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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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Thursday
May212015

Michael J. Keegan receives ANA & Beyond Nuclear "Judith Johnsrud Unsung Hero Award" at DC Days

Michael J. Keegan (right) receives Judith Johnsrud Unsung Hero Award from Beyond Nuclear's Kevin Kamps. Photo by Glenn Carroll of Nukewatch South.On May 18, the Alliance for Nuclear Accountability (ANA) and Beyond Nuclear named Michael J. Keegan of Monroe, MI the 2015 Judith Johnsrud Unsung Hero, "for demonstrating tireless dedication and stubborn determination, undeterred by lack of recognition, resources, or short-term success, in his creative, visionary work for a Nuclear-Free Great Lakes." The award ceremony took place as part of ANA's annual D.C. Days Capitol Hill reception, held at Rayburn House Office Building.

The award was named after Beyond Nuclear founding board member, Dr. Judith H. Johnsrud, who passed on in 2014. Judy's anti-nuclear activism began in 1967, when she blocked Project Ketch, a scheme to explode a thousand H bombs underground in Pennsylvania, to carve natural gas storage. Her resistance to nuclear power included intervening against Three Mile Island, long before the meltdown. In 2012, the Sierra Club honored Judy with a lifetime achievement award for her half-century of anti-nuclear activism. (See Beyond Nuclear's tribute to Judy on p. 6 of its TMI 35th anniversary newsletter.)

The criteria for this award include: a clear dedication to the issue; hard-working and self-sacrificing; determined, fearless spirit when confronted with challenges and setbacks; unsung. No one fits this bill better than Michael J. Keegan.

For the past 35 years Michael has actively engaged in opposition to nuclear power and nuclear proliferation. He has testified in hearings at county, state, provincial, and the U.S.-Canadian federal levels, providing expert testimony. He has frequently been legal intervenor in matters before both federal governments. Michael has helped stop nuclear waste dumps, atomic reactors, bomb tests, radioactive shipments on the Great Lakes, and many other nuclear ills. Currently, Michael is engaged as a legal intervenor against: the proposed Fermi 3, MI new reactor license application; the Davis-Besse, OH license extension; and the Palisades, MI license amendment request for regulatory relief on reactor pressure vessel embrittlement risks.

Michael began with his opposition to the nuclear industry in 1980 at Fermi 2, a Fukushima twin design, which is located near Monroe, MI, his lifelong home. In the mid 1990s he brought together Citizen's Resistance at Fermi Two. He is Co-Chair of Don't Waste Michigan, and Chair of the Coalition for a Nuclear-Free Great Lakes. Michael co-chairs a U.S.-Canadian task force dedicated to Green Energy and a Nuclear-Free Great Lakes.

See Kevin's introduction of Michael here. See Michael's biographical statement here

Saturday
May162015

Great Lakes Cities Initiative questions JRP approval of OPG DGR

The bi-national Great Lakes Cities Initiative, representing scores of Great Lakes mayors in both the U.S. and Canada, has issued a statement strongly questioning the wisdom of the Canadian federal Joint Review Panel's recommendation to open a radioactive waste dump on the shores of the Great Lakes, without having so much as considered alternative locations.

The GLCI played a key role in stopping Bruce Nuclear's scheme to ship radioactive wastes on the Great Lakes a few years ago.

Thursday
May142015

100 groups send Open Letter to Government of Ontario: OPG's plan to dump radioactive wastes on Great Lakes shore unacceptable

OPG's proposed so-called Deep Geologic Repository for radioactive waste burial would be located 3/4ths of a mile from the Great Lakes shoreline.Beyond Nuclear has joined 100 allied groups from across Ontario, the rest of Canada, the U.S., and other countries, in sending an Open Letter to the Provincial Government of Ontario. The province is the sole shareholder of Ontario Power Generation (OPG), which plans to dump all of the "low" and "intermediate" level radioactive wastes from 20 reactors in a "Deep Geologic Repository" (DGR) at the Bruce Nuclear Generating Station in Kincardine, Ontario, within 1 km (0.75 mi) of the waters of Lake Huron.

The coalition's Open Letter comes in response to the Canadian federal Joint Review Panel's approval of OPG's environmental assessment for the insane scheme, which would put at risk the drinking water supply for 40 million people in eight U.S. states, two Canadian provinces, and a large number of Native American First Nations.

The coalition has issued a press release.

Wednesday
May132015

Anishinabek Nation joins Saugeen Ojibway Nation in opposition to burying nuclear waste"

As reported by Anishinabek News, the Anishinabek Grand Council Chief, Patrick Madahbee, has joined Saugeen Ojibwe Nation Chief Vernon Roote in expressing opposition to the Ontario Power Generation Deep Geologic Repository for radioactive waste targeted at their territories on the Great Lakes shoreline.

Grand Council Chief Patrick Madahbee
Wednesday
May062015

Beyond Nuclear decries Canadian radioactive waste dump on Great Lakes shore, vows intensified resistance

OPG's proposed so-called Deep Geologic Repository for radioactive waste burial would be located 3/4ths of a mile from the Great Lakes shoreline.As long feared, the trigger has been pulled. The Canadian federal Joint Review Panel (JRP), representing both the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) and Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency (CEAA), has issued its Environmental Assessment Report on Ontario Power Generation's (OPG) proposed Deep Geologic Repository (DGR) for so-called "low" and "intermediate" level radioactive waste burial on the Lake Huron shore. Incredibly, despite decades of concerted grassroots opposition, and years of formal testimony and revelations to the contrary, the JRP has concluded the planned radioactive waste dump "is not likely to cause significant adverse environmental effects, taking into account the implementation of the mitigation measures committed to by OPG together with the mitigation measures recommended by the Panel."

In other words, "trust us, we're experts," and "if everything is done right, what could possibly go wrong?!". But we do not trust them. And since when do accidents or attacks unfold in a predictable, scripted manner? The Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) in New Mexico is a good case study. WIPP was not supposed to leak radioactivity to the environment for 10,000, or even hundreds of thousands of years. But it did do so, in 2014, after just 15 years of operations. Tellingly, OPG's DGR is modelled after WIPP!

Beyond Nuclear, an official intervenor against the DGR in the JRP proceeding of the past few years, today issued a media statement. 

The Toronto Star quoted Beyond Nuclear's Radioactive Waste Watchdog, Kevin Kamps, in response to the JRP report:

...“In our opinion, there are still a lot of half-baked aspects to this proposal, so it’s very disconcerting that it’s this deep into the decision-making process,” he said.

Kamps raised several concerns, including the risk of transport accidents involving vehicles shipping materials to the DGR, and potential leaks from the crypt into the environment, including the Great Lakes.

“The drinking water supplies 40 million people in two countries, yes, and that’s going to continue on for generations into the future … these wastes are hazardous for hundreds of thousands of years, if not longer,” he said...

The article also quoted Beverly Fernandez of Stop the Great Lakes Nuclear Dump. Beverly Fernandez was also interviewed on a CBC program, rebutting OPG. 

The Times Herald also reported on this story, quoting Ed McArdle of Sierra Club Southeast Michigan Group. Ed, as a resident of Melvindale, MI, downstream of the DGR, activated his State Senator, Hoon-Yung Hopgood, on this issue, which led to a unanimous, bipartisan resolution in the MI State Senate opposing the DGR in 2013. Numerous Republican and Democratic Michigan congressional and state legislators are also quoted in the article, all expressing continued resistance. 

The Owen Sound Sun-Times reports that the chief of the Saugeen Ojibwe First Nation (SON), Vernon Roote, is withholding the requisite permission that OPG has acknolwedged is needed for the DGR to proceed. Blackburn News also reported on SON Chief Roote's determination to fight OPG legally, if it proceeds with the DGR without the SON's consent.

The Agenda reports "a decades-long fight" ahead, before the dump-site would be able to open for business.

The JRP submitted its Environmental Assessment Report to the Canadian federal Environment Minister, Leona Aglukkaq, early in the afternoon of May 6th. Environment Minister Aglukkaq then made it available to the public several hours later, in the early evening. Aglukkaq will now review the Report, and within the next 120 days, will make her recommendation to Prime Minister Harper's federal Cabinet, bypassing Parliament. At that point, the Prime Minister and his Cabinet could approve construction and operation of the DGR, despite widespread, and growing, opposition throughout the Great Lakes Basin.

This groundswell of resistance is reflected in the 154 resolutions from various levels of government, from all eight U.S. states on the Great Lakes, as well as Ontario. Altogether, as reported by Stop the Great Lakes Nuclear Dump (STGLND), these resolutions represent a total population of Great Lakes residents numbering 21 million (see STGLND's excellent map showing the extent of these resolutions!). That's more than half of the Americans, Canadians, and Native American First Nations members who rely on the Great Lakes for drinking water. (But we need to get resolutions from the other half of the 40 million people, in the eight U.S. states, two Canadian provinces, and large number of Native American First Nations who depend on the Great Lakes for drinking water. If your city, county, or state has not yet passed a resolution, contact Beyond Nuclear's Radioactive Waste Watchdog, Kevin Kamps, at (240) 462-3216 or kevin@beyondnuclear.org, to learn how you can help get this done!)

STGLND's own petition has garnered over 75,000 signatures. Please sign on if you haven't already, and spread the word!

In addition, resolutions opposing the DGR, and calling on President Obama to take action to block it, have been reintroduced in both houses of the U.S. Congress. See Canadian television network CTV's coverage of the reintroduction of these congressional resolutions last month (and CTV's U.S. Senate coverage here).

U.S. Rep. Kildee (D-MI) has taken the lead in the U.S. House with H. Res. 194, and has been joined by the following 19 co-sponsors: Benishek (R-MI); Bishop (R-MI); Conyers (D-MI); Dingell (D-MI); Dold (R-IL); Duckworth (D-IL); Duffy (R-WI); Fudge (D-OH); Gibson (R-NY); Higgins (D-NY); Joyce (R-OH); Kaptur (D-OH); Lawrence (D-MI); Levin (D-MI); Miller (R-MI); Moolenaar (R-MI); Renacci (R-OH); Schakowsky (D-IL); Slaughter (D-NY); and Trott (R-MI).

U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) has taken the lead in the U.S. Senate on S. Res. 134, and has been joined by the following four co-sponsors: Baldwin (D-WI); Durbin (D-IL); Kirk (R-IL); and Peters (D-MI).

The bipartisan co-sponsorship of these resolutions is a key factor bolstering their chance of gaining traction in both houses of Congress. But if opposition to this radioactive waste dump on the shore of the Great Lakes doesn't deserve bipartisan support, it's not clear what would!

If your Members of Congress are already co-sponsoring these resolutions, please contact their offices and thank them. You can be patched through to your two Senators and your Representative by calling the U.S. Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121. Or look up your House Member and Senators for additional ways to contact their offices.

If your Congress Members have not yet co-sponsored these resolutions, please urge them to do so.

Please also contact President Obama, and urge him to block this threat to the drinking water supply of tens of millions of Americans, including in his own home town of Chicago! In the 1980s, the Canadian federal government requested the U.S. federal government to discontinue consideration of a radioactive waste dump near the border in New England, which could have impacted joint watersheds. It is time for the Canadian federal government to return the favor on the Great Lakes -- but the Obama administration has to make the request!

Various news media have recently reported on this issue, as the JRP's May 6, 2015 report publication deadline approached. These have included: WMUK radio (Kalamazoo, MI); "The Environment Report" on Michigan Radio; WZZM t.v. (MI); Niagara This Week (ON); the Associated Press; and CTV, as well as a three-part installment in the Toronto Star: "Drilling down for the Deep Geologic Repository"; "Is a Kincardine deep geological repository the solution for nuclear waste?"; "What nuclear waste would be stored in Kincardine?".