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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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Monday
Jul182016

Letter claims info on nuclear risks withheld from safety commissioners 

As reported by Gloria Galloway at the Globe and Mail, an anonymous letter written by Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) staffers alleges that the agency staff has kept the CNSC Commissioners, and the CNSC President, in the dark about significant safety issues at Canadian nuclear power plants such as Darlington just east of Toronto, and Bruce on the Lake Huron shore just upstream of Port Huron and Detroit, Michigan.

The letter was sent not only to CNSC President Michael Binder, but also to two leadinng Canadian environmental groups, Canadian Environmental Law Association (CELA) and Greenpeace Canada.

As the article reports:

...Although it is impossible to verify that the letter was written by CNSC specialists, environmentalists who received copies of the document say the level of detail, the manner of speaking and the amount of complexity suggest it was written by someone with inside knowledge. And, they say, the problems are symptomatic of a culture at the commission in which employees are expected to act as boosters of the nuclear industry rather than watchdogs of nuclear safety...

Theresa McClenaghan, executive director of the Canadian Environmental Law Association, who was the other environmentalist sent a copy of the letter, said actions of this sort – in which whistle-blowers make such specific allegations – are both rare and surprising. But, she said, she has no doubt it was written by someone inside the CNSC.

“We are often very concerned that commissioners are not getting the full story from the proponents or the regulatory staff,” Ms. McClenaghan said. “In the hearings, we really do see a frustrating amount of apologetics for the industry going on by staff.”

Mr. Stensil, of Greenpeace, said the most serious issue raised in the letter is the allegation suggesting that CNSC staff knows about additional risks being posed by reactors, but is ignoring them. That is what happened at Fukushima, he said.

“That’s not a nuts-and-bolts or an engineering issue,” Mr. Stensil said. “That’s a safety culture issue.”

Beyond Nuclear has engaged in numerous CNSC proceedings over the past decade, from: reactor operating license extensions at Bruce; to a reactor new build proposal at Darlington, as well as a license extension proceeding; and a license extension proceeding at CAMECO's uranium processing facility in Port Hope, Ontario. Beyond Nuclear's biggest involvement, however, as been its opposition to Ontario Power Generation's proposed radioactive waste dump at Bruce, on the Great Lakes shore. Beyond Nuclear can vouch, from extensive, direct experience, that CNSC staff's extreme bias in favor of nuclear power promotion is over the top.

Thursday
May052016

Urge President Obama: After Flint, don't let them nuke the Great Lakes next!

OPG proposes to construct and operate the DGR at the Bruce Nuclear Generating Station, less than a mile from Lake Huron in Kincardine, Ontario, Canada.President Obama deserves thanks for answering the call by an eight-year-old Flint, Michigan girl -- Mari Copeny -- to come to the city of 100,000 devastated by lead poisoning via the public drinking water system, due to a cost-saving measure by the State of MI that utilized highly corrosive Flint River water.

While there, Obama declared safe drinking water is "part of the basic responsibilities of a government in the United States of America."

But the safe drinking water of Lake Huron -- to which Flint has now returned -- is itself imperiled by another potential "man-made disaster": Ontario Power Generation's (OPG) proposal to bury 400,000 cubic meters of radioactive wastes on its shore.

(The OPG proposal is still under review on the Canada side. OPG has said it will fulfill the Canadian Environment Minister, Catherine McKenna's, requests for additional information by the end of this year -- a rushed environmental assessment timeline Beyond Nuclear has blasted as "half-baked" and "insincere.")

The very same American government agencies whose incompetence and even criminal wrongdoing -- MI Governor Rick Snyder's administration, the MI Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ), and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) -- caused the Flint catastrophe, have also signed off on OPG's Deep Geologic Repository (DGR), thus putting the Great Lakes drinking water supply for 40 million people at risk of eventual hazardous radioactive waste contamination.

After Flint, we can't let them nuke the Great Lakes next!

Please contact President Obama and urge that he work with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to block OPG's insane scheme, as by activating the U.S.-Canadian International Joint Commission to do a comprehensive review of the unacceptably risky DGR proposal.

To learn more about the DGR and ways you can help stop it, please visit Beyond Nuclear's Canada website section.

Sunday
Apr172016

Beyond Nuclear blasts OPG's DGR environmental assessment as "half-baked" and "insincere"

As reported by Jim Bloch in The Voice, Ontario Power Generation has told the Canadian federal Environment Minister, Catherine McKenna, that it will answer her request for additional information regarding its proposed Great Lakes shore Deep Geologic Repository (DGR) for radioactive waste burial by the end of this year.

April 18th was OPG's deadline for responding to the Environment Minister as to how long the requests for additional information would take.

Beyond Nuclear had praised the Environment Minister for making the information requests two months earlier, and for indefinitely postponing her decision on the merits of the DGR proposal.

Groups like Stop the Great Lakes Nuclear Dump have called on McKenna, and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, to cancel the DGR proposal outright. They have warned Trudeau that his environmental legacy depends on his doing the right thing regarding the DGR.

Beyond Nuclear's Kevin Kamps blasted OPG for its "half-baked" environmental assessments thus far, and its obviously "insincere" efforts to come. As quoted in the article:

"How can OPG, in nine short months, conduct a review of an alternate DGR in granite, to the north in Ontario, when its review of the limestone formation at Bruce NGS has, all told, taken 15 long years now?" Kamps asked.

Kamps said the process of environmental assessment has been flawed from the start.

"OPG's 2011 environmental assessment, ironically released right about the same time that the Fukushima nuclear catastrophe began, was half-baked to begin with," said Kamps. "Over the course of years, the JRP politely listened to countless, quality comments from hundreds to thousands of concerned citizens, and scores to hundreds of environmental groups, from both the U.S. and Canada. And then, in its Final Report, JRP largely to entirely ignored those comments and concerns."

Kamps questioned the company's commitment to the process.

"OPG's indication that it will fulfill Minister McKenna's broad requests for additional information by Dec. 31, less than nine months from now, shows how insincere OPG is at answering the minister's – and the downstream public's – deep concerns and broad questions," Kamps said.

Monday
Mar212016

NUCLEAR HOPE: A documentary about the deepest and darkest places on Earth

A still image from NUCLEAR HOPE, showing a rally organized by the local grassroots group Save Our Saugeen Shores, in opposition to OPG's highly controversial DGR targeted at the Lake Huron shorelineFilmmaker Colin Scheyen has announced the release of a documentary, NUCLEAR HOPE, examining the radioactive waste dilemma in Canada, including Ontario Power Generation's highly controversial "Deep Geologic Repository" (DGR, for radioactive waste burial) targeted at the shoreline of Lake Huron, at Bruce Nuclear Generating Station in Kincardine, Ontario.

Scheyen wrote to environmental watchdogs on both sides of the Great Lakes:

I spoke to many of you over email last July about the article on our film, Nuclear Hope. Since that time our film has gone on to win awards in festivals in Canada, the United States, and will most recently be featured in Toronto Film Week. Our film asks the question "what will Canada do with its enormous stockpile of nuclear waste?"

Many people thought that our film is a pro-nuclear propaganda film, which I believe could not be further from the truth.

As of today, we are officially releasing the film online via Vimeo.

http://www.undergroundsunshine.com/

The film can be rented for $2 US or purchased for around $4. I hope some of you who are interested in the issue of burying nuclear waste near the Great Lakes will take the time to see our film and let us know what you think.

I look forward to a thoughtful and engaging discussion.

Beyond Nuclear encourages you to check out the film's artful website, to watch this imaginative and thought provoking documentary, and to spread the word!

The film features heartfelt and enlightening interviews, with such allies in the fight against the DGR as: Dr. Helen Caldicott (Beyond Nuclear's Founding President); Eugene Bourgeois (a sheep farmer who lives immediately next door to the world's largest operating nuclear power plant, Bruce NGS, with eight operable reactors, radioactive waste surface storage for all 20 of Ontario's commercial atomic reactors, a large-scale, so-called "low" level radioactive waste incinerator, etc.!); Brennain Lloyd of Northwatch; Save Our Saugeen Shores (SOS); and others.

And once you've watched this film, please take action.

While the Canadian Environment Minister, Catherine McKenna's, recent decision to postpone her final decision on the DGR was welcome news, we must now redouble our efforts to block the DGR once and for all!

Email the Canadian Environment Minister <catherine.mckenna@parl.gc.ca> and the Canadian Prime Minister <justin.trudeau@parl.gc.ca>. Urge them to reject, once and for all, OPG's proposal to bury radioactive wastes beside Lake Huron. OPG's DGR endangers the Great Lakes, the fragile and irreplaceable drinking water supply for 40 million people in eight U.S. states, two Canadian provinces, and a large number of Native American First Nations.

(See Beyond Nuclear's list of ideas for additional actions you can take, including: a petition you can sign; U.S. elected officials -- from President Obama, to Secretary of State Kerry, to your U.S. Senators and Representative -- you can urge to take action; and a resolution to urge your city, county, and state to pass in opposition to the DGR.)

See Beyond Nuclear's Canada website section for more information on the 15-years-and-counting fight against the DGR!

Wednesday
Mar092016

"TOXIC CONCERNS PUT BRAKES ON NEARBY NUCLEAR WASTE BURIAL SITE"

Ontario Power Generation eyes Great Lakes for underground nuclear waste dumpAs reported by Michelle Adelman in Now Toronto, the Canadian federal Environment Minister, Catherine McKenna's, decision to indefinitely delay her yea or nay on Ontario Power Generation's proposed Great Lakes shoreline radioactive waste dump gives opponents a chance to block it once and for all.

Beyond Nuclear's Radioactive Waste Watchdog, Kevin Kamps, is quoted:

The delay gives opponents a chance to catch their second wind in their 15-year campaign against a project Kevin Kamps of the Washington-DC-based Beyond Nuclear says “is risking poisoning the great lakes” and is seen as a forerunner of future nuclear waste burial schemes in Ontario...

But even if all reactors shut down tomorrow, there’s no turning away from the toxic mess already on the ground. If a DGR is the best idea society can come up with for handling the worst of the waste, we’d better hope the technology can stand up for eternity.

“If not,” says Kamps of Beyond Nuclear, “our waste will be the toxic burden of near endless generations to come.”