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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
Jun032013

Great Lakes Region Nuclear Hotspots Map

John Jackson of Great Lakes United (GLU) and Anna Tilman of International Institute of Concern for Public Health (IICPH) have released an updated map of Nuclear Hotspots in the Great Lakes Region (see image, left):

"Great Lakes United and the International Institute of Concern for Public Health (IICPH) released today the Great Lakes Nuclear Hot Spots Map, providing a detailed regional, binational view of nuclear facilities in the Great Lakes Region. As the map shows, with the exception of Lake Superior, each of the Great Lakes has numerous nuclear sites related to nuclear power generation, most of which are located within one kilometre of the Lakes. This raises concerns about the cumulative impacts of radioactive releases over the years from so many sites. It also shows the numerous places where a serious nuclear accident could occur in the region.

This map marks the first comprehensive update of this information in 15 years and highlights the lack of information about radioactive releases from these facilities. In 1998, the International Joint Commission’s (IJC) Task Force on Inventory of Radionuclides released an assessment of nuclear facilities around the basin. At the time, the Task Force concluded that releases from nuclear facilities were substantial, but that the extent of knowledge about the releases and their impacts was “limited”.   http://www.ijc.org/files/publications/C131.pdf

The map includes all aspects of nuclear power production in the Great Lakes region, including the 38 operating nuclear power plants, 12 closed plants, and four new plants proposed in Canada. It also includes the facilities that process uranium ore and manufacture the pellets, as well as tailings sites from uranium mining and milling, and facilities that store, and dispose of radioactive waste. Every site on the map is a radioactive waste site, whether operating or not.

The Great Lakes Nuclear Hot Spots Map provides a critical resource for communities concerned about the potential for radioactive waste releases into the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River. Additionally, it shows the sites under consideration by the Canadian Government for storing Canada’s nuclear fuel waste. Most of the proposed sites lie within the Great Lakes basin. With the potential for new disposal sites within easy access of the Great Lakes, communities are concerned that nuclear waste could be brought in via ships, creating substantial risks of spills along Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River shipping lanes and during loading and unloading near shore.

The Citizens’ Clearinghouse on Waste Management contributed funding to this project."

The map updates work from 1990-1991 published by Irene Kock and Dave Martin of Nuclear Awareness Project.

Beyond Nuclear has also compiled a listing of major U.S. municipalities downstream of the proposed Bruce DUD on the Great Lakes shorelines of MI, OH, PA, and NY, as well as a listing of major municipalities in upstate New York directly across Lake Ontario from the nuclear power plants (Pickering, Darlington) and uranium processing facility (Port Hope) east of Toronto.

Friday
May312013

U.S.-Canadian environmental coalition rebuts challenges against Fermi 3 proposed new reactor contention

Environmental coalition attorney Terry Lodge of ToledoAttorney Terry Lodge of Toledo (photo, left), and expert witness Arnie Gundersen, Chief Engineer at Fairewinds Associates, Inc, have filed a rebuttal against challenges brought by Detroit Edison and the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission staff (NRC) regarding Quality Assurance (QA) contentions in opposition to the proposed new Fermi 3 atomic reactor.

The rebuttal includes expert witness testimony by Gundersen, and an"Intervenor's Rebuttal Statement of Position" legal filing by Lodge.

Lodge and Gundersen filed their rebuttal on behalf of an environmental coalition comprised of Beyond Nuclear, Citizens for Alternatives to Chemical Contamination, Citizens Environment Alliance of Southwestern Ontario, Don't Waste Michigan, and the Sierra Club's Michigan Chapter.

Fermi 3 is a proposed new General Electric-Hitachi so-called "ESBWR" ("Economic Simplified Boiling Water Reactor"), targeted at the Lake Erie shoreline in Monroe County, Michigan, 8 miles as the crow flies (or the radioactivity blows) from Ontario, Canada.

NRC Atomic Safety and Licensing Board hearings are set for Halloween on not only this QA contention, but also an Eastern Fox Snake threatened species contention. In addition, Fermi 3's combined Construction and Operation License Application (COLA) cannot be finalized until NRC completes its court-ordered Environmental Impact Statement on its so-called [High-Level] Nuclear Waste Confidence Rule, a proceeding that could take years.

Thursday
May162013

Statements of opposition needed now to prevent national Canadian radioactive waste dump(s) on Great Lakes shore

Stop the Great Lakes Nuclear Dump billboard, seen by hundreds of thousands of commuters per day in the Toronto area

[Send your hand-written comments and questions about this insane proposal to:

Debra Myles; Joint Review Panel Secretariat; 160 Elgin St.; 22nd Floor; Ottawa, ON; K1A 0H3; Canada.

Or email them to:

DGR.Review@ceaa-acee.gc.ca.

You can also sign the online petition being circulated by the grassroots Bruce area environmental and residential group "Stop the Great Lakes Nuclear Dump." (See their Toronto area billboard, left)]

The federal Joint Review Panel (JRP) conducting an environmental assessment of Ontario Power Generation's (OPG) proposal to bury all of the province's so-called "low" and "intermediate" level radioactive wastes (L&ILRWs, from 20 atomic reactors across Ontario) in a "Deep Geologic Repository" (DGR) at the Bruce Nuclear Generating Station, 400 meters from the waters of Lake Huron, has announced that May 24th will close the time window for asking questions. Next stop, full hearings.

Bruce Nuclear Generating Station is one of the world's single biggest nuclear power plants. It "hosts" a total of 9 reactors, as well as incineration for 20 reactors' LLRWs, and warehouses for the leftover ashes, as well as ILRWs of Ontario. It is located a mere 50 miles across Lake Huron from Michigan. 

The Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO), comprised of Canada's nuclear utilities, has taken over the L&ILRW DGR process. This is an alarming development, as the NWMO was created to find a DGR for high-level radioactive waste (HLRW), irradiated nuclear fuel. In fact, NWMO is working with several municipalities near Bruce, largely populated by Bruce nuclear workers, which have "volunteered" (in exchange for large amounts of funding -- is that really "volunteering"?!) to be considered for becoming Canada's HLRW DGR location, for 22 reactors' irradiated nuclear fuel (outside Ontario, there was a single reactor in Quebec -- now permanently shutdown -- and a single reactor in New Brunswick). 

As DGRs would cost billions, or tens of billions, to construct and operate (the U.S. Department of Energy's most recent estimate for the price tag on the Yucca Mountain dumpsite proposal approached $100 billion), it is very likely that the L&ILRW and HLRW DGRs at/near Bruce would be merged into a single dumpsite, to save billions or tens of billions of dollars on a second, redundant DGR nearby.

The Great Lakes comprise 20% of the world's surface fresh water. They provide drinking water to 40 million people in 8 U.S. states, 2 Canadian provinces, and a large number of Native American First Nations. As environmental, who instead refer to the DGRs as Deep Underground Dumps (that is, DUDs), have asked: would you bury poison beside your drinking water well?!

Please take this opportunity to help generate a flurry of concise statements of opposition aimed at preventing the Great Lakes shoreline from being turned into a permanent dumpsite for Ontario's L&ILRWs, and very likely all of Canada's HLRWs to follow.

Send your hand-written comments and questions about this insane proposal to:

Debra Myles; Joint Review Panel Secretariat; 160 Elgin St.; 22nd Floor; Ottawa, ON; K1A 0H3; Canada.

Or email them to:

DGR.Review@ceaa-acee.gc.ca.

You can also sign the online petition being circulated by the grassroots Bruce area environmental and residential group "Stop the Great Lakes Nuclear Dump." (See their Toronto area billboard, above left)

Tuesday
May072013

Entergy Watch: Environmental coalition challenges Entergy's financial qualifications to continue operating reactors, including near border with Canada

"Burning money" graphic by Gene Case, Avenging AngelsAs reported by E&E's Hannah Northey at Greenwire, an environmental coalition including such groups as Alliance for a Green Economy (AGREE), Beyond Nuclear, Citizens Awareness Network (CAN), and Pilgrim Watch, has launched an emergency enforcement petition at the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, challenging the financial qualifications of Entergy Nuclear to safely operate and decommission such reactors at FitzPatrick in New York, Pilgrim in Massachusetts, and Vermont Yankee. All three reactors happen to be twin designs to Fukushima Daiichi Units 1 to 4, that is, General Electric Mark I boiling water reactors. The coalition's petition cited financial analyses by UBS on Entergy's dire economic straits. Representatives from coalition groups, including Beyond Nuclear's Paul Gunter, testified today before an NRC Petition Review Board at the agency's headquarters in Rockville, MD. 

Vermont borders Quebec, and FitzPatrick is located on the Upstate NY shore of Lake Ontario, across the lake from Canada's biggest city, Toronto. Radiological risks to public health, safety and the environment do not respect state or international borders, after all.

FitzPatrick, Pilgrim, and Vermont Yankee have each already recieved 20-year license extension rubber-stamps from NRC. FitzPatrick, even though it never installed a hardened vent in the early 1990s, to deal with its too small, too weak containment -- the only one, of 23 Mark I in the U.S., to not do so. Pilgrim became the longest contested license extension -- a proceeding lasting over 6 years -- thanks to the efforts of Mary Lampert at Pilgrim Watch. And the Vermont Yankee license extension was actually blocked by the State of Vermont -- this court battle between and involving the state, Entergy, and NRC rages on in multiple federal and state venues.

In a Feb. 8, 2013 interview with Reuters, Entergy's brand new CEO, Leo Denault, admitted that one of the main financial challenges Entergy faces is the high cost of making vital safety repairs on its age-degraded reactors.

Wednesday
Mar272013

U.S.-Canadian environmental coalition defends contentions against Fermi 3 proposed new reactor, challenges adequacy of NRC FEIS

Environmental coalition attorney Terry LodgeTerry Lodge (photo, left), Toledo-based attorney representing an international environmental coalition opposing the proposed new Fermi 3 atomic reactor targeted at the Lake Erie shore in Monroe County, MI, has filed a reply to challenges from Detroit Edison (DTE) and the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) staff. The coalition includes such U.S. groups as Beyond Nuclear, and allies in Michigan (Citizens for Alternatives to Chemical Contamination, Don't Waste MI, and Sierra Club Michigan Chapter), and the Canadian group Citizen Environment Alliance of Southwestern Ontario. 

The coalition's reply re-asserted "no confidence" in DTE's ability to safely stored Class B and C "low-level" radioactive wastes on-site at Fermi 3 into the indefinite future, due to the lack of sure access to a disposal facility. it also again emphasized the lack of documented need for the 1,550 Megawatts of electricity Fermi 3 would generate. And the coalition alleged that NRC has failed to fulfill its federal responsibilities under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA), and National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), as by the illegal "segmentation" of the needed transmission line corridor from the rest of the Fermi 3 reactor construction and operation proposal.

This legal filing follows by a week upon the submission of public comments about NRC's Fermi 3 Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS). The comments, commissioned by Don't Waste Michigan and prepared by Jessie Pauline Collins, were endorsed by a broad coalition of individuals and environmental groups, including Beyond Nuclear. The FEIS comments included satellite images of harmful algal blooms in Lake Erie in 2012, and in 2011 to 2012, attributable in significant part to thermal electric power plants such as Detroit Edison's Monroe (coal burning) Power Plant, at 3,300 Megawatts-electric the second largest coal burner in the U.S. Fermi 3's thermal discharge into Lake Erie will worsen this already very serious ecological problem.

In the very near future, the environmental coalition intervening against the Fermi 3 combined Construction and Operating License Application (COLA) will submit additional filings on its contentions challenging the lack of adequate quality assurance (QA) on the project, as well as its defense of the threatened Eastern Fox Snake and its critical wetlands habitat. The State of Michigan has stated that Fermi 3's construction would represent the largest impact on Great Lakes coastal wetlands in the history of state wetlands preservation law.