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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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Sunday
May042014

"A Rhetorical Outburst: Canadian ‘Experts’ Comfy with Radioactive Pollution of Great Lakes"

John LaForge of Nukewatch in Luck, WIJohn LaForge of Nukewatch Wisconsin has published an article at CounterPunch entitled "A Rhetorical Outburst: Canadian ‘Experts’ Comfy with Radioactive Pollution of Great Lakes."

It is John's response to an "expert report" done in support of Ontario Power Generation's (OPG) proposal to bury all of the province's so-called "low" and "intermediate" level radioactive wastes, from 20 reactors, less than a mile from the waters of Lake Huron. The dump would be immediately adjacent to OPG's Bruce Nuclear Generating Station, with eight operable atomic reactors, one of the single biggest nuclear power plants in the world.

40 million American, Canadian, and Native American First Nations residents drink from Great Lakes waters, which comprise more than 20% of the entire world's surface fresh water, and more than 90% of North America's.

John writes: "The ‘expert’ group’s report says it’s possible that as much as 1,000 cubic meters a year of water contaminated with radiation might leach from the dump, but calls such pollution 'highly improbable.' (Emphasis on 'predicted' and 'improbably' here: The US government’s 650-meter-deep Waste Isolation Pilot Project in New Mexico was predicted to contain radiation for 10,000 years. It failed badly on Feb. 14, after only 15.)"

In September 2013, John testified before the Canadian federal Joint Review Panel tasked with overseeing OPG's environmental assessment on OPG's proposed "Deep Geologic Repository," or DGR. (Critics have dubbed it the Deep Underground Dump, or DUD). He cited a 2008 OPG promotional brochure, which rhetorically asked “Will the [dump] contaminate the water?” then answered: “…even if the entire waste volume were to be dissolved into Lake Huron, the corresponding drinking water dose would be a factor of 100 below the regulatory criteria initially, and decreasing with time.”

This fatuous assertion prompted John to ask in his testimony: “Why would the government spend $1 billion on a dump when it is safe to throw all the radioactive waste in the water?”

As John writes, "Now, what I thought of then as a rhetorical outburst has become 'expert' opinion."

John and Beyond Nuclear's Kevin Kamps will co-present "Nuclear Power Is Not the Answer," their annual workshop at the Midwest Renewable Energy Association fair held on summer solstice weekend in central WI.

Thursday
May012014

The Most Dangerous Man in Detroit: Walter Reuther

The Brothers Reuther. From left to right, Roy, Walter, Victor. Walter P. Reuther Library, Wayne State University, Detroit, MI.

It is fitting, on International Workers' Day, to pay tribute to Walter Reuther.

Reuther's biographer, Nelson Lichtenstein (The Most Dangerous Man in Detroit: Walter Reuther and the Fate of American Labor, Basic Books, 1995) could have been referring to Walter Reuther's civil rights, social justice, and anti-war work as much as to his efforts on behalf of working people. And given that Walter Reuther, and especially his brother Victor, were very active internationally, perhaps they were also the most dangerous men in the world?

Less well known are the Reuther brothers' work for the environment and against nuclear risks.

Walter Reuther's United Auto Workers (UAW) took one of the very first high profile stands against nuclear power in the early 1960s, when it -- alas unsuccessfully, unfortunately -- attempted to stop the construction and operation of the Fermi 1 experimental plutonium breeder reactor in Monroe County, MI, just 25 miles south of Detroit. Between the Detroit and Toledo areas, some 500,000 UAW members lived within 50 miles of the big nuclear experiment on the Great Lakes shoreline. Even though the UAW did not prevail in its lawsuit against the Atomic Energy Commission at the U.S. Supreme Court (by a 7 to 2 vote), Reuther and the UAW would be proven right just a few years later. On Oct. 5, 1966, "We Almost Lost Detroit" (the title of John G. Fuller's iconic book, as well as Gil Scott Heron's ballad) when the Fermi 1 reactor core partially melted down. But it came precariously close to turning out much worse than it did.

Sasha Reuther, the grandson of Walter's younger brother Victor, published a documentary film in 2012 entitled "Brothers on the Line." Towards the very end of the film, U.S. Senator Ted Kennedy is quoted as saying that Walter Reuther was green before it was even invented.

In Victor Reuther's 1976 memoir The Brothers Reuther and the Story of the UAW (Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston), he documented his brother Walter's and the UAW's leadership in advocacy: as early as 1960, for U.S.-Canadian cooperation to protect the Great Lakes; in the early to mid-1960s, for nuclear disarment and end to nuclear weapons testing; and in the late 1960s and early 1970s, to hold the UN's first world conference on the environment. Victor Reuther also documented the visionary efforts of his and Walter's older brother, Roy, who did groundbreaking work with Cesar Chavez and the United Farm Workers, who also were environmental pioneers on the front lines.

Following in Reuther's early footsteps, it is Beyond Nuclear's mission to strive for the abolition of nuclear weapons and nuclear power, including working in coalition with U.S. and Canadian environmental allies to block the construction and operation of Detroit Edison's proposed new Fermi 3 atomic reactor, as well as to block the 20-year license extension sought for Fermi 2.

And, 54 years after the Brothers Reuther first sought to protect the Great Lakes, another binational environmental coalition that Beyond Nuclear is honored and privileged to be a part of is watchdogging the "making a killing, while getting away with murder" shenanigans at Bruce Nuclear Generating Station in Kincardine, Ontario. Bruce is one of the single largest nuclear power plants in the world, on the Lake Huron shore just 50 miles across the lake from the tip of Michigan's Thumb.

After years of grassroots resistance, Bruce Nuclear gave up on its insane proposal to ship 64 giant, radioactive steam generators on the Great Lakes, to Sweden, for "recycling" into consumer products. Now the fight is on against Ontario Power Generation's insane proposal to bury all of Ontario's so-called "low" and "intermediate" level radioactive wastes, from 20 reactors, less than a mile from the Great Lakes shore at Bruce. Our environmental coalition has long warned that, as bad as this "low" and "intermediate" level radioactive waste dump would be, it could be but the camel's nose under the tent: several Bruce area municipalites are still in the running to "host" all of Canada's high-level radioactive wastes, from 22 reactors, in permanent geologic disposal (that is, a dump).

And as soon as that dump is stopped, our next challenges -- working closely with environmental allies on both sides of the Great Lakes -- will be to stop the incineration of all of Ontario's "low" level radioactive wastes at Bruce (which has been going on for four decades), as well as to shut down the eight still operable reactors there.

Thursday
May012014

"Nuclear waste site should be moved away from Great Lakes"

Robert S. Ball has written a column in the Oakland Press highlighting the doubts cast on Ontario Power Generation's proposed Deep Geologic Repository (DGR) for so-called "low" and "intermediate" level radioactive wastes on the Lake Huron shoreline at Bruce Nuclear Generating Station in Kincardine, Ontario, Canada.

He cites Dr. Frank Greening's revelations that OPG's figure for radioactivity content of the wastes to be buried are significantly underestimated.

Ball also cites the Feb., 2014 radioactivity leak at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) as a cautionary tale. In fact, proponents of the Ontario DGR have often pointed to WIPP as a model to follow, although now they are trying to backpedal!

Friday
Apr252014

"What’s wrong with proposed nuclear waste dump on Lake Huron?"

Dr. Gordon Edwards of CCNR. Photo by Jim Bloch.Jim Bloch at The Voice has reported on an April 14th presentation in Port Huron, MI, by Dr. Gordon Edwards of Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility in opposition to the Ontario Power Generation Deep Geologic Repository targeted at Bruce Nuclear Generating Station in Kincardine, Ontario. Bruce is located about 110 miles northeast of Port Huron.

Describing OPG's proposal and its attempted justifications, Dr. Edwards said “This is not science. This is a belief system which is based upon the hope that we have a solution. It is not proof that we have a solution.”

Thursday
Apr172014

"Another Look at the Deep Geologic Repository Plan"

Stop the Great Lakes Nuclear Dump's spokesperson Beverly Fernandez testifies against OPG's DGRAs reported at the Stop the Great Lakes Nuclear Dump website, on April 17th, Beverly Fernandez was interviewed by Agenda producer Hilary Clark about "Another Look at the Deep Geologic Repository Plan." Fernandez is a spokesperson for Stop the Great Lakes Nuclear Dump's efforts in opposition to Ontario Power Generation's (OPG) proposal to bury so-called "low" and intermediate level radioactive wastes less than a mile from the Great Lakes -- drinking water supply for 40 million people in 8 U.S. states and 2 Canadian provinces.

The Agenda web link above also links to another of its reports from back in the autumn of 2013, after the Canadian federal Joint Review Panel wrapped up their first hearings on the DGR proposal. The Agenda hosted a discussion between Larry Kraemer, Mayor of Kincardine and strong advocate for the project, and Brennain Lloyd of Northwatch, an opponent of the proposal. Kraemer claims it was he who approached OPG with the initial idea for the DGR, in 2001. Kincardine and other area municipalities, largely populated by Bruce Nuclear workers, have been and will continue to recieve a million dollars per year from OPG for their support of the DGR proposal.

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