for his veto of Senate Bill 1. Urge him to reject the Keystone XL Pipeline once and for all. Also, urge President Obama to oppose the burial of TransCanada Pipelines' radioactive wastes on the Great Lakes shoreline. See below, including "Background," for more information on this issue.

Also, urge your U.S. Senators and your U.S. Representative to vote to sustain President Obama's veto of the Keystone XL Pipeline bill. Also, urge your Senators and Representative to oppose the burial of TransCanada Pipelines' radioactive wastes on the Great Lakes shoreline. Urge them to support congressional resolutions opposing Canada's proposed Great Lakes radioactive waste dump.

H. Res. 716 was introduced by U.S. Representatives Dan Kildee (D-MI) and Sander Levin (D-MI) in the last session of Congress. It was co-sponsored by U.S. Rep. Gary Peters (D-MI, now serving as a U.S. Senator this session) and U.S. Rep. Brian Higgins (D-NY).

U.S. Senator Carl Levin (D-MI, who retired after the past congressional session) introduced an identical resolution, S.Res.565, in the U.S. Senate. He was joined in sponsoring it by U.S. Senators Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Mark Kirk (R-IL), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), and U.S. Senate Assistant Democratic Leader Richard Durbin (D-IL).

If passed, the U.S. House and Senate resolutions would be added to nearly 150 more from across multiple states and provinces, representing nearly 18 million Great Lakes residents, opposing the proposed Deep Geologic Repository (DGR). Stop the Great Lakes Nuclear Dump has posted a map showing the locations of all the resolutions passed thus far.

How to contact your Congress Members

Your U.S. Senators' and Representative's websites will contain ways to email, fax, snail mail, and/or phone them. Or you can be patched through to your Members' offices via the U.S. Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121. You can also request a face-to-face meeting with your Members themselves, or with their staff, when they are back home in-district, or at their Washington, D.C. office.

Environmental Assessment on "DGR" now ending

Canadian federal decision makers are closing the Joint Review Panel (JRP, Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission and Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency) reveiw of the proposed "Deep Geologic Repository" (DGR) proposal. In a Nov. 18th Notice to Parties, the JRP has announced that it will make its recommendation on the proposal to the Canadian federal Environment Minister by May 2015. The Environment Minister will then make a recommendation to the Prime Minister's Cabinet, bypassing Parliament.

Background

After years of controversy over the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline proposal, TransCanada Pipelines' name is now a household word. However, it is little known that TransCanada Pipelines is also a major shareholder in Bruce Nuclear Generating Station (NGS).

Bruce NGS includes 9 reactors altogether, 8 still operable (4 units at Bruce A, and 4 units at Bruce B), and one, an early prototype called Douglas Point, permanently shutdown. This makes it one of the largest nuclear power plants in the entire world.

A map by Anna Tilman of the International Institute of Concern for Public Health depicts the numerous dirty, dangerous, and expensive nuclear activities that take place in and around the Bruce NGS, and how close it is to the U.S. across Lake Huron -- about 50 miles east of the Tip of Michigan's Thumb.

TransCanada and other partners took over the operations at Bruce NGS in 2002, after its previous operator, British Energy, went bankrupt.

Ontario Power Generation (OPG) actually owns Bruce NGS, but TransCanada Pipelines and its partners lease and operate the reactors. Thus, TransCanada Pipelines has been responsible for generating radioactive waste there for more than a dozen years already, with many more years, or even decades, of radioactive waste generation planned in the future.

OPG now proposes burying all of Ontario's so-called "low" and "intermediate" level radioactive wastes in a "Deep Geologic Repository" (DGR) on the Lake Huron shore at Bruce NGS, less than a mile from the water's edge. Radioactive wastes generated by Bruce's 8 reactors, combined with additional radioactive wastes from a dozen more OPG-owned reactors east of Toronto (8 at Pickering, 4 at Darlington), would be buried at the DGR. Thus, TransCanada Pipelines' radioactive wastes generated at Bruce would comprise a large fraction of the radioactive wastes to be buried on the Lake Huron shore. Again, see IICPH's map to get an overview of Ontario's nuclear risks.

As shown on the IICPH map, the DGR currently proposed at Bruce NGS would be for burial of so-called "low" and "intermediate" level radioactive wastes (L&ILRW), originating from 20 OPG-owned atomic reactors across Ontario. However, a national Canadian high-level radioactive waste (HLRW) burial dump is also targeted at the Bruce NGS. Several municipalities, disproportionately populated by Bruce Nuclear workers, and also on the receiving end of the nuclear utility's largesse, have "volunteered" to "host" a DGR for irradiated nuclear fuel. There is ongoing fear that once approved, the LLRW and ILRW DGR would simply morph into a catch-all DGR, including for HLRW.

The Great Lakes serve as the drinking water supply for 40 million people in 8 U.S. states, 2 Canadian provinces, and a large number of Native American First Nations. A leak of hazardous radioactivity into the Lakes, due to a transport accident, dump failure, or intentional attack would be catastrophic.

Wednesday
Feb112015

Illinois speaks out against Canadian Great Lakes shoreline radioactive waste dump proposal

OPG's proposed so-called Deep Geologic Repository for radioactive waste burial would be located less than a mile from the Great Lakes shoreline.Today, DuPage County, the second most populous in Illinois, announced the passage of a resolution in opposition to the proposal by nuclear utility Ontario Power Generation (OPG) to bury radioactive wastes from 20 atomic reactors across the province at its Bruce Nuclear Generating Station, on the Lake Huron shore in Kincardine, ON (see photo, left). Stop the Great Lakes Nuclear Dump shared the good news in a press release, with the DuPage Co. resolution attached.

On Feb. 6th, the City of Chicago also passed a similar resolution. As reported in the Stop the Great Lakes Nuclear Dump's press release, the Mayor of Chicago, Rahm Emanuel, said: “The Great Lakes hold 84 percent of North America’s fresh water and Chicago’s position as the paramount Great Lakes city makes OPG’s proposed nuclear waste repository a threat to both public health and our environment. As shown by our City Council’s unanimous approval of a resolution opposing the repository, as well as the many voices throughout the United States and Canada, passionate support to protect our Great Lakes spans across North America and cannot be ignored.”

As tallied at the Stop the Great Lakes Nuclear Dump website, the 142 resolutions, and counting, passed to date by tribes, states, counties, cities, towns, and villages across the Great Lakes Basin, represent a combined population of 17.9 million residents. Altogether, the Great Lakes provide drinking water for 40 million people in eight U.S. states, two Canadian provinces, and a large number of Native American First Nations.

What's especially significant about DuPage County's and Chicago's resolutions, is the fact that these are themselves "nuclear municipalities." DuPage County hosts the national HQ of Exelon in Warrenville, the biggest nuclear utility in the country, with 23 atomic reactors in its fleet. And Chicago, encircled by Exelon reactors (including identical twin designs to Fukushima Daiichi), gets around 80% of its electricity from nuclear power. Yet, these municipalities have spoken out against the insane proposal to bury radioactive waste on the Great Lakes shore.

As Dave Kraft, director of Nuclear Energy Information Service of Illinois, has pointed out, if burying radioactive waste on the Great Lakes shore is a bad idea, it's also a bad idea to be generating and storing it there in the first place.

Thursday
Jan222015

TransCanada's other dirty, dangerous, and expensive energy scheme: Bruce Nuclear and the proposed Great Lakes radioactive waste dump

TransCanada Pipeline's radioactive wastes from its Bruce Nuclear Generating Station are targeted to be buried less than a mile from the Lake Huron shoreline.TransCanada Pipelines, infamous for its Keystone XL tar sands pipeline scheme, is also a nuclear power utility and generator of radioactive wastes.

TransCanada is a major partner in Bruce Nuclear, which leases and operates Ontario Power Generation's (OPG) Bruce Nuclear Generating Station in Kincardine, Ontario (photo, left). Bruce is one of the world's single largest nuclear power plants, with a total of nine reactors on one site: one long-shuttered early prototype reactor (Douglas Point), and eight operable commercial CANDUs (Canadian Deuterium-Uranium reactors) at the adjacent Bruce A and Bruce B nuclear power plants.

Bruce Nuclear is located on the Great Lakes shoreline.

For four decades, OPG has incinerates all of the so-called "low" level radioactive wastes (LLRWs) generated at 20 reactors across Ontario (including those generated by TransCanada for over a decade at Bruce) at the on-site Western Waste Management Facility (WWMF), with untold atmospheric releases. OPG then stores the leftover radioactive ashes, as well as all the intermediate-level radioactive wastes (ILRWs) from across the province, at the WWMF.

Now, incredibly, OPG proposes to bury all of Ontario's L&ILRWs, including those generated by TransCanada Pipeline's, in a "Deep Geologic Repository" (DGR) at Bruce. Such radioactive waste burial on the shores of the Great Lakes is unprecedent. It is actually illegal in Michigan, just 50 miles to the west across Lake Huron. It would put at risk the drinking water supply for 40 million people in 8 U.S. states, 2 Canadian provinces, and a large number of Native American First Nations.

As if the proposed L&ILRW DGR weren't bad enough already, several nearby communities -- dominated by Bruce Nuclear's monetary might, and disproportionately populated by Bruce Nuclear workers -- have even volunteered to serve as Canada's national high-level radioactive waste (HLRW) DGR! A large fraction of Canada's HLRW is already stored at the Bruce Nuclear WWMF, originating at TransCanada's Bruce Nuclear Generating Station itself.

The "Great Lakes Region Nuclear Hot Spots" map, by Anna Tilman of the International Institute of Concern for Public Health, shows these many nuclear nightmares, either already underway, or proposed, at Bruce (and beyond).

In a very real sense, TransCanada is "making a killing, while getting away with murder," at Bruce Nuclear. It is pocketing the profits from operating reactors at one of the world's single biggest nuclear power plants, while "routinely" releasing radioactivity into the environment, and now aiding and abetting OPG's proposal to bury radioactive wastes it has generated, directly on the Great Lakes shore.

Beyond Nuclear stands in solidarity with such allies as Winona "No Nukes" LaDuke in opposition to TransCanada's Keysone XL pipeline, as congressional Republicans seek to force its construction, despite its dangers to people, the environment, and the climate.

TAKE ACTION!

Please contact President Obama: thank him for his veto pledge agaisnt the Keystone XL pipeline, and urge him to stand strong. But also urge him to do everything in his power to block the proposed DGR targeted at Bruce for the burial of TransCanada's radioactive wastes on the Great Lakes shoreline!

And when you contact your U.S. Senators and Representative to urge them to oppose the Keystone XL pipeline, please also urge them to lend their support to congressional resolutions opposing Canada's Great Lakes nuclear dump.

You can also sign and share a petition against the dump, and urge your city, county, and state to pass a resolution against it, as nearly 150 other municipalities already have!

Tuesday
Dec162014

U.S. NRC Commissioners deny appeal on QA at Fermi 3, but binational environmental intervenors vow to fight on

An artist's rendition of the GEH ESBWR, proposed by DTE to be built as "Fermi 3" at its nuclear power plant in Monroe Co., MIOn Dec. 16th, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission's (NRC) five Commissioners, in a unanimous ruling, denied an environmental coalition's appeal in the NRC Atomic Safety and Licensing Board (ASLB) proceeding on Detroit Edison's (DTE) proposed new Fermi 3 reactor in southeast MI on the Lake Erie shore. The binational coalition includes the Canadian group Citizens Environment Alliance of Southwestern Ontario, as well as the U.S. groups Beyond Nuclear, Citizens for Alternatives to Chemical Contamination, Don't Waste Michigan, and Sierra Club Michigan Chapter.

DTE proposes to construct and operate an untested General Electric-Hitachi (GEH), so-called "Economic, Simplified Boiling Water Reactor" (ESBWR) on the very spot where Fermi 1 had a partial meltdown in 1966, immediately adjacent to the Fukushima Daiichi twin-design Fermi 2, a GE Mark I BWR.

The coalition requested reconsideration of the ASLB's June 2014 ruling that DTE's Fermi 3 quality assurance (QA) program was adequate, reasserting its preponderence of evidence -- including the testimony of Fairewinds Associates, Inc.'s Chief Engineer, Arnie Gundersen -- that DTE's QA program was in fact in disarray, or even non-existent. The coalition intends to appeal this NRC ruling, and other pending matters, to the federal courts, if need be.

In addition to Fermi 3 on the U.S./Canadian border, GEH has announced that more than a dozen more ESBWRs are on the drawing boards, from North Anna, Virginia, to India and China.

More.