Terrace Bay Resident: Nuclear Waste Dangerous (June 2014)

LETTER: Nuclear waste dangerous | 91.5 CKPRWin

To the editor:

We in Terrace Bay are opposed to having a nuclear dump put in our backyard.

It seems to us that the nuclear management has bought our councillors and they are muting the people that oppose them. They want 500,000 tonnes of this dangerous chemical buried near our beautiful Lake Superior.

They will have to transport this dangerous nuclear waste, through our towns and cities from the Toronto area, putting all the people at risk should there be an accident.

They want to bury 500,000 tonnes of nuclear waste in four sites in Northern Ontario.

They will have to drill through the mountain rocks the size of four football fields, risking cracking the rock and the waste eventually leaking in our water table, working its way in Lake Superior, the largest fresh water lake in the world.

They should keep and contain the nuclear waste where it is made. They should use cleaner energy. This material takes a million years to decay.

We have to say no to nuclear waste. And protect our land for future generations.

Georgette Carriere,
Terrace Bay


Northwatch | Box 282 . North Bay . P1B 8H2 | Tel 705 497 0373 | www.northwatch.org

Don’t believe the spin on thorium being a ‘greener’ nuclear option (June 2011)

Eifion Rees, TheEcologist.com, 23rd June, 2011

It produces less radioactive waste and more power than uranium but the UK would be making a mistake in looking to it as a ‘greener’ fuel. The Ecologist reports

In a world increasingly aware of and affected by global warming, the news that 2010 was a record year for greenhouse gases levels was something of a blow.

With the worlds population due to hit nine billion by 2050, it highlights the increasingly urgent need to find a clean, reliable and renewable source of energy.

India hopes it has the answer: thorium, a naturally occurring radioactive element, four times more abundant than uranium in the earths crust.

The pro-thorium lobby claim a single tonne of thorium burned in a molten salt reactor (MSR) typically a liquid fluoride thorium reactor (LFTR) which has liquid rather than solid fuel, can produce one gigawatt of electricity. A traditional pressurised water reactor (PWR) would need to burn 250 tonnes of uranium to produce the same amount of energy.

They also produce less waste, have no weapons-grade by-products, can consume legacy plutonium stockpiles and are meltdown-proof if the hype is to be believed.

Global support for thorium

India certainly has faith, with a burgeoning population, chronic electricity shortage, few friends on the global nuclear stage (it hasnt signed the nuclear non-proliferation treaty) and the worlds largest reserves of thorium. Green nuclear could help defuse opposition at home (the approval of two new traditional nuclear power reactors on its west coast led to fierce protests recently) and allow it to push ahead unhindered with its stated aim of generating 270GW of electricity from nuclear by 2050.

China, Russia, France and the US are also pursuing the technology, while Indias department of atomic energy and the UKs Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council are jointly funding five UK research programmes into it.

There is a significant sticking point to the promotion of thorium as the great green hope of clean energy production: it remains unproven on a commercial scale. While it has been around since the 1950s (and an experimental 10MW LFTR did run for five years during the 1960s at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in the US, though using uranium and plutonium as fuel) it is still a next generation nuclear technology theoretical.

China did announce this year that it intended to develop a thorium MSR, but nuclear radiologist Peter Karamoskos, of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), says the world shouldnt hold its breath.

Without exception, [thorium reactors] have never been commercially viable, nor do any of the intended new designs even remotely seem to be viable. Like all nuclear power production they rely on extensive taxpayer subsidies; the only difference is that with thorium and other breeder reactors these are of an order of magnitude greater, which is why no government has ever continued their funding.

Chinas development will persist until it experiences the ongoing major technical hurdles the rest of the nuclear club have discovered, he says.

Others see thorium as a smokescreen to perpetuate the status quo: the closest the world has come to an operating thorium reactor is Indias Kakrapar-1, a uranium-fuelled PWR that was the first to use thorium to flatten power across the core. This could be seen to excuse the continued use of PWRs until thorium is [widely] available, points out Peter Rowberry of No Money for Nuclear (NM4N) and Communities Against Nuclear Expansion (CANE).

In his reading, thorium is merely a way of deflecting attention and criticism from the dangers of the uranium fuel cycle and excusing the pumping of more money into the industry.

Why is the nuclear lobby so quiet?

And yet the nuclear industry itself is also sceptical, with none of the big players backing what should be in PR terms and in a post-Fukushima world its radioactive holy grail: safe reactors producing more energy for less and cheaper fuel.

In fact, a 2010 National Nuclear Laboratory (NNL) report concluded the thorium fuel cycle does not currently have a role to play in the UK context [and] is likely to have only a limited role internationally for some years ahead in short, it concluded, the claims for thorium were overstated.

Proponents counter that the NNL paper fails to address the question of MSR technology, evidence of its bias towards an industry wedded to PWRs. Reliant on diverse uranium/plutonium revenue streams fuel packages and fuel reprocessing, for example the nuclear energy giants will never give thorium a fair hearing, they say.

But even were its commercial viability established, given 2010s soaring greenhouse gas levels, thorium is one magic bullet that is years off target. Those who support renewables say they will have come so far in cost and efficiency terms by the time the technology is perfected and upscaled that thorium reactors will already be uneconomic. Indeed, if renewables had a fraction of nuclears current subsidies they could already be light years ahead.

Extra radioactive waste

All other issues aside, thorium is still nuclear energy, say environmentalists, its reactors disgorging the same toxic byproducts and fissile waste with the same millennial half-lives. Oliver Tickell, author of Kyoto2, says the fission materials produced from thorium are of a different spectrum to those from uranium-235, but include many dangerous-to-health alpha and beta emitters.

Tickell says thorium reactors would not reduce the volume of waste from uranium reactors. It will create a whole new volume of radioactive waste, on top of the waste from uranium reactors. Looked at in these terms, its a way of multiplying the volume of radioactive waste humanity can create several times over.

Putative waste benefits such as the impressive claims made by former

, one of thoriums staunchest advocates have the potential to be outweighed by a proliferating number of MSRs. There are already 442 traditional reactors already in operation globally, according to the International Atomic Energy Agency. The by-products of thousands of smaller, ostensibly less wasteful reactors would soon add up.

Anti-nuclear campaigner Peter Karamoskos goes further, dismissing a dishonest fantasy perpetuated by the pro-nuclear lobby.

Thorium cannot in itself power a reactor; unlike natural uranium, it does not contain enough fissile material to initiate a nuclear chain reaction. As a result it must first be bombarded with neutrons to produce the highly radioactive isotope uranium-233 so these are really U-233 reactors, says Karamoskos.

This isotope is more hazardous than the U-235 used in conventional reactors, he adds, because it produces U-232 as a side effect (half life: 160,000 years), on top of familiar fission by-products such as technetium-99 (half life: up to 300,000 years) and iodine-129 (half life: 15.7 million years). Add in actinides such as protactinium-231 (half life: 33,000 years) and it soon becomes apparent that thoriums superficial cleanliness will still depend on digging some pretty deep holes to bury the highly radioactive waste.

Thorium for the UK?

With billions of pounds already spent on nuclear research, reactor construction and decommissioning costs dwarfing commitments to renewables and proposed reform of the UK electricity markets apparently hiding subsidies to the nuclear industry, the thorium dream is considered by many to be a dangerous diversion.

Energy consultant and former Friends of the Earth anti-nuclear campaigner Neil Crumpton says the government would be better deferring all decisions about its new nuclear building plans and fuel reprocessing until the early 2020s: By that time much more will be known about Generation IV technologies including LFTRs and their waste-consuming capability.

In the meantime, says Jean McSorley, senior consultant for Greenpeaces nuclear campaign, the pressing issue is to reduce energy demand and implement a major renewables programme in the UK and internationally after all, even conventional nuclear reactors will not deliver what the world needs in terms of safe, affordable electricity, let alone a whole raft of new ones.

Even if thorium technology does progress to the point where it might be commercially viable, it will face the same problems as conventional nuclear: it is not renewable or sustainable and cannot effectively connect to smart grids. The technology is not tried and tested, and none of the main players is interested. Thorium reactors are no more than a distraction.

Northwatch | Box 282 . North Bay . P1B 8H2 | Tel 705 497 0373 | www.northwatch.org

Going underground: fault lines exposed in Europe’s nuclear waste disposal strategy (June 2014)

Spurred into action by an EU directive, and after decades of apparent inactivity, EU members are finally tackling the vexed issue of how to deal with nuclear waste.

The favoured solutions involve stocking the ultra-toxic material deep underground and it is those that we turn the spotlight on in this edition of Reporter, produced by Hans Von der Brelie.

We visit two sites where work is already underway and at which billions of euros have literally been poured into holes in the ground.

At the ANDRA facility in eastern France work has begun on entombing the countrys 80,000 cubic metres of waste in a layer of clay half a kilometre below the ground where, it is argued, it will be safe for all time. Back on the surface local villagers are very concerned, their own research having fuelled their fears.

We look at both sides of the argument.

In Finland they take a slightly different approach; drilling deep into the bedrock to bury the waste.

We also get privileged access to the site on a remote Finnish peninsula where this work is taking place.

Our reporter sees the silos where the material will be stored after being encased in copper. What he saw gives rise to some troubling questions.

Take a look at the video.

Esa Härmälä, Director General of the Energy Department in the Finnish Ministry of Economy, explains the pro-nuclear energy decision of Finland and the Finnish concept of the nuclear waste repository to be built. Euronews met him in Helsinki, to listen to the full interview (English language), please use this link.
Bonus interview: Esa Härmälä

Interview with the French anti-nuclear activist Corinne Francois (Bure Stop 55), fighting against the planned nuclear waste repository in Bure (Meuse/Haute-Marne). Euronews met her in Bar-le-Duc, to listen to the full interview (French language), you can use this link.
Interview bonus : Corinne François, militante anti-nucléaire

Interview with the French anti-nuclear activist Francois Mativet (Bure Zone Libre), fighting against the planned nuclear waste repository in Bure (Meuse/Haute-Marne). To listen to the full interview (French language), please use this link.
Interview bonus : François Mativet, militant anti-nucléaire

Here is a link you can use to listen to the interview with Alain Rolland, Technical Director of ANDRA/Bure, explaining to euronews the reasons why France wants to put its nuclear waste into a deep underground repository. Use this link (Interview in French language).
Interview bonus : Alain Rolland, directeur technique de lANDRA

Copyright © 2014 euronews


Northwatch | Box 282 . North Bay . P1B 8H2 | Tel 705 497 0373 | www.northwatch.org

Going underground: fault lines exposed in Europe’s nuclear waste disposal strategy – video (June 2014)

EuroNews – Published on 27 Jun 2014

Spurred into action by an EU directive and after decades of apparent inactivity, EU members are finally tackling the vexed issue of how to deal with nuclear waste.

The favoured solutions involve stocking the ultra-toxic material deep underground and it is those that we turn the spotlight on in this edition of Reporter, produced by Hans Von der Brelie.

We visit two sites where work is already underway and at which billions of euros have literally been poured into holes in the ground.

Northwatch | Box 282 . North Bay . P1B 8H2 | Tel 705 497 0373 | www.northwatch.org

Radiation spikes at WIPP nuclear facility (June 2014)

Radiation spikes at WIPP nuclear facility ­ Hits highest levels since initial hours of radioactive release in February ­ Document link removed from official website ­ Govt analyzing samples for potential impact on human health


Northwatch | Box 282 . North Bay . P1B 8H2 | Tel 705 497 0373 | www.northwatch.org

Manitouwadge Learns More About Used Fuel Transportation (June 2014)


A day of rain was not enough to keep residents of Manitouwadge away from a great opportunity.

An estimated 170 people arrived at the Community Centre parking lot throughout the day on Friday June 13. The Nuclear Waste Management Organization’s (NWMO) visiting Transportation Exhibit was set up and ready to accept visitors at 11am.

Later in the day, Manitouwadge’s Community Liaison Committee was on hand to serve up a complimentary meal for visitors in the Community Centre arena.

A selection of beef/pork on a bun along with drinks and salads were provided by KG’s Bar and there was also dessert supplied by Linda’s Creative Cakes.

Both the NWMO representatives and CLC members were pleased at the turnout. Not only were the numbers high, but the level of interest and quality of participation from members of the public was also top notch. Among the 170 visiting public there were two visits from elementary schools who made the trip to find out more about the site selection process and the method of transporting used nuclear fuel.

The Transportation Exhibit features, as its primary focus, three large pieces which make up the transportation bundle which will be used to transport used nuclear fuel to the site of the deep geological repository. These three pieces are: the transportation package body, the lid, and the impact limiter. While the display was simple enough, the experience was significant because members of the public had an opportunity to literally put their hands on these pieces and connect ideas to real life objects.

Being told that the transportation body is one solid stainless steel box with a lid held by 32 six-kilogram bolts is one thing, but to be able to look inside the stainless steel box and feel the weight of the bolts used to fasten the lid is another.

A key benefit to Friday’s display was that the pieces were actually fully licensed and could actually be used to transport used nuclear fuel. These were not merely models or replicas.

While the focus was on the topic of transportation there was still plenty of time to discuss the overall site selection process as a whole, and members of the NWMO were on hand to review the process with each visitor.

Northwatch | Box 282 . North Bay . P1B 8H2 | Tel 705 497 0373 | www.northwatch.org

Nuclear Transportation Exhibit Well-attended in Hornepayne (June 2014)

Jackfish Journal – Wednesday, June 11, 2014 – Submitted by Brielle Edens

On Tuesday June 5" the NWMO made a presence in Hornepayne yet again, they were here with a very large thought-provoking transport filled with important information pertaining to the transportation of the nuclear waste our community is interested in hosting.

As many of you know Hornepayne is one of fifteen communities interested in being the host for the nuclear waste, we are currently in stage three of the process and only two of the fifteen communities will make it to the fourth stage.

The NWMO had three large exhibits to show our community; they had exact replicas of the containers that would hold the nuclear waste. First there was the Body of tbe Package which is a solid stainless steel box with walls almost 30 centimetres thick, it weighs almost 35 tones and will be loaded with 192 used fuel bundles.
Many people don’t know but a single fuel bundle can power 100 homes for a year; this package would then have to past a rigorous amount of tests to ensure it can withstand all types of accidents without releasing any of the nuclear waste. The lid is then attached to the package using 32 six kilogram bolts each having a 48 millimetre diameter. Finally on top tbere will be an Impact Limiter; this is to have extra protection for the lid closure in the event of an accident. This Impact Limiter weights 1400 kilograms and is made of redwood blocks that are then coated in stainless steel.

Once all three pieces are put together the nuclear waste will be transported by rail or by transport. The NWMO is in cooperation with Transport Canada and the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commissions.

In approximately ten years there will only be 2 communities left, and one will be chosen as the host community.
But in the end the community will have the final say. There will be some sort of communal vote and tbe citizens and council will make the final decision; the community that is chosen will also have to make a drastic proclamation to the NWMO that we actually want the nuclear waste in our community.

"I think in total we probably had 90 people see the exhibit today, and we are very pleased with that. The citizens of Hornepayne were very curious and had a lot of questions which was great. Our goal is to demonstrate how Canada will safely transport used nuclear fuel to the deep geological repository.

We also bad two school groups come to the exhibit, which was wonderful to see as they may be the future adults invoIved in making declsions if Hornepayne reaches that point in the site selection process. At tbis point in time, no one is being asked to make any decisions regarding tbis project. It is a very long process and it will be seven to ten years before a host community is selected. Ultimately, the host community will require regional partnership with all of their neighbours including Aboriginals and Metis communities.
Homepayne is currently one of 15 communities involved in the site selection process.
We appreciate all the people who came out to see the exhibit today."
– Patrick Dolcetti; NWMO Regional Communication Manager

Northwatch | Box 282 . North Bay . P1B 8H2 | Tel 705 497 0373 | www.northwatch.org