Archive for March, 2015

NWMO Retreat from Saskatchewan a “Welcome Decision” (March 2015

BY DAVID GEARY, THE STARPHOENIXMARCH 9, 2015 7:47 AM

As a member of the Coalition for a Clean Green Saskatchewan I welcome the decision by the Nuclear Waste Management Organization to abandon its search for a high-level nuclear waste repository in this province.

NWMO’s nuclear waste burial proposal in Creighton and 21 other towns has unfortunately led to angry debate and deeply polarized feelings within many communities.

The waste burial proposition contains much unproven and highly speculative science and technology. Aspects of it were even criticized by NWMO’s International Technical Review Group. As well, its computer models cannot show the validity and predictive values needed over the required longtime scales (millennia).

Deficiencies also remain in the geological and hydrogeological concepts. Other serious problems include the risk of accidents and contamination during transportation of the fuel bundle casks, security and terrorism concerns, and the threat to the public and workers of radiation exposure.

Another concern, if such a deep geological repository is established, is that it could open the door to Canada being forced to take radioactive waste from other countries – for example, under NAFTA regulations.

However, we must do something about managing Canada’s high level radioactive waste. One rational proposal, endorsed by more than 150 environmental and scientific organizations, is Hardened On Site Storage at or near reactor sites, where scientific, technical and security expertise is already located. On-site storage combined with rolling stewardship would keep nuclear waste safely isolated from the public and the environment, contained and secure, but still in sight for ongoing monitoring.

David Geary

Saskatoon

Published at http://www.thestarphoenix.com/technology/Welcome+Decision/10873469/story.html

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Search for nuclear-waste depository continues (March 2015)

By: Dave Taylor, Winnipeg Free Press, March 8, 2015

Nuclear waste will not be disposed of next to Flin Flon on the Manitoba border. The organization that has been given the responsibility of finding a hole for Canadas, and possibly the worlds, nuclear waste has decided that the community of Creighton, Sask., is not worthy.

Of course the public is told the geological conditions are not suitable, but thats not the only reason the Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO) is dropping Creighton from its list of 11 finalists.

The NWMO represents all the Canadian companies that presently have in their possession high level radioactive waste that will be toxic to life on Earth for hundreds of thousands of years. The federal government, which handed off the task of finding a dump, has left it to these owners because after several attempts at trying to convince Canadians to host it, they realized nuclear waste was not politically sexy, and a federal crown corporation could not make it happen.

So the dirty work has been outsourced and arranged in a long boring process that started with 22 host communities and has been now trimmed to nine, mostly in southern Ontario. Each of these communities received $400,000 for throwing their hats in the ring. The big players and funders of this process are the nuclear [waste producing] corporations from Ontario, New Brunswick and Quebec.

It is true they are several decades away from actually filling the Canadian Shield with this toxic material, but slowly and insidiously they are moving towards convincing a community to become the site. They also make it clear that the dump will be for Canadas waste only. The world, however, is watching and there is money to be made by dealing with other countries’ problems. The promise of money and jobs in perpetuity is the bait the NWMO fishes with.

The science of nuclear waste disposal is based upon Atomic Energy of Canadas scheme using long-range computer modelling. The scientists make it clear the disposal sites will eventually leak, but so far into the future that the radioactivity will be reduced to an insignificant amount. They have based their projections on the fact that the granite of the Canadian Shield has been stable for hundreds of thousands [millions] of years and will continue to be into the future.

The Underground Research Laboratory at Lac Du Bonnet was recently shut down and closed, but when it was being used, it was riddled with cracks and fissures through which flowed groundwater. George Ylonen, a hard rock miner who criticized the idea because of his knowledge about the flow of water through rock, passed away this year.

Significantly, the lab itself constantly filled with water, and pumps were regularly used to attempt to keep it dry. Water is the biggest threat to a repository because its water that carries the radioactivity into the environment.

The official line was that Creighton was scratched for scientific reasons. In reality, a well-organized opposition, Saskatchewans Committee for Future Generations, and the Peter Ballantyne Cree Nation, were pivotal in preventing this repository from being built on traditional territory.

They only had to consult with their elders the rock of the Canadian Shield is considered the grandfather according to cultural traditions, and you dont put poison in your grandfather.

Dave Taylor is a freelance writer and anti-nuclear activist.

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Preparing for a renewed battle to keep Yucca Mountain nuke-free (March 2015)

LAS VEGAS SUN – By Amber Phillips – Friday, March 6, 2015 | 2 a.m

WASHINGTON ­ In Nevada, nuclear waste and the possibility of storing it in Yucca Mountain are never far from state leaders’ minds.

But it’s a niche issue for the rest of the nation. Gone are the days of Bonnie Raitt concerts calling for a ban on all nuclear energy, a passionate response to a 1979 partial meltdown at the Three Mile Island reactor in Pennsylvania.

"For kids today, ‘TMI’ doesn’t mean ‘Three Mile Island,’" said John Keeley of the trade group Nuclear Energy Institute. "It means ‘Too Much Information.’"

That could change. There are renewed stirrings in Congress to push highly radioactive nuclear waste to Yucca Mountain, and anti-nuclear activists are gearing up for a re-education campaign in response.

They have their work cut out for them to make a new generation of Congress and the average American care about keeping nuclear waste out of Nevada.

"We’re starting from zero," said Mary Olson, a nuclear waste specialist with the grassroots anti-nuclear nonprofit Nuclear Information Resource Service

Here’s a look at where the Yucca Mountain project stands now and how activists are retooling their message to keep it from advancing.

Image

This is a tunnel seen during a public open house of Yucca Mountain on Saturday, Nov. 3, 2001.

Where the project stands now

Depending on whom you talk to, Yucca Mountain is either dead, or just stalled.

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Preparing for a renewed battle to keep Yucca Mountain nuke-free (March 2015)

LAS VEGAS SUN – By Amber Phillips – Friday, March 6, 2015 | 2 a.m

WASHINGTON ­ In Nevada, nuclear waste and the possibility of storing it in Yucca Mountain are never far from state leaders’ minds.

But it’s a niche issue for the rest of the nation. Gone are the days of Bonnie Raitt concerts calling for a ban on all nuclear energy, a passionate response to a 1979 partial meltdown at the Three Mile Island reactor in Pennsylvania.

"For kids today, ‘TMI’ doesn’t mean ‘Three Mile Island,’" said John Keeley of the trade group Nuclear Energy Institute. "It means ‘Too Much Information.’"

That could change. There are renewed stirrings in Congress to push highly radioactive nuclear waste to Yucca Mountain, and anti-nuclear activists are gearing up for a re-education campaign in response.

They have their work cut out for them to make a new generation of Congress and the average American care about keeping nuclear waste out of Nevada.

"We’re starting from zero," said Mary Olson, a nuclear waste specialist with the grassroots anti-nuclear nonprofit Nuclear Information Resource Service

Here’s a look at where the Yucca Mountain project stands now and how activists are retooling their message to keep it from advancing.

Image

This is a tunnel seen during a public open house of Yucca Mountain on Saturday, Nov. 3, 2001.

Where the project stands now

Depending on whom you talk to, Yucca Mountain is either dead, or just stalled.

Read Story

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TORONTO, ON (March 5, 2015) — Ontario Regional Chief Stan Beardy is calling the recent news report regarding First Nation communities In Ontario accepting nuclear waste disposal agreements from the Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO) as false and misleading.

First Nations in Ontario passed a resolution and declaration that calls for a nuclear-free territory across our homelands, said Ontario regional Chief Beardy. There are no arrangements with NWMO nor is there any truth to the statements made in the news report.

It was reported that Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak (MKO) Grand Chief David Harper met with Chiefs of Ontario regarding the nuclear waste agreements. In fact, there werent any meetings. However, Regional Chief Beardy said he is more than willing to meet and work with Grand Chief David Harper on maintaining a healthy and nuclear-free territory.

"NWMO is taking a very non-constructive approach toward advancing their agenda," said Chief Isadore Day of Serpent River First Nation. "The message to Ontarians is very deceptive, with NWMO funnelling resources to the municipalities and in essence, purchasing the illusion that municipalities have jurisdiction in our Treaty lands – this is false."

The provincial and federal government should examine this undertaking and call it for what it is: buying false perception. Municipalities have no say about what development can or cannot take place on Treaty lands – this is the jurisdiction of our Treaty Nations," said Chief Day.

In 2009, nuclear energy and waste sessions were held across Ontario to provide information on the nine-step process of the NWMO to manage existing nuclear waste, as well as the continued production of nuclear energy.

In response to the feedback from the sessions, which included First Nations community leadership, Elders, youth and technical representatives, First Nations in Ontario endorsed a We are the Land report and information video which was distributed with 10 recommendations.

Key recommendations included a collective refusal to storing nuclear waste underground and a resolution and declaration that supported this.

Chiefs of Ontario will seek a retraction and a clarification from the media that reported this.

The Chiefs of Ontario is a political forum and a secretariat for collective decision making, action, and advocacy for the 133 First Nation communities located within the boundaries of the province of Ontario, Canada. Follow Chiefs of Ontario on Facebook or Twitter @ChiefsOfOntario.

As posted at http://chiefs-of-ontario.org/node/1084

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Schreiber dropped from list of potential nuclear waste sites

Nuclear Waste Management Organization says ‘geological complexities’ make area unsuitable

CBC News Posted: Mar 03, 2015 12:38 PM ET Last Updated: Mar 04, 2015 11:40 AM ET

The Nuclear Waste Management Organization has ruled out the Schreiber area as a potential site for nuclear waste disposal ­ and the announcement has taken Schreiber Mayor Mark Figliomeni by surprise.

"My initial reaction was I was a bit caught off-guard by the announcement, but certainly was aware that this possibly could be the end result," he told CBC News on Tuesday.

"[I was] certainly shocked but, you know, it’s time to move on and let’s see where we go from here."

The NWMO announced that new geological studies in the vicinity of Creighton, Sask. and Schreiber, Ont. "revealed that areas assessed near both communities have geological complexities that reduce the likelihood of finding a suitable site for either area to safely host a used nuclear fuel repository."

"We have collected and interpreted new data using high-resolution airborne geophysical surveys and geological field mapping, which provided a deeper understanding of the geology in these areas," said Dr. Mahrez Ben Belfadhel, director of Geoscientific Site Evaluations at the NWMO in a news release.

"These latest studies show there is limited potential in the areas of Creighton or Schreiber to find a repository site that would meet the safety requirements of the project."

Divided opinion in Schreiber

Figliomeni said there was a split in the community over whether Schreiber should be involved in the search for a nuclear waste disposal site.

But being removed from the process poses another economic hardship. He said the Nuclear Waste Management Organization has given the town about $800,000 over the past four years. Now that source of funding is gone.

"The community, ourselves, council and staff, will obviously have some work moving forward to replace that type of influx of cash dollars into, you know, your small and already-dwindling municipal budget," Figliomeni said.

The mayor added that Schreiber has become accustomed to the financial contributions from NWMO.

"We were comfortable in the Learn More process and we were far far away, and the NWMO is still probably quite far away, from siting [the
repository]. It would have been a community-wide-led decision whether we were gonna store nuclear waste. And I’m sure that would have been much more of a contentious issue but I think generally it was probably a split decision on the community staying at least in the process of learning more."

The NWMO continues to investigate the feasibility of nuclear waste storage in or near nine other communities, all of which are in Ontario.

They include White River, Manitouwadge, Hornepayne, Ignace, Blind River, Elliot Lake, Central Huron, Huron-Kinloss and South Bruce.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/thunder-bay/schreiber-dropped-from-list-of-potential-nuclear-waste-sites-1.2979929

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Committee For Future Generations: Four Year Battle with NWMO Now over for N.Saskatchewan (March 2015)

March 4, 2015

A four-year long battle against the threat of burying millions of highly radioactive nuclear fuel rods in Saskatchewan is over, thanks to thousands of people with the courage and wisdom to take a stand.

On March 3rd, Creighton was the last of three northern communities to be dropped by the Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO) from site selection process for a deep geological repository. Pinehouse and English River First Nations were eliminated in late 2013.

“I am happy and thankful this is over. I can forget and forgive all the mean and cruel things said and done,” stated Creighton resident, Nadine Smart. “I have a sense of peace and relief, yet I’m sorry that nine (Ontario) communities are still fighting this. Nuclear waste should not be buried anywhere; it has to be kept above ground where it can be monitored, forever. This whole process is full of deception, money and bribes.”

Peter Ballantyne Cree Nation, within whose traditional territory the proposed deep repository would have been located, issued a Band Council Resolution in May of 2014 against nuclear waste and any promotion of its storage and transportation. PBCN maintained that jobs forecasted by NWMO were not worth the risk of radiating the water and land for future generations. Over 60% of the eligible voting population in Pinehouse and English River had also signed a petition against nuclear waste.

The Committee for Future Generations formed in May 2011 after Max Morin of Beauval was invited to an Elders gathering near Pinehouse, where he discovered NWMO representatives promoting nuclear waste storage as the solution to youth suicide. Ten Elders immediately rose and walked out. It was the first time Morin had ever seen a Sacred Circle broken. “People need to keep educating themselves on the hazards of the nuclear fuel chain and on the way the industry deceives the public for its own gain. We cannot take for granted that corporations are working for our best interest. Grassroots is powerful. We need to push our leaders to invest in energies and economies that are sustainable, like solar, wind and geothermal. We have the knowledge and the means to do it.”

Eliminating Saskatchewan from nuclear waste storage also cancels any chance of reprocessing plutonium taking place in the province. “Who would have thought a few little Indians would have the power to knock down a giant?” reflected CFFG founding member, Fred Pederson from Pinehouse, another community whose administration was paid to engage with NWMO in site selection process. “This is what happens when people stick together and fight for what they believe in, against terrorism of our land.” “No industrial corporation or government has the right to manipulate the true spirit of Aboriginal stewardship,” emphasized CFFG member Marius Paul of English River First Nation. “The process that NWMO is following to secure a burial site for the most lethal waste product on earth is still the same systematic oppression that Aboriginal peoples have faced since the beginning of colonialism.”

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